STATE COLLEGE, Penn. – Ashley Hatch's second career hat trick pushed No. 14 BYU past defending national champion No. 5 Penn State Friday on the road.
"Coming off some great practices this week, it was an incredible performance against an excellent program," BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood said. "We played our game right from the beginning and were rewarded for it."
After not scoring until the 77th minute against Washington State and being shut out against Nebraska, BYU took just five and a half minutes to get on the board against Penn State. Paige Hunt Barker took away a pass from Nittany Lion goalkeeper and quickly connected with Elena Medeiros who played a through ball that Hatch booted in from just outside the penalty spot in the sixth minute.
For Hatch, it was her third goal of the season and 31st of her career, which tied her for eighth on the Cougars' all-time scoring list with Carlee Payne Holmoe. Medeiros was credited with her first assist of the season and 10th of her career.
BYU lost goalkeeper Rachel Boaz to injury in the 23rd minute, as she hurt her hand scrambling for the ball. Hannah Clark replaced Boaz in goal and silenced the Penn State offense for the remainder of the first half with a couple of nice saves. The Cougars carried a 1-0 lead into halftime.
In the 57th minute, Hatch struck again. MAC Hermann Trophy candidate Nadia Gomes took the ball away in the attacking third and used a 2-on-1 to dish to Hatch, who chipped it past Dennis for a 2-0 BYU lead.
Just four minutes later, the Nittany Lions cut the lead in half. Haleigh Echard put an uncontested cross near the six-yard box that Frannie Crouse headed in past Clark for a goal.
In the 66th minute, Penn State erased BYU's lead when Crouse pushed down the left side and found Charlotte Williams in the left side of the six, who took a near-post shot that went just out of Clark's reach and in to tie the game at 2-2.
Hatch put the Cougars back up and completed her hat trick in the 77th minute. Gomes tracked down a pass deep into the left corner and fired a left-footed cross to the feet of Hatch who pushed it to the right of Dennis. The third assist of the season for Gomes and 10th of her career put BYU up 3-2.
The other hat trick of Hatch's career came during her sophomore season against Portland. She pushed her career goal total to 33 to pass Holmoe (31 goals) and Kim Lowe Halladay (32 goals) on the program's scoring list to move alone into seventh all-time.
In the final minute, Penn State threatened when a shot by Laura Freigang hit the crossbar and bounced straight down. It was eventually wrapped up by Clark as the Cougars preserved the win.
BYU took 13 shots compared to 16 for the Nittany Lions, but took eight shots in the second half compared to seven for Penn State.
The Cougars return home to host Tennessee next Friday, Sept. 2 at 7 p.m.