30th career goal from Bella Folino helps prevail No. 11 BYU women’s soccer to 3-0 start

BYU Athletics / BYU Women's Soccer and BYU Photo.

Provo, UT – 

No. 11 BYU Women’s Soccer picked up its third victory of the season defeating Long Beach State 2-0 on Thursday evening at South Field in Provo, UT.

BYU (3-0) Goalkeeper Savanna Mason earned her first shutout of the 2023 season and seventh of her career.

“Last year was her first time in goal for us, and that was a lot of experience. I think she gained a lot of confident, so she came back this season with a lot more confident than she was last season and that goes a long way. She is working hard and keeping the ball out of the back of the net” is how Head Coach Jennifer Rockwood described Goalkeeper Savanna Mason’s shutout Thursday night.

The 5-foot-10 Junior out of American Fork, Utah made five saves on net tonight with the biggest save coming off a counter attack off the foot of Long Beach State (1-1-1) forward Kassandra Ceja in the 53rd minute.

The Cougars past two games were fast starts scoring in the first five minutes of the game. However, that wasn’t the case Thursday night as the team wouldn’t register its first shot until the 26th minute. The Beach provided earlier pressure on BYU and would out shoot them 7-4 in the first half.

Despite, the Cougars slow and getting out shot it was just three minutes later BYU would find the back of the net to take 1-0 lead. Senior midfielder Olivia Wade-Katoa blasted a shot outside of the penalty box that went just slip under the crossbar on the one touch foot. Katoa has now scored in all three games BYU has played in.

BYU would strike again in the again in the 48th minute going uo 2-0 off the boot of Bella Folino. Folino’s goal would the 30th of her BYU career inside the 18-yard  box, chipping it right over the Beaches goalkeeper head.  

“We have a great halftime speech that pumped me up. I knew what I needed to do and that was find the ball more… That’s my favorite goal to score, I made eye contact with Liv (Smith-Griffitts), and I knew it was going in.”

That would seal the match for BYU as Long Beach State wouldn’t convert any of its chances the rest of the night.

Unfortunately, the atmosphere at South Field changed in the 68th minute of play when a collision took place between BYU defender Kendall Peterson and Long Beach midfielder Cherrie Cox. Cox was going for a header inside the penalty box. The two would bump into each other with Peterson unintentionally falling on top of Cox who would smack her head on the turf.

Cox would eventually be taken to the hospital via ambulance. 

Play would eventually resume, but not before both teams prayed together in front of the Long Beach bench. BYU said its own prayer in front of their bench before Co-Captain Olivia Wade-Kaota asked both teams to pray together. 

“It was our coach Brent (Anderson) who suggested it. We said a prayer, but then on our team we decided we should do it with the other team, which was a super cool and bonding moment. One of their teammates actually said it” were words Bella Folino used to describe BYU coming to together to say a prayer with Long Beach State.

The Cougars will now hit the road for the first time this season to face Boise State on Saturday August 26th at Boas Soccer Complex in Boise, Idaho at 7pm MDT. The game will be streamed on the Mountain West Network.

BYU will then return to South Field and host the defending national champions and current No. 1 UCLA Thursday August 31st at 8pm MDT on ESPN+

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