Provo, UT –
Michigan State had 13 shots, but was “Spartan” in efforts as Top-seed BYU women’s soccer reached its 5th all-time NCAA quarterfinal Saturday night at South Field in Provo, Utah by a final score of 3-1.
All-American Brecken Mozingo was the star of the show, recording a brace and adding one assist in BYU’s win.
If you know the term “I am him or She is her”, then that’s exactly who Brecken Mozingo is.
The senior from Sandy, Utah scored two incredible goals in the second half to plunge Top-seeded BYU into the quarterfinals.
“You know it’s never good when Jen pulls you off in the first half of the match.” Mozingo said. Alright something gotta change. I feel like always at halftime it’s just another opportunity for a 45 minute game, there are two different periods. I wanted to make sure we as a team had energy to win that next period.”
Coach Jennifer Rockwood said she was” trying to light a fire.”
Well that fire was lit under Mozingo as she single handedly dismantled the Spartans in the last 45 minutes of play.
No. 5 seed Michigan State struck early in the second half with a cheeky goal from Gabby Mueller. BYU’s defense failed to clear the ball out of its own end and Mueller snuck a shot right past the BYU keeper to give Michigan State an early 1-0 lead in the 52nd minute.
“Yeah it was massive, you know massive, especially for a kid like that; that’s stepped up in some really big moments all year. To find the back of the net if gives your team even more believe” said Michigan State Head coach Jeff Hosler
The Cougars answered right back with an equaliser in the 55th minute off a penalty kick from Mozingo. 3,695 fans erupted as BYU tied the match.
“I just think we are so mentally strong, and we know what this team is capable of. Knowing what we are capable of, and that we can put one back into their face, that’s exactly what we did” Walbruch said to the team , responding by being down a goal in the second half.
Mozingo wasn’t finished yet. The All-Big 12 First-Team selection scored a “banger” just five minutes later that gave BYU all the momentum.
“I honestly saw her coming, she took a bigger touch. I work on this little chip thing that was kind of fun to do. My eyes were set on goal, then my eyes were set on goal and I wanted to score” the All-American said in regards to her wanting a second goal.
Ellie “Rashy” Walbruch joined the party and shut the doors on the Spartans’ hope of coming back in the 80th minute off a service piece from Mozingo. Walbruch’s head put the game out of reach in the final 10 minutes.
The Spartans did a good job in their press against BYU and marking midfielder Jaime Sheppard. Michigan State made it difficult for BYU to possess the ball out of the midfield, and made Jennifer Rockwood’s team find other ways to have success.
“She is a player. There is quality all across the field. She (Jaime) is definitely one we identified, she does such a good job, has such a good motor, such a good facilitator for them, and a deep playmaker. Our press was all built around trying to keep it one side, and take her out of it. Obviously, BYU has other pieces that can hurt you, but she just does so much and is so dynamic…. special player” Jeff Hostler said.
Michigan State was ranked in the top-five last year for attendance and this year BYU women’s soccer has been ranked in the top-five. Although the Cougars are 5-0 all-time against the Spartans, this is a future match-up fans will look forward to.
“Yeah it’s our first here. We actually have an agreement for a future home-and-home in future years, so we are excited about that opportunity… We now know what the environment is like, and they (BYU) do a great job, it’s a great production, great atmosphere for our kids to play in. It shows the continued trajectory of our sport, women’s soccer continues to gain more and more popularity in the college game. Attendance records continue to be broken in a lot of programs across the country…when you then go out and schedule games like this it’s super important” said Coach Jeff Hosler.
The Cougars have now advanced to the Elite Eight round where they will play the winner of the No. 2 seed Texas Tech or No. 3 seed North Carolina. The match will take place on Black Friday next week on November 25th. Kick-off is 6pm MST.