#13 BYU (1-0) Women’s Soccer took the pitch Thursday night at South Field in Provo, UT to begin their season, and non-conference schedule defeating #21 Saint Louis (0-1) 3-2.
Bella Folino scored the first goal of the 2023 season for the Cougars.
Ellie Boren had a cross inside the St. Louis box that found Allie Fryer for a header that went off the crossbar. Bella Folino then put the loose ball in the back of the net to give BYU a 1-0 lead in the 2nd minute.
The Cougars had another hot start as they scored their second goal in the 10th minute. Jamie Sheppard took a touch and set up a beautiful cross pass that went passed the the goalkeeper’s hands that found Olivia Wade-Katoa for wide open giving BYU 2-0 lead.
“It came out at the right place at the right time, but you just have to give all the credit to Jaime. Getting the ball where she did, we practised all season, getting the ball in what we call the assist zone. We practice doing that for hours on end. She got the ball in the right place at the right time, and I was lucky enough to be on the end of it. Seriously she served that on platter” were the words Olivia Katoa
This would be back-to-back games where BYU found the net twice in just 10 minutes of play.
Saint Louis goalkeeper Emily Percelliu made five first half saves. One coming off the boot of Olivia Wade-Katoa who had another chance for the Cougars in the 13th minute.
Saint Louis finally found the back of the net in the 14th minute from Carloine Kelly cutting the lead in half.
The Billikens had been pressuring the Cougar back line hard after allowing the second goal. BYU was content on playing the ball out of the back line and paid the price.
Saint Louis forced a turnover from Senior Defender Laveni Vaka and capitalised. With new life, Saint Louis stayed aggressive forcing BYU to play through the middle of the field to force more turnovers.
14’ | SLU 1 , BYU 2 | BILLIKENS GOAL!
— Saint Louis Women's Soccer (@SLUWSoccer) August 18, 2023
Despite Vaka’s turnover, she made up for it with an attacking sequence that led to BYU’s third goal of the evening. Vaka found Kendall Peterson out wide who put a nice crossing through ball that found Erin Bailey for what would be the game-winning goal in the 43rd minute.
Sophomore Erin Bailey didn’t hesitate and blasted the ball of her right boot into the top of the net.
Saint Louis didn’t go away easy, as the number two offense from just a season ago had been knocking on the door all second half.
The Billikens couldn’t convert on any of its chances early and with less than five minutes left to play the game seemed to be in BYU’s grasp. A slight scare creeped in the 86th minute with a goal from Emily Gaebe to cut the lead to one once again.
In what looked to be a fifty-fifty ball from Izzy Luebbert, Emily Gaebe was able to body off Defender Izzy Stratton and score past goalkeeper Savannah Mason.
Unfortunately, Saint Louis would watch the clock dwindle down as their hopes of come back and upsetting the #13 team in the nation would fall short.
6 straight years winning the season opener 🤗 pic.twitter.com/xHMXSwd21W
— BYU Women's Soccer (@byusoccer_w) August 18, 2023
The Cougars have a quick turnover with only one day’s rest welcoming Cal State Fullerton to South Field Saturday August 19th at 7pm. MDT. The game will be streamed live on ESPN+