Provo, UT –
BYU (6-2-5, 2-0-2) returned to South Field Saturday night as they defeated the No.14 ranked Portland Pilots 4-1.to close out Homecoming week 4-1.
The Pilots (9-1-4, 3-1) came into Saturday night’s game undefeated and No.1 in the WCC, not allowing a goal in 9 of their last 13 matches.
Although Portland’s season is off to an excellent start, they have never beaten the Cougars while competing in the WCC. BYU has won all eleven matches between the two, outscoring them 22 to 2.
The Cougars applied ample pressure early which forced the Pilots to play defense through the first 10 minutes of the play. The first scoring chance came for BYU in the ninth minute as defender Laveni Vaka got forward to take a shot on goal, but the shot went wide of the net.
BYU continued to pressure the Pilots in their own end. Brecken Mozingo found Olivia Wade on the right side just inside the 18, she took the shot off her left foot burying it in the far left corner. This gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute.
With the Pilots trying to answer the Cougars’ goal, BYU goalkeeper Savannah Mason was tested earlier in the 16th minute with a point blank chance from forward Nedya Sawan. However, Mason was able to make the diving save, keeping the score 1-0 BYU.
A golden opportunity came for Olivia Smith to give the Cougars the 2-0 lead in the 26th minute. Smith took a shot just outside the 18 yard box off her right foot that hit the top of the crossbar just missing the net.
Coming into Saturday’s game the Pilots allowed only one goal in the first half all season, but BYU midfielder Jamie Sheppard added to the Cougars lead scoring her 5th goal of the season, and the 11th of her career, in the 33rd minute.
This season the Cougars have had 10-plus shots in the first half of 9 of their 12 matches. BYU took only nine shots in the first half, and capitalized on two of those giving them a 2-0 lead at halftime.
BYU has not lost a match this season while leading at half time, they are 4-0-3.
At the start of the second half the Pilots started adding pressure on BYU’s defense. This provided a rare opportunity for Pilots to score in the 54th minute. Next, BYU had a missed play inside the 18; this led to Portland forward, Katana Norman, having a beautiful look on net, but the shot was blocked by the Cougars.
However, BYU wasn’t done scoring. They continued to look for their third goal of the game, and eventually it was found in the 67th minute. By none other than who you ASK? Brecken Mozingo, of course, BYU’s leading goal scorer this season.
Mozingo rushed from the right side of the box. She took the shot off her left foot curving it just inside the left post. This gave the Cougars’ a 3-0 lead. BYU is the only team this season to score three goals on the Pilots.
Finally, the Pilots scored in the 70th minute. The team was awarded a corner kick in the 69th minute that was deflected. As the Cougars tried to clear the ball out of their own box it made its way onto the boot of Pilots defender Colby Wilson. Wilson took the one time volley off her right foot, ripping it right past BYU goalkeeper Savannah Mason making the score 3-1.
The 70th minute left the Pilots feeling good because the last time they found the back of the net against BYU was on October 13th in 2012, 4,383 days ago. In their match against the Cougars in 2015 it was an own goal that registered on the scoring card.
With new life, Portland became more aggressive, and in less than three minutes they got two more shots on goal.
Unfortunately for the Pilots, the game was already out of reach. For the last 2o minutes, BYU played keep away and sharpened up their defense.
With the victory in sight for BYU, the Pilots continued to apply pressure. But at what cost? BYU was able to find the back of the net again due to the Pilots being overly aggressive on offense.
The final BYU goal came from, of course, the leading scorer in points, goals and assists this season, Brecken Mozingo. She added her second goal of the night in the 76th minute giving BYU a 4-1 lead.
Even with this loss, make no mistake this Portland Pilots team is exceptionally good. Coming into Saturday’s game they were ranked number 1 in the WCC and 14th nationally; along with their starting goalie number 1 in the NCAA is save percentage.
This is a HUGE win for BYU going forward as they continue conference play this season.
BYU’s next home matchup will be against Gonzaga on October 22nd at South Field in Provo, UT. Kick-off time is scheduled for 7p.m. MDT. The game will be broadcast on BYURadio.org, the BYU Radio App and BYU Radio 107.9 FM.