BYU women’s soccer: Cougars look primed for West Coast Conference play after enduring growing pains

Jaren Wilkey/BYU

BYU’s Avery Walker heads the ball during 1-1 tie to Utah in Provo on Sept. 8, 2017.

PROVO — Redeeming oneself during conference play isn’t a luxury given to every BYU sports program, and is something the women’s soccer team is very much looking forward to.

The Cougars have one more non-conference match, Friday night versus Utah Valley, before turning toward West Coast Conference play and an opportunity at an NCAA tournament bid. They will enter WCC play after enduring a tough non-conference schedule which has their record at 2-4-3, as opposed to the stellar 9-1-1 non-conference record achieved last season.

Granted this year’s team was due for some growing pains. It’s the type of thing that happens after the Cougars lost frontline talent such as Ashley Hatch, Michele Vasconcelos and Elena Madeiros, among others.

As could be imagined, most of the growing pains after come in the offensive efficiency department, with the Cougars scoring just three goals in their first six matches. The next three-game saw BYU get seven balls into the back of the net however, with the Cougar frontline showing signs of improvement.

“We’ve kind of been going through that process, but yes, scoring goals is what we want to do. It’s what everybody wants to do,” said BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood. “It’s something we’ve done particularly well the last few years, but now we have a group of young kids that’s trying to do the same thing.”

Rockwood pointed to players such as sophomore Elise Flake, senior Madie Lyons Mathews and freshman Cameron Tucker as forwards who have made notable strides along with experienced senior Nadia Gomes.

The strides made are due to several factors, with senior defender Taylor Isom noting what she considers the two most important.

“Being patient and just trusting in what the coaches are doing has been the biggest thing,” Isom said….

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