Loyal Cougars

Colohan, Hatch unlock BYU offense in 3-1 win

Heading into the penultimate match of the 2013 season, the BYU women’s soccer team was poised to ride its defense, as it had done all year.

The Cougars had only allowed one goal in seven matches that encompassed the entirety of the West Coast Conference season. Goalkeeper Erica Owens owned a 0.64 goals-against average, and the defense had only given up multiple goals in a game twice all year.

Less than 50 seconds into the match, that philosophy changed. But BYU’s strategy didn’t.

Cloee Colohan and Ashley Hatch each had a goal and an assist as the Cougars scored three goals for only the second match of the year in a 3-1 win over WCC newcomer Pacific.

“You never know what can happen, especially with what happened in the first minute,” BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood said. “We challenged our attacking players that we need to step up the pressure and combine a little bit better. We needed our forwards to get a few more shots off in the second half, and it paid off.”

Pacific’s Zarette Munoz-Aguilar scored her second goal of the year in the opening minute, driving forward and blasting a bullet into the far post past Owens for the early advantage.

But there wouldn’t be much time to celebrate for the Tigers (4-11-3, 3-4-1 WCC). Colohan went to work, finishing with five shots (four on goal) in a dominating performance across her attacking midfield role.

Colohan put away Hatch’s cross into the six-yard box to pull even at 1-1, and BYU settled into the possession-based style that has been its strength all year.

“We had to get three points on the board,” Colohan said. “I think we came out a little flat in the first half, and we knew it. So coming out the second half, we knew that we had to get a little more offense going than what we had.”

BYU (13-4-1, 7-1 WCC) outshot Pacific 5-2 in the first half, then piled on with nine shots — five of them on frame — in the second period. In a similar opening spurt as the first half, the Cougars then opened the second 45 minutes with a goal that proved to be the game-winner.

Colohan lined up the free kick from just inside the midfield line, then drove it over the defense to Colette Jepson Smith’s head for the winner. The goal, which was Jepson Smith’s fourth on the year, kept BYU’s dream of a WCC co-championship alive with Portland and Santa Clara kicking off shortly thereafter.

“We talked about challenging the goalkeeper a little more, so I knew our free kicks would be more towards goal,” Jepson Smith said. “I just tried to get inside the box, and Cloee kicked a great ball driven right at the keeper. I just happened to beat her to it.”

Hatch added a goal to pull her even with Colohan on five goals on the year and help ice the game. The freshman from Gilbert, Ariz. sprinted to the end of Ella Johnson’s chip on goal and headed the ball away from Pacific goalkeeper Tashia Long’s fingertips.

“Our forwards did a great job of combining, and getting to the corners and end line,” Rockwood said. “We got some crosses off, and that helped relieve a little pressure when Colette scored in the first minute of the second half.”

Colohan and Hatch remained tied for the team lead with five goals apiece.

“I thought (Hatch) played a really good game tonight,” Rockwood said. “In the second half, she was combining a lot more and all of our attacking players did a better job of being dangerous.”

Owens made three saves to finish for BYU, including a clutching save on Pacific’s long free kick into the box in the 88th minute. Pacific could have been in a much worse position, but Long made seven outstanding saves to keep the scoreline low.

The Cougars wrap up the regular season at home Saturday at 1 p.m. against St. Mary’s. The annual Senior Day gala will honor Owens, Colohan, Jepson Smith, Rachel Manning, Kyleigh Royall, Niki Fernandes and Angelica Dickson Adams.