Provo • It would not be a Utah vs. BYU game, match, contest or anything else without a little bit of controversy, would it?
That happened again Friday night in front of a record crowd of 5,402 at South Field, as the No. 6-ranked BYU women’s soccer team downed Utah 1-0, thanks to a last-minute penalty kick.
Freshman Ashley Hatch did the honors for the 4-0-0 Cougars, kicking the ball past Utah goalkeeper Cheyanne Mulcock, who simply guessed wrong.
Fitting, perhaps, because wrongdoing by Mulcock — who appeared to have shoved Hatch just a few feet away from the Utah net — is the reason the Cougars, and Hatch, were awarded the penalty kick.
“I went to poke the ball [with her foot], and as I went to get up, [Mulcock] gave me a shove back down,” said Hatch, who scored her third goal of the season to tie Rachel Manning for the team lead. “It’s all part of the game.”
Utah coach Rich Manning sought out the official after the game for an explanation.
“It is hard to comment on it. I didn’t see it,” Manning said. “Obviously, whatever happened was very unusual. I trust the official saw what he saw. He said he had to call it that way, and it was unfortunate for us.”
BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood also said she didn’t see what happened, but felt fortunate because about 27 minutes before then, a controversial call went against the Cougars.
Junior forward Jaiden Thornock picked up her second yellow card in the 62nd minute, and the Cougars had to play short-handed the rest of the way.
“It was rough, but what can you do?” Rockwood said. “Refs make the call, we don’t, and we have to live with what they call … and it ended up helping us win the game, maybe.”
BYU dominated play up until Thornock’s ejection — which was for time-wasting, essentially — and for awhile it appeared the Cougars would not get their much-desired revenge after Utah (1-1-2) beat them 1-0 last year in Salt Lake City, BYU’s only regular-season loss in 2012.
“When you have chances, you always wonder if it is going to come back [and haunt you],” Rockwood said. “But this team has proven, especially last week down at LSU when things got a little rough, it has the confidence to gut it out. I was really proud of how we gutted it out.”
Mulcock, a junior from West Jordan who found out she would be starting in goal just six hours before the match, kept Utah in it in the first half with great save after great save. The Cougars outshot the Utes 7-1 in the first half and 14-5 in the game.
“I just feel honored to be able to do that for my team,” Hatch said of the winning goal.
Women’s soccerBYU 1, Utah 0
O BYU freshman Ashley Hatch’s goal on a penalty kick in the 88th minute wins it for the Cougars.
• BYU’s Jaiden Thornock picks up a second yellow card in the 62nd minute, and the Cougars have to play short-handed.