Provo • All kids who play sports draw up the perfect, game-winning opportunity in their mind. For some, it might be stepping to the plate in the bottom of the ninth in the World Series. For others, the fantasy is taking the final shot in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
For BYU soccer forward Carlee Payne Holmoe, her dream was to sink a penalty kick in the final minute of the NCAA Championship tournament. Holmoe's dream came true on Thursday night when her penalty kick found the bottom left corner of the net with just 44 seconds left to give the top-seeded Cougars a 1-0 win over Auburn.
"Right when he called the PK, I was very excited, and then, all of a sudden, I was so nervous, but I felt confident that I could kick it where I wanted to," Holmoe said. "That's definitely a moment in my career that I'll never forget."
BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood said Holmoe has been working for that moment harder than anyone, and the team had complete faith that she would deliver.
"Carlee has been a big force for this program for her four-year career, and it's very deserving," Rockwood said. "Certainly fitting that she's the one who took it on her shoulders and came through when we really needed it."
BYU set up opportunities by being the aggressor from start to finish. The Cougars controlled possession at will and Auburn rarely advanced the ball past midfield. It was that aggression that set up the game-winning penalty kick. As a BYU corner kick came in, forward Michelle Murphy aggressively fought to gain control, and by so doing, drew the foul that set the stage for Holmoe.
With the thrilling 1-0 win, BYU advances to the third round of the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2003. The Cougars will face fourth-seeded Marquette on Saturday evening for the right to go to the national quarterfinals.
Storylines BYU 1, Auburn 0
R Senior forward Carlee Payne Holmoe makes the game-winning penalty kick with 44 seconds left.
• BYU allows only five shots in the contest, just two of which were on goal.