Provo • The way coach Jennifer Rockwood sees it, BYU’s women’s soccer team is back where it belongs — in the NCAA tournament.
Having missed the tournament last year for just the fifth time in the program’s 24 years, all with Rockwood at the helm, the Cougars will meet TCU in a first-round match on Friday at the Horned Frogs’ home stadium in Fort Worth, Texas.
“It feels great to be back,” Rockwood said. “Last year was one of only two times in my career where I haven’t watched the NCAA tournament draw. It was disheartening because we had a great team and played great soccer, but we just didn’t get the results.”
This year, they did. The Cougars (13-4-1) have won five-straight matches and claimed the West Coast Conference title outright with last week’s 2-1 win over Loyola Marymount.
“One of the things that has been a major improvement is our attack,” Rockwood said. “We have been able to take advantage of our scoring opportunities.”
Former Mountain West Conference foe TCU (12-4-3) tied for third in the Big 12 and is also known for having a high-scoring attack.
“They have had a great season,” Rockwood said. “They are an attacking team that is used to scoring goals. They haven’t been giving up a lot of shots, or too many goals. So we are hoping that they haven’t seen an attacking team like ours and that will force them to play more defense than they are used to, and hopefully get them on their heels a little bit.”
Rockwood was named WCC Coach of the Year after the Cougars were picked to finish third in the preseason poll. Elise Flake and Mikayla Colohan were named to the All-WCC first team while Rachel Bingham Lyman and Alyssa Jefferson made the second team. Sabrina Macias Davis and Olivia Wade earned honorable mention and Wade and Bella Folino are on the All-Freshman team.
The team has only one senior, forward Madie Siddoway Gates, so Rockwood believes they could be starting a new streak of NCAA appearances.
“We hope to represent the WCC well,” she said. “We take pride in that.”
NCAA WOMEN’S SOCCER TOURNAMENT
BYU (13-4-1) at TCU (12-4-3)
At Garvey-Rosenthal Soccer Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas
When • Friday, 5 p.m. MST
Radio • 960 AM and 107.9 FM
Stream • GoFrogs.com