Undefeated BYU women’s soccer team earns No. 2 seed in NCAA Tournament

(Jaren Wilkey | BYU) Jennifer Rockwood is the coach of BYU women's soccer team. She is in her 16th season, building a nationally ranked program.

Provo • On Saturday, BYU’s women’s soccer team closed out the regular season with a dominating 8-1 win over Loyola Marymount to claim the West Coast Conference title. It also capped another milestone — an undefeated season.

The Cougars outscored their opponents 68-9 to finish with a program-best 18-0-1 record. On Monday, they were awarded with a No. 2 seed — their second-highest seeding — in the NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament.

BYU — the only undefeated team in the nation entering the tournament — will host Boise State Friday, 6 p.m. at South Field in the first round.

“Obviously, I’m excited for the 2 seed — a potential to play some home games,” BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood said. “You’ve got to make sure you take care of the first one — that’s the only one that matters. But I’m excited about the draw. Sometimes you just never know what you’re going to see when you watch the (Selection) Show.”

The only time the Cougars drew a better seeding was in 2012, when BYU earned a No. 1 seed. The Cougars eventually fell to No. 2 seed North Carolina, 2-1, in double overtime in the quarterfinals.

Since then, BYU's best finish came in 2016, when the team made it to the Sweet 16.

Last season, the Cougars made their way back to the tournament after failing to earn an at-large bid the year prior, and lost to TCU in the first round.

Junior midfielder Mikayla Colohan had a feeling this team would be special when she realized the majority of last year’s squad would be returning — there were only two seniors on the team last season.

And she was happy with the way the Cougars won the WCC title and were able to get back into the tournament, even if they did fall short to the Horned Frogs.

“We were super excited just to build on that again,” Colohan said.

The team's undefeated streak was something Rockwood said the group never acknowledged. Well, except the one time.

Midway through the season, Rockwood made sure the team took a moment to stop and appreciate their wins and where they were ranked. She wanted the players to understand how much they had accomplished so far.

“Because those kind of accomplishments should build confidence moving forward,” Rockwood said. “As far as [being] undefeated, it’s something we didn’t talk about. We were so invested in just trying to get three points for each conference game. Our main goal was to win the conference championship, and that’s happened. Now our main goal will be to win on Friday night.”

Although BYU and Boise State are less than 400 miles apart, the soccer programs have never met on the pitch.

After the Selection Show ended, Rockwood asked the players if any of them had any friends on the Broncos team. One player raised her hand.

Senior forward Elise Flake, who leads the Cougars with 18 goals, said they'll treat their first-round opponents just like any other team. Every game is just as important as the next.

“We just talked to the team and our focus is to go into every game with the same mindset,” Flake said. “So, we're excited we get to play them. It will be cool. I've never played them.”

As a No. 2 seed, BYU has the opportunity to host games through at least the first three rounds of the tournament. If the Cougars beat Boise State, they will next host the winner between Lipscomb and Louisville.

“We feel very fortunate to play at a place that is so well supported both home and on the road — Cougar nation shows up and supports us on the road,” Rockwood said. “But the fan base here is fantastic.”