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LINCOLN, Neb. — The 11th-ranked BYU women's soccer team earned its third-straight shutout to open the regular season, downing Nebraska in its first true road game 2-0 at the Huskers' new Hibner Stadium.
Ashley Hatch scored the opening goal, finishing off Nadia Gomes' pinpoint cross in front of goal to give the Cougars the early lead for the third-straight game.
"It's always hard to come on the road against a great program with a lot of tradition … and it was certainly a great battle tonight," BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood told Greg Wrubell on the Cougar IMG Sports Network. "We came out on the good end of things, but it was tough. It wasn't easy."
Michele Murphy Vasconcelos added an insurance goal during a nervy second half for BYU, skipping a shot into the net off Nebraska goalkeeper Erika Johnson in the 76th minute.
Rachel Boaz made two saves on 10 shots faced for the Cougars, splitting the shutout with backup goalkeeper Hannah Clark for the final five minutes of the match. But the game teetered on several instances early in the second half before Murphy Vasconcelos put away her chance and scored her first goal of the year.
"We were not settled, for sure," Rockwood said. "They played a unique system that we haven't seen yet. It took us a while to sort that out, and I don't know if we really did. It was just a grind. But we battled it out. Ashley gave us a nice goal early, and then defensively we just gutted it out."
BYU (3-0) returns home Friday night to face rival Utah. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at South Field.
"It's always a big game, one of the better rivalries in the country in any sport. I think a lot of fans will come out for that game," said Rockwood, whose team lost 1-0 last September at Ute Field. "We're anxious to have another shot at them. The girls know each other, and it's always a battle when you play against girls you played against in high school and in club. There will be more fireworks Friday night."