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PROVO — The first home game in conference play ended much like the first 10 games of the season for the sixth-ranked BYU women’s soccer team.
With a win. Without a loss.
Most importantly — and unlikely the previous three matches against their opponent Pepperdine, with three points.
Elise Flake had two goals and an assist, Mikayla Colohan added a goal and two assists, and Lizzy Braby supplied a goal and an assist as undefeated No. 6 BYU women’s soccer blitzed visiting Pepperdine 5-1 Wednesday night in the Cougars’ conference home opener.
Cameron Tucker added two assists, and freshman SaraJayne Affleck scored her first collegiate goal in the opening minutes for BYU, which improved to 11-0-1 with their first win in West Coast Conference play.
The Cougars opened WCC play last Saturday with a 2-2 draw at Santa Clara.
“I don’t know; I think the light turned on and we were able to be a great first-half team today,” Affleck said.
The win also snapped Pepperdine’s three-match unbeaten run in the series, in which the Waves (5-5-2, 1-1 WCC) hold a 6-5 edge. And the seniors all knew it.
“I hadn’t realized that until the seniors said they hadn’t beat Pepperdine yet. I didn’t remember that,” BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood said. “They knew; I forgot. But we mentioned right before the game that it was time for us to get a W. Mostly, though, it was just picking up the three points and taking care of business.”
BYU struck early, just four minutes into the match when Affleck cleaned up a rebound off a deflected cross from Cameron Tucker and booted the ball into the upper 90 for the early 1-0 advantage.
“I had to finish it,” Affleck said. “We had several practices this week focusing on sending a ball into the box and making sure our weakside runner was in the right spot. I think that we did a good job with that today.”
Colohan started the advance, dished to an open Tucker on the wing to set up the Cougars' second shot of the match that Affleck converted for her first goal of the year.
Flake doubled the advantage just six minutes later, toe-poking a counterattacking shot that caromed off the right post before the Lone Peak product walked the ball back into the net for a 2-0 advantage.
Flake scored her 31st career goal in the 22nd minute, redirecting a cross from Colohan with the inside of her right boot for a 3-0 lead. The brace put her tied for 10th all-time in BYU women’s soccer history with Carlee Payne Holmoe.
“The girls came out flying. That’s how we wanted to start,” Rockwood said. “We got off nice and early in the attack, put a few away … and then challenged the girls to come out the same way in the second half.”
Pepperdine’s Shelby Little pulled one back three minutes before halftime, taking advantage of BYU goalkeeper Sabrina Davis’ initial save and putting it back into the net to put the Waves (5-5-2, 1-1 WCC) on the board in the 42nd minute.
It was the first shot on target of the match for the Waves, a team receiving votes in the latest United Soccer Coaches’ poll that upset then-No. 2 Stanford 1-0 back on Sept. 13.
But BYU never allowed them to get back into their 12th match, which was just the fourth time Pepperdine allowed more than one goal.
But Braby scored a left-footed curler just three minutes after the break, sliding home a shot from the right side of the box inside the far post to push the lead back to three, 4-1.
Colohan finished off a give-and-go with Tucker in the 54th minute, dishing the ball to the striker then receiving it back for her seventh goal of the season to add to the lead, 5-1.
Moments later, just before the 60th minute, Colohan left the field with an apparent elbow injury. The Davis High product had to be aided off the pitch by the Cougars’ medical staff in a lot of pain, and did not return.
Rockwood said the crafty midfielder received a clean bill of health from the team’s medical staff, adding that the pain came mostly from “hitting a nerve.” The sophomore returned to the pitch after the match, without ice or a brace, to join her teammates in an unbeaten start to league play.
“We just try to keep it one game at a time, and focus on the present,” Affleck said. “I’m really proud of us so far, but we’ve got to just keep it one game at a time.”