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LAS VEGAS -- MWC Tournament MVP Katie Larkin's second-half goal secured the 2008 Mountain West Conference Tournament Championship for the Cougars as they beat the University of Utah 1-0, Saturday in Las Vegas. As the tournament champions, the team earns the MWC's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
"I'm very proud of our team and how they came out and competed," said head coach Jennifer Rockwood. "There was a lot on the line and emotions were high. I'm proud of our seniors and how they have led the team this year, including our captains (Larkin and Jessica Carter). Katie stepped up when we needed her and gave us the winning goal. Our defense was solid and overall it was a great day. I look forward to see who we play next week."
Neither team was able to do much offensively in the first half. The Cougars outshot the Utes 12-8. Freshman keeper McKinzie Olson had four saves, and there was no score in the game at halftime.
Three minutes into the second half, three time All-American senior forward Katie Larkin got the Cougars on the board with a shot from the left side of the box to the right side of the goal past the keeper. The goal was Larkin's second in the tournament. Freshman forward Auna Janis assisted Larkin for her first assist in 2008.
After the goal, the Cougars were able to keep the pressure on, outshooting the Utes 7-3 through the rest of the game. The defense held strong and allowed only five shots on goal during the entire game. Olson stopped all five to preserve the shutout.
Larkin was also named to the All-Tournament team along with fellow Cougars Andrea Willis, Karen Cook, and Jessica Carter.
BYU has now won the conference tournament two years in a row, defeating UNLV 2-1, at South Field in 2007. The Cougars have now won six MWC tournament championships. The Cougars are now 17-5-0, while the Utes fall to 12-8-2. The back-to-back tournament championships are the first for the Cougars since they won three in a row from 2000-2002.
The NCAA tournament pairings and locations will be announced Monday, Nov. 10. Games begin Thursday, Nov. 14 in locations around the country.
Cougar fans can get updates about the team by texting the word "WSOC" to 83043. Members of the group will receive reminders about game times, information about ticket discounts and other promotions.
2008 MWC All-Tournament Team
Lizzy Karoly, TCU
Jackie Torda, TCU
Brie Kuhne, UNLV
Haley Partridge, UNLV
Amanda Sanchez, Utah
Lauren Hair, Utah
Kelly Isleib, Utah
Karen Cook, BYU
Katie Larkin, BYU
Andrea Willis, BYU
Jessica Carter, BYU
MVP: Katie Larkin, BYU