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BYU women's soccer clinches first-ever College Cup with 4-1 win over South Carolina

BYU forward Mikaylie Moore celebrates a goal against South Carolina during an Elite Eight match in the NCAA Tournament, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021 at South Field in Provo.

BYU forward Mikaylie Moore celebrates a goal against South Carolina during an Elite Eight match in the NCAA Tournament, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021 at South Field in Provo. (BYU Photo)


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Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

PROVO β€” In producing a result that had never been accomplished in BYU women's soccer history, the Cougars did what they've done all year: score first, and score often.

The final call was almost anticlimactic, but the moment 27 years in the making.

Mikayla Colohan had two goals and an assist, and Makaylie Moore added a brace as well to lead No. 4 BYU women's soccer to a 4-1 win over South Carolina in an Elite Eight match Saturday night at South Field.

Cameron Tucker and Brecken Mozingo each had two assists for BYU (17-4-1), which advanced to face West Coast Conference rival and reigning national champion Santa Clara in the NCAA College Cup semifinals next Friday, Dec. 3 at Stevens Stadium in Santa Clara, California. Florida State and Rutgers will contest the other semifinal.

It's the first time since 2002 that the West Coast Conference has sent two teams to the College Cup.

"We're super competitive. We're ready to take on anybody," said Colohan, the senior taking advantage of an extra year of eligibility provided by the COVID-19 pandemic after she was selected by the Orlando Pride in the 2021 NWSL Draft. "And we're happy it's Santa Clara; we're ready for them.

"And who would it be better to do it against than our in-conference rival?"

Blessed, proud and humbled were a few of the words BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood used to describe the historic occasion. But mostly, she was just excited β€” perhaps even too much so, as the tenured head coach bowed underneath the emotional weight of Colohan at midfield.

"I've been here since I was 18 years as a student, and it's been a long journey," said Rockwood, whose team out-shot the Gamecocks 26-5. "It's fun to see us finally make it to the Final Four after all these years."

Rockwood built the program from the ground up, from a club program when she was a teenager to the moment it gained NCAA sanctioning in the 1990s to the current day β€” arguably the biggest in program history. From All-Americans to conference titles, one goal had eluded one of BYU's top team sports on campus: a spot in the College Cup, and with it, a shot at a national title.

Not anymore.

"I'm just so proud of these guys and so excited for these girls," Rockwood told BYUtv. "Hopefully we've got two more games in us; we're excited to go to Santa Clara.

"I think this team has really come together, and we attack as well as we defend. We have some very experienced players, the chemistry is fantastic, we have a lot of fun, and we put it all on the field."

In front of an overflowing South Field crowd of 4,131 that sold out less than four hours after tickets were put on sale earlier in the week, the Cougars did what they always tried to do: score early, and score again.

BYU midfielder Mikayla Colohan takes a shot against South Carolina during an Elite Eight match in the NCAA Tournament, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021 at South Field in Provo.
BYU midfielder Mikayla Colohan takes a shot against South Carolina during an Elite Eight match in the NCAA Tournament, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021 at South Field in Provo. (Photo: BYU Photo)

The nation's top scoring offense put on a show for its home crowd a week after taking down Alabama and top-seeded Virginia in Charlottesville.

"We were lucky to have another game on the schedule," Colohan said, "and lucky to do it in front of our fans."

Colohan keyed the Cougars' first charge, plucking a loose ball off the Gamecocks' 18-yard box and turning the counter before finding Moore for the opening goal in the third minute.

But BYU didn't sit back from there.

The Cougars out-shot South Carolina 7-2 in the first 15 minutes, refusing to allow a shot on goal before Colohan doubled the advantage. Bracken Mozingo found Cameron Tucker in a wide space before the senior from Lone Peak found the senior from Davis High wide open in the center of the box to go up, 2-0 in the 15th minute.

Corrinna Zullo climbed behind the back line in the 40th minute, finishing her fourth goal of the season past BYU goalkeeper Cassidy Smith to pull the Gamecocks within 2-1 at halftime.

That was the only shot on goal in the first half against BYU, which out-shot South Carolina 11-4 before the break.

But what Rockwood called a "silly mistake" at halftime only made BYU stronger. Colohan scored a second goal less than one minute into the half β€” again hooking up with Tucker and Mozingo for the well-placed cross into the box that Colohan finished with ease.

Moore tallied her brace in the 60th minute, finishing off a pass from Olivia Wade to put the host Cougars up 4-1 en route to their first Final Four appearance in program history.

The rest was merely a formality as BYU held the Gamecocks to a single shot on goal, out-pacing the visitors 15-1.

"It's a dream come true," Tucker said. "We just played so great, and our team played well together. We couldn't ask for much more. Our team chemistry is really amazing.

"I feel like that's what makes us stand out."

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