Cougs in 1st after Win, Play again Tonight

The first home game for BYU's men's soccer team was a resounding success. The Cougars tallied three goals, allowed none by their opponent and ended the night in sole possession of first place in their division and tied for first in their conference. They can solidify their top spot with another win tonight.

It was home sweet home at South Field for BYU soccer on Friday night. The Cougars applied pressure from the opening kick and never let up. Tacoma FC seemed shell-shocked by BYU's intensity. The Cougars had a quality scoring chance just seconds after play began. They continued to put the ball on goal until the sixth minute when Jacob Cavanaugh took a pass from Ken Ojuka, broke free of the defense, drew Tacoma's keeper off his line, and deftly put the ball into the corner of the net.

"It felt really good," said Cavanaugh of his first goal of the season. "I've been frustrated the last three games so it was really nice to get one in."

The Cougars never relented in their attack. The ball was in Tacoma's end for most of match. Sophomore captain Steve Magleby must have had the green light to shoot because any time he had an opening it was bombs away. He drew groans from the crowd when he hit the post on shot near the 15th minute of play.

"It was pretty close," said Magleby of the attempt. "It was pretty much the only shot I had. The goalie was covering the near post and there was a defender right there so I had to shoot it high and kind of into the corner and just got unlucky but that's how it goes sometimes. The pressure was always on them and I think we kept it up and that's how we scored all our goals."

The constant pressure applied by the Cougars allowed Magleby to redeem himself in the 26th minute when he scored on the rebound of a Brock Trejo shot. The goal came on one of six shots by Magleby and 23 shots taken by BYU. The high shot total is in keeping with Coach Watkins offensive mentality.

"When we are in the midfield coach always wants us to test out the keeper," said Magleby. "We have never played a lot of these teams before so we don't know how their keepers are. [Coach Watkins] wants us to rip some shots from wherever we can and test him to make the big saves."

The scoring concluded in the 58th minute on a penalty kick by Trejo. The PK was called when Tacoma tackled Trejo in the box.

The Cougar coach was pleased with the outcome of the match and with the barrage that his team put on Tacoma's goalie. That only thing that could have made him happier was if more of the shots found the goal.

"I'm obviously very happy to be able to win and to win in a comfortable way; it is pretty rare for us," said Watkins. "Finishing-wise, for us to finish three good balls, although it was on 23 shots, we will stay take that percentage."

The win put the Cougars at the top of the Premiere Development League's Southwest Division. BYU's three wins give them nine points, which two points ahead of the second place Abbotsford Rangers. The Cougars are also tied with three other clubs for first place in the PDL's Western Conference.

The only other disappointment coming away from the game was that more people were not able to enjoy the victory. The fans were lively and loud in support of their team, but there were still plenty of seats left to be filled. Fan turnout is crucial to the team's ability to compete.

"If we don't have fans we don't have any money to go on our next road trip, so it is literally that important," said Coach Watkins. "Winning at home is very important and then scoring three goals and hopefully the fans have a good time, that is important too. Financially we are dead without them, no doubt about it."

Fans who missed out on the experience will have another opportunity to see the Cougars play tonight. BYU takes on the Yakima Reds at 7:30 at South Field. Yakima should give the Cougars a tough match. The teams have faced each other twice, each coming away with a victory. A win tonight for the Cougars would be huge in their quest for the playoffs.

"Four games in, three of which were on the road, we are in the best shape we have ever been in in the league, but we've had such struggles that I am not going to go home and have a party anytime soon," said Coach Watkins. "We have a lot of work ahead of us, especially in front of the goal. It is not time for us to get comfortable, that is for sure.

"We are in a position where we can't take any game for granted and so I am really—it is so cliché to say—but I could care less about anything except that I hope to get three points tomorrow night. We'd do anything for three points every night and it's really never a given for this team or any team in this."

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