By Eli Baldrige, Staff Writer
The San Diego State women’s soccer team is done.
Despite hosting the Mountain West Conference Tournament, SDSU failed to get out of the semifinals and lost to No. 18 BYU 2-0 on Thursday.
The young Aztec team had an impressive close to the season, only allowing one goal in its last five home games. However, the second-seeded Cougars, after a first round bye, proved to be too much for SDSU and netted two goals against the stiff Aztec defense.
“It was one of those days where we were just one step slower,” head coach Mike Friesen said. “The heat, us playing yesterday and the fact we’re banged up all contributed.”
BYU scored its first goal in the eighth minute. SDSU tried to clear a ball that was played forward from midfield. The clear bounced off a Cougar player and landed behind the Aztec defense, springing BYU forward Carlee Payne on a breakaway. Senior SDSU goalie Aubree Southwick left her line to challenge the ball but Payne calmly shot the ball on the ground into the back of the net.
“The ball took an unlucky bounce for us and went right to BYU on a breakaway,” Friesen said.
The remainder of the first half was back and forth; the Aztecs had some opportunities but went into the locker room down 1-0.
The second half began evenly matched until the 60th minute. Senior SDSU midfielder Michaela DeJesus took a shot from the top of the box, but the Cougar keeper was able to make the save.
The Aztecs continued to keep the pressure on and minutes later sophomore forward Sarah Halverson took a quality shot from 12 yards out, but a diving save kept the ball out of the net.
Despite SDSU keeping the ball in BYU’s half of the field for most of the second half, the Cougars were awarded a corner with 13 minutes left. Lauren Anderson took the corner and bended the ball toward the near post where it went in untouched.
The Aztecs finished the game with more shots on goal than their counterpart but were unable to score. The loss ended their run in the MWC Tournament and their season.
“They outplayed us in the first half,” DeJesus said. “But we had chances in the second half, we just couldn’t finish.”
The coach thinks this season will benefit his young team moving forward.
“We started to fight more down the stretch,” Friesen said. “We’ve grown up a lot this season.”