Welcome to the West Coast Conference, BYU. The Brigham Young University Cougars topped the Portland Pilots 2-1 in overtime on Saturday in front of 2,445 fans in Provo, Utah and a national television audience. Senior Jennie Marshall struck the game-winner for BYU just five minutes into overtime to give the Cougars victory in their first-ever West Coast Conference game.
The win snapped Portland’s 28 game unbeaten streak in WCC play.
BYU was relentless from the opening whistle, putting the Pilots on their heels in cold, rainy, Oregon-like weather. Portland was far from comfortable as the Pilots conceded seven first half shots, but the Cougars managed to put just two of those on goal.
BYU nearly took the lead seven minutes into the match when midfielder Rachel Manning curled a shot just wide of goal from 22 yards out. Two minutes later, Marshall forced Portland goalkeeper Hailee DeYoung into a huge point blank save. That was one of a flurry of early chances for Marshall and company, but their lack of finishing meant the game went to halftime in a scoreless tie.
However, the Cougars needed just over four minutes in the second half to find the back of the net.
In the 50th minute, center back Lindsi Lisonbee rose above the pack on a Jessica Ringwood corner kick and headed the ball into the far side netting to give BYU the lead.
But incredibly, Portland showed its first sign of life and responded with a goal just over a minute later. Micaela Capelle stole the ball from BYU defender Ashley Bazzarone in the back and calmly touched the ball around BYU goalkeeper McKinzie Olson for the finish to make it level at 1-1.
Marshall stayed active throughout the second half and both teams had late chances to find a winner. Capelle’s shot from eight yards out in the 87th minute forced a huge save out of Olson and one minute later Marshall sent a curling, dipping 25 yard shot just wide of the far upper corner for BYU.
One minute into overtime, BYU forward Carlee Payne chipped DeYoung from 20 yards out, but DeYoung’s fingertip deflection caused the shot to hit the post. Four minutes later, though, Marshall sealed the deserved victory for BYU after finishing a low cross to the top of the 18 yard box from junior Cami Jensen. BYU out-shot Portland 19-4.