BYU vs Washington State – 7:30 PM
It took a while thanks to some disagreeable weather, but Washington State made a winning start to 2014 and under Steve Nugent with a 3-0 victory over Big XII side TCU. The Cougars did an incredible job in putting their efforts on target, with thirteen of their fifteen shots on goal. In reality, given the above, the scoreline could’ve been a lot worse on TCU, and the likes of Cara Wegner, Sofia Anker-Kofoed, and Kaitlyn Johnson up front and Mesa Owsley and Jocelyn Jeffers terrorized the Horned Frog defense all night long. The defense did give up seventeen shot, but at the same time, only four of those were on frame, which WSU will probably take most of the time. Historically a team known for their suffocating defense, it’ll be interesting to see if WSU’s identity morphs into a more attacking side under their new boss. BYU on Monday will be a big acid test though. Provo has a way of breaking even the toughest teams, and WSU winning at high altitude against a hard nosed Cougar side would be a bit statement just one weekend into Nugent’s reign on The Palouse.
BYU found out that life without a whole lot of last season’s stars isn’t going to be a walk in the park. Against Big West contenders Cal State Fullerton on Friday, the Cougars had a bit more of the offense on the stat sheet and had a win in the bag seemingly after sophomore Ashley Hatch netted at 77′. They’d give up an equalizer just six minutes later though and tapered off in the extra frames to walk away with a draw. All things considered, it wasn’t the worst result in the world given that BYU was blooding a whole lot of new young talent to replace all the graduated players they lost after 2013. BYU did end up playing five of their subs for forty-five minutes or more, so you have to wonder if there’ll be some serious lineup changes ahead of the club’s home opener. Also keep an eye on the goalkeeping situation, with Hannah Clark and Taylor Campbell Isom splitting time against Fullerton, something that hasn’t happened in a long time in Provo. BYU’s non-conference slate is brutal, and getting a win against WSU would be big, with a grueling road trip to Knoxville to play Tennessee ahead on Friday.