PROVO, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) -Senior Carlee Payne Holmoe scored on a penalty kick with 44 seconds left in the game to give BYU the 1-0 victory over Auburn Friday night at South Field in the Second Round of the NCAA tournament. With the win, the Cougars advance to the Sweet Sixteen to play Marquette this Saturday, Nov. 17, at 5 p.m MST at home.
This is BYU's first time back in the Sweet Sixteen since the 2003 campaign when they team made a run to the Elite Eight before falling to Connecticut.
“Obviously at this time of year every game gets bigger and bigger,” said head coach Jennifer Rockwood. “I’m proud of these girls; it was a tough battle tonight against a very strong defensive Auburn team. We know tonight was a very big win and we're excited to move on to the next game.”
With under a minute left in the second half, Michele Murphy held the ball near the end line by Auburn's goal. She turned to send the ball in front of the goal and was fouled just inside the box, resulting in the PK for Holmoe.
“Of course I had nerves, but I was confident that I could put the ball where I wanted it,” Holmoe said. “It was one those moments in my career that I will never forget.”
The first half was a defensive battle with both teams registering single-digits shots. Rachel Manning and Jessica Ringwood both had two shots as the Cougars tallied six in the half, placing four on goal. The Tigers were limited to only three shots in the half, placing one on frame.
BYU had its best chance at goal about halfway through the first half when Ringwood sent a volley from the top of the box that Auburn's goalie punched away. The Cougars went into halftime scoreless for just the sixth time this season.
After the break, BYU put the pressure on and kept the ball on their attacking end. The Cougars registered 11 shots in the half, putting six of them on goal, while holding the Tigers to just two in the second 45 minutes.
“Defensively we played really solid and didn’t allow Auburn to turn on us,” Rockwood said. “We knew they were a great counter-attack team and so we wanted to make sure that we didn’t let their counters go and I thought our back line did a great job of that tonight.”