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BYU moves on to Elite 8 with 3-1 win over Michigan State

BYU moves on to Elite 8 with 3-1 win over Michigan State

PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) - The top-seeded BYU women's soccer team keeps on rolling through the NCAA Tournament, and will now host an Elite 8 matchup next week.

The Cougars defeated Michigan State Saturday night at South Field, 3-1, behind two goals from Brecken Mozingo and another from Ellie Walbruch.

BYU's victory extended the Cougars' unbeaten streak to 19 games and sent the team to the Elite Eight for the second time in three seasons and fifth time in program history. 

"The girls have fought and have earned the right to play at home in the Elite Eight game, which not many people can say," said BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood. "We're really excited and really looking forward to our next match.”

BYU’s will host the the winner of the North Carolina vs. Texas Tech matchup, which will be held on Sunday.

Mozingo's big night included two goals and an assist. The Sandy, Utah native leads the team in goals and assists and powered BYU to the third-round victory.

The Cougars outshot the Spartans 21-3, and BYU's eight corner kicks to Michigan State's two helped spark the Cougar offense.

“It was a fantastic game tonight,” Rockwood said. “I am proud of the way we battled, as it wasn't an easy game for us. We were out of our comfort zone a little bit because of Michigan State's pressure and their ability to move the ball, but the girls stuck with it."

After a scoreless first half, Michigan State opened the scoring in the 52nd minute via a goal from Gabby Mueller, giving the Spartans the 1-0 lead. The deficit for the Cougars was their first time trailing all tournament.

A foul by Michigan State in the box led to a successful penalty kick from Mozingo in the 55th minute as BYU quickly evened the match at 1-1. The strike from Mozingo scorched the ball to the bottom right of the night, bringing South Field to a frenzy. 

"I think everyone believed that the goal would come, even when Michigan State scored on us," Rockwood said. "Everyone still believed that we would find a way to score. We've been scoring all year long, and we found lots of different ways to score, and certainly, when Brecken is on the field, there's always a good chance that you're going to score a goal." 

In the 60th minute, Mozingo stole the ball from a Spartan defender in the offensive third and some miticulous ball handling led to a rip that found the back of the net, giving BYU a 2-1 lead.

Michigan State began to apply pressure in the 68th minute with multiple scoring opportunities, but the Cougars were able to hold the Spartans from finding the equalizing goal.

As time began to dwindle away, BYU scored its third goal of the match via a corner kick that connected with Ellie Walbruch, who headed the ball for the goal between the goalkeeper and defender. The goal was assisted by Mozingo who placed the ball in the center of the box, just over a leaping defender, giving Walbruch the golden scoring chance. The Cougars extended their lead over the Spartans 3-1 in the 80th minute.

The Spartans had a few scoring chances in the frenetic closing minutes, but were unable to get on the baord, as BYU held on.