BYU Clinches 2014 WCC Women’s Soccer Championship


With a 4-0 win over Pacific last night, the #15 ranked BYU Cougars clinched their third straight WCC Championship in women’s soccer. Ashley Hatch led the way with two goals in the victory.  The Cougars have had a dominant season and pulled away from the pack by winning their first six WCC matches to put themselves in position to clinch by winning just one of their final three matches. After tying Saint Mary’s in their previous game delaying the celebration, the Cougars dominated the Tigers to clinch the title.

Entering conference play, the Cougars looked strong riding a five match winning streak. But they were still chasing a red hot Pepperdine squad that entered WCC play ranked in the top ten and with only one loss. While the Cougars continued their hot streak, Pepperdine struggled. For much of the season it looked like the regular season finale between the Cougars and Waves would be a huge match to decide the conference, but the match now only affects the national rankings and has lost most of its excitement.

At 5-3-0 in WCC play the Waves are still having a strong season, but even with a win over the Cougars they cannot catch BYU for the title. In fact they could drop to as low as third or even fourth depending on the results of the final games of San Diego and Santa Clara. With BYU looking good to knock off Pepperdine in their season finale, that’s a very real possibility.

It would be a disappointing finish for a team that looked on their way to a dominant season entering conference play. They have lost just twice this year with one loss coming to #1 ranked UCLA, but the standings won’t reflect their success. Pepperdine is still firmly in the national rankings, and regardless of the outcome against #15 BYU they will easily make the NCAA Tournament.

Ashley Hatch continues to be a force for the Cougars after being an All-Freshman Team selection a year ago. She could be on her way to WCC Player of the Year honors as she is now up to 17 goals. She leads the WCC in goals and points by a comfortable margin over Sophia Huerta of Santa Clara, and she is among the top ten nationally in both categories. Hatch headlines a dominant offense that leads the WCC in all major offensive categories.

The Cougars are also backed by a stout defense that is neck and neck with Pepperdine in most defensive categories. The Cougars are last in the WCC in saves despite this, meaning they are locking down opponents and allowing very few shots against them. It’s been a major part of their success considering they had the potential to struggle in goal after the loss of 2013 WCC Goalkeeper of the Year Erica Owens to graduation.

Pepperdine still boasts a strong defense, but they need to get their offense right to match it. If they don’t, it could be a quick exit from the NCAA Tournament. With Santa Clara and San Diego also having strong finishes, it could be another year of 3-4 WCC teams in the tournament. But as of right now, the Cougars are the only team with the look of a squad that can make a deep run.