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Flake coming on strong for Cougars in WCC play

October 13, 2018

Brigham Young Cougars forward Elise Flake (5) reacts after her shot on goal went wide during the home opener for Brigham Young University women's soccer against Stanford University held Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, at Smith Fieldhouse's South Field in Provo. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

BYU women’s soccer coach Jennifer Rockwood often talks to her players about performing well enough to leave a strong legacy.

Junior forward Elise Flake is taking those discussions to heart.

Flake leads BYU in scoring and has two game-winning goals, including a golden goal in overtime last Saturday to beat San Diego. The former Maple Mountain standout has scored in each of the past four games, three of them West Coast Conference contests as the Cougars lead the league with a 3-0-0 record.

“What’s separated Elise these past few games, especially in conference, is we’re finding her the ball where she can use her strengths,” Rockwood said. “When she’s touching the ball in the midfield with her back to the goal, she’s not as dangerous. We know she can beat most people on the field if we can find her faced up and going to the goal. She’s a great finisher.”

Flake was offered a scholarship at BYU during her junior year at Maple Mountain, but suffered an ACL injury and didn’t play as a senior.

“Luckily, I had some great coaches and teammates to get me back and well the next year,” Flake said. “My knee is great now so I’ve been super blessed.”

As a freshman, Flake played in 17 matches and scored a single goal for the Cougars. As a sophomore in 2017, Flake started 10 games and tallied 12 points (five goals, two assists). So far as a junior, Flake has a team-leading eight goals and four assists for 20 points.

“We’ve been encouraging her to find her shot, get the ball in the box and look for her 1 vs. 1 opportunities. She’s been focusing on when she has those opportunities in the box, to be a shooter first.”

Flake said she and her teammates met after the Cougars last game in 2017 and were determined to do whatever it took to reach their team goals this season.

“This year, people have started to live their legacies,” Flake said. “It’s started to impact the team more than just on the soccer field.”

The Cougars have a difficult road trip on Saturday at Pepperdine, which is coming off a 1-0 upset of then-No. 2 Santa Clara in Malibu.

“Pepperdine is the defending WCC champions,” Rockwood said. “They have a great goalkeeper, a great coach and great players. I don’t think it (beating Santa Clara) necessarily surprised anyone. Pepperdine is a tough place to play. I don’t think Santa Clara won there in a long time. It helps us out that everybody in conference has a loss. We want to stay in the driver’s seat. The girls are anxious to get back out and move the ball around.”

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