Provo • BYU women's soccer coach Jennifer Rockwood lent a helping shovel last week as snow was removed from South Field in preparation for the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Too much of the white stuff postponed the Cougars' eventual 2-1 victory against Utah State by a day.
On Thursday, snow will be the last of Rockwood's worries as No. 2-ranked BYU faces Auburn for the right to move onto the field of 16 at 5 p.m. Saturday against either Princeton or Marquette. The forecast calls for clear skies and temperatures near 50 degrees.
"It wasn't too bad," said Rockwood about the cold and a snow-ringed South Field. "It was just really cold. But we can't complain."
More than 2,200 fans watched BYU (19-1-1) advance in the first round. A larger crowd is expected when kickoff happens at 6 p.m. Princeton and Marquette is scheduled for a 3 p.m. start.
"Home-field advantage is big for our team," BYU goal keeper Erica Owens said. "We really feed off the energy they bring."
Thanks to goals from Jessica Ringwood and Marissa Nimmer, BYU jumped out to a quick lead against USU, then held on.
Being away from home apparently doesn't bother Auburn (13-10-1). The Tigers defeated Washington 2-1 in Seattle as Tori Ball and Mary Nicholson scored goals.
Auburn, which was defeated by Florida in the SEC Tournament championship game, received an at-large bid into the tournament. Tatiana Coleman's nine goals and nine assists lead Auburn, which will meet BYU for the first time.
"We've been able to watch some film," Rockwood said. "They're an athletic team than can score on the counter."
Rockwood wasn't about to feel sorry for a team playing at altitude in weather not typically experienced in Alabama.
"You try all season to set yourself up for the postseason," she said. "It gives us a little more confidence being at home. At least we're used to the cold."
NCAA soccer at South Field
• Princeton vs. Marquette, 3 p.m.
• BYU vs. Auburn, 6 p.m.