The Lobos (8-4, 3-1 MW), after falling 3-0 to Boise State, beat Utah State (6-5-1, 1-3 MW) away from home with a literal last-minute goal, coming in 28 seconds before the end of the game.
Neither side was able to create much in the way of chances for the majority of the game. Both sides defended well and made it difficult for one another to find a way through.
But in the 81st minute, UNM freshman Alexa Kirton broke the deadlock.
A scramble in the Aggies’ penalty area found its way to Kirton, and after having her initial shot blocked, she regained control of the ball and created an angle for herself, launching the ball into the left side of the goal.
This was Kirton’s first collegiate goal for the Lobos.
With two minutes remaining on the clock, it appeared as though Kirton’s goal would be enough to seal the victory, but in the 90th minute, the final goal frenzy ensued.
UNM goalkeeper Emily Johnson, near the top of the penalty area, attempted to clear the ball, but instead the ball ricocheted off a UNM player and was sent behind Johnson, where Aggie senior forward Bailee Hammond was able to muscle her way through and tap it in just in front of the goal line, leveling the score 1-1.
The Lobos had already lost two games this season late on — one in overtime and one in the final seconds of regulation. It appeared as though the Lobos were set to return home regretting yet another late goal.
But in the kickoff following the Utah State equalizer, the Lobos found a miracle.
Just after the kickoff, UNM freshman defender Aspen Headrick, dribbling into the midfield, lofted a ball behind the Aggie defense where Lynch, running at full speed with a defender on her shoulder, managed to poke the ball past Aggie senior goalkeeper Sarah Cobb.
“Today was a really gritty team win over a very good Utah State team,” UNM head coach Heather Dyche said in a release. “I was proud of our heart and commitment to play both sides of the ball. Also, I was really happy to see Alexa Kirton get her first collegiate goal.”
The win means the Lobos are now tied for second in the Mountain West Conference with San Jose and San Diego State. The three teams trail Air Force by one point.
The Lobos outshot the Aggies 12-11, and both Johnson and Cobb made four saves apiece, two in each half. The Aggies will play their next pair of conference games at home against Colorado College and Air Force. The Aggies are now third-to-last in the conference standings.
The Lobos will play their next two games at home against Fresno State and San Jose State. UNM beat San Jose State last year 3-1 but fell 3-0 to Fresno.
The Lobos will play Fresno on Friday, Oct. 6 at 7:30 p.m. and San Jose State at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 8. Both games will take place at the UNM Soccer Complex.
Matthieu Cartron is a sports beat reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers women’s soccer and men’s tennis. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter