The New Mexico women's soccer team fell in the Mountain West Tournament championship to San Diego State on Saturday night in Las Vegas by a score of 3-0, as the hat trick of Aliyah Utush ended New Mexico’s season.
Despite the lopsided final score line, the Lobos weren’t without scoring opportunities. In the 22nd minute, Amelia Bierle put a shot off the post and the crossbar, and the rebound fell to Jessie Hix, who put her shot wide.
The first half of the match finished 0-0, with the Lobos leading 8-6 in shots. Statistically, the game was not as one-sided as the final score made it appear, and in many ways the match simply came down to who could take their chances better.
San Diego State opened the scoring in the 58th minute when Utush took advantage of a ball bouncing off the head of a New Mexico defender around midfield. Utush was able to beat Emily Johnson one on one and put the ball into the back of the net, just past the efforts of Emily Chavez for the first of her three goals.
The Lobos nearly equalized in the 62nd minute, when a flip throw from Jessica Nelson found it’s way to Quincy Slora in the box. Slora was able to connect with the ball, but her shot went wide right.
The second goal for Utush came in the 76th minute, off of an assist from teammate Hailey Balma. She added her third and final goal of the match six minutes later in the 82nd minute.
“I'm so proud to be a part of this team," Lobos coach Heather Dyche said in a release, despite the negative final result.
"This year has been an incredible ride — we just ran out of gas tonight,” she said. “It's been a great week, and we are proud of the way we've represented The University of New Mexico."
Saturday marked the second time in a week that the Lobos took on San Diego State, as they lost a heartbreaker in the final seconds of overtime 4-3 the Friday before. That win was what vaulted the Aztecs into the second seed in the tournament, a spot that the Lobos held prior to kickoff.
Heading into next season, the Lobos will lose nine players off this year’s roster, including midfielder Claire Lynch, who is third all-time on the program’s goal scoring list, as well as the aforementioned Slora.
Slora, in addition to Hix and Jennifer Munoz were named to the All-Mountain West Tournament Team for their efforts in the Lobos’ three matches.
The Lobos will begin the 2018 season sometime next August.
Cameron Goeldner is a freelance sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s soccer but also contributes content for baseball, basketball, football and track and field. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @goeldfinger.