New Mexico’s first Mountain West loss came at the hands of a team that had lost its first three conference games.
After Friday’s win gave them a 3-0 conference record, the Lobos fell from the Mountain West’s unbeatens with a 3-1 loss to UNLV Sunday afternoon at the UNM Soccer Complex. The Rebels also picked up their first MW win of the season.
UNM head coach Heather Dyche pointed out the parity in the conference heading into the weekend, saying teams would be beating on each other throughout MW play. Considering a winless team knocked off an unbeaten team, that proved true.
“That’s the Mountain West, though,” Dyche said. “I think anyone can beat anyone. We’ve been saying that all along, and we didn’t compete today. They deserve to win; I thought the entire 90 minutes we never, never got into any kind of rhythm.”
San Jose State also dropped its first MW game to Utah State, a team UNM defeated in its conference opener 1-0. Only Colorado College remains undefeated in conference after its overtime win against Wyoming.
“There are no bad teams in our conference, so any given day is a battle between both teams that are playing,” midfielder Dylann O’Connor said. “You can’t underestimate anybody.”
An early advantage by UNM (5-6-0, 3-1-0 MW) didn’t last long. Lobo forward Madisyn Olguin found the net 64 seconds in for an unassisted goal. Benefiting from a steal, Olguin gathered the ball and finished the opportunity in the lower left corner for her third goal of the season.
Only five minutes later, though, Samantha Weber scored an unassisted goal of her own for UNLV (6-7-0, 1-3-0 MW). The Rebel defender dumped the ball in high from outside the box on what appeared to be a crossing pass. The ball sailed over leaping goalkeeper Cassie Ulrich and past the goal line.
“That’s the game, too,” Dyche said. “(In) soccer, I feel like half the goals that get scored aren’t necessarily pretty. I thought their second goal was brilliant. They deserved to win today.”
UNLV gained the lead in the half’s final few minutes. Midfielder Denali Murnan passed the ball from just outside the Rebels’ own defensive third and found forward Lily Sender, who managed to stay onside, on a run to the attacking third. She converted her shot, firing the ball to the left corner.
Nearly as quickly as UNM struck in the first half, UNLV gained a 3-1 margin in the second half, this time off a corner kick. Midfielder Jordan Magnin drove the corner in six yards out from the net to forward Brittney Gideon, and her header to the right corner added some cushion to the UNLV lead.
UNM finished with 14 shots, including three on goal with two saved by UNLV goalkeeper Jessie Clark. Ulrich stopped three UNLV shots and the Lobos had two team saves. The Rebels had 17 shots for the game.
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J.R. Oppenheim is the managing editor for the Daily Lobo. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JROppenheim.