New Mexico’s Mountain West season started off with a bang.
Unfortunately for the Lobos, it wasn’t in their favor.
It took all but 15 seconds for Colorado College’s freshman Madeline Stesney to find the back of UNM’s net off of a cross from sophomore forward Clara Richter.
Stesney’s first goal of the year was the only one of the game as neither team could score in the remaining 88:40 of the contest, resulting in a 1-0 victory for Colorado College (5-4-0, 1-0-0 MW) over New Mexico.
It was the first goal allowed by UNM in its past 324 minutes of action.
“That first 15 seconds was a shock,” Lobos senior midfielder/forward Katie Hinman said. “We were looking back and it just didn’t seem real.”
Head coach Heather Dyche said the goal which should have woken her squad up, didn’t come into play until after halftime, which was too late.
“It’s not the way you want to start a game, but I thought it was a good goal,” Dyche said. “I don’t think it rattled us too much, but I just thought our energy in the first half wasn’t what we expect from ourselves.”
Dyche described her team as having a lack of urgency on Friday, and simply floating through the contest. She said the struggle to put two complete halves together is something the team has been addressing early in the 2016-2017 campaign.
“All year long, we’ve talked about we’ll be good if our energy is right and we’ll be average if it’s not,” Dyche said. “The first half we were very average and in the second half, I thought we were really good.”
The Lobos only managed one shot on goal, a weak dribbler right into the arms of Colorado College’s Louisa Mackenzie, an Albuquerque native.
New Mexico stepped up its defensive play in the half, keeping the ball on the opponent’s side of the pitch.
“I think it was defensive play and I think it was finally stepping a little bit higher, like playing on the front of our cleat, instead of dropping off,” Dyche said. “They were actually looking to go get pressure instead of in the first half, I thought they were always dropping.”
Mackenzie handled the second half of her homecoming well, not panicking despite the Lobos’ awakened pressure.
“We kind of had to address that this is our home, we don’t want to get beat here,” Hinman said. “I think (in the) second half we brought the energy. It wasn’t the win that we wanted, but we definitely saw what it takes to make a difference to play in the Mountain West Conference.”
One thing Dyche said she was pleased about was that energy is something her group can control. Whether or not they step up the intensity is not up to the coaching staff, Dyche said.
However, she said the talent is there, and had a few close opportunities gone UNM’s way, the Lobos (4-3-2) wouldn’t have opened up its conference play with a 0-1-0 start.
Hinman said the sour taste from losing just the second home game UNM has played thus far this year is something that the team doesn’t want to feel again after they play Air Force on Sunday.
“I think the emotion of losing at your home is just like enough to say that that’s not happening again,” Hinman said. “Personally, being a senior and just wanting to make the conference, I don’t want to lose again and I think as a team, we don’t either.”
First touch against Air Force is scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. MT.
Liam Cary-Eaves is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers volleyball, women’s basketball and baseball. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Liam_CE.