After losing 1-0 to Air Force on Friday night, UNM fired back against Colorado College on Sunday, beating the Tigers 2-1 in Colorado Springs and further cementing their position in the top six of the conference.
Before Sunday’s match, the Lobos (10-6, 5-3 MW) lost their previous two conference games to Air Force and San Jose State. Before the two losses, the Lobos were first in the conference standings — and after the loss to Air Force, found themselves in fourth place.
But against Colorado College (5-7-4, 2-4-2 MW), the Lobos were able to reverse their recent dip in form.
Colorado College nearly took the lead in the 11th minute, when freshman midfielder Tayla Wheeler’s follow-up shot from a blocked Tiger free kick was saved by UNM sophomore goalkeeper Emily Johnson.
The Lobos came close to scoring five minutes later, but senior forward Claire Lynch’s direct free kick was met by a diving save from Tiger freshman goalkeeper Jade Odom.
The breakthrough for the Lobos though would come soon after.
In the 21st minute, the Lobos were awarded another free kick, this time out of shooting range. Lynch’s high, lofted delivery was met by sophomore midfielder Jessie Hix, who headed the ball into the upper left corner of the goal.
Hix has now scored five goals this season — all of them with her head.
The score remained 1-0 into half-time. Both teams had shots blocked after the goal, but neither side was able to carve out any additional clear goal scoring opportunities before the break.
The Lobos started the second half strong and doubled their lead in the 51st minute.
Lynch thwarted an attempted clearance near the top of the Tiger penalty area. Then, the senior collected the ball and chipped over Odom.
Lynch has seven goals this season. The goal against Colorado College marks her 23rd career goal and places her third in program history alongside former Lobo Nicole Highfil (1993-95). Lynch is one goal away from equaling her 2016 tally of eight goals.
Despite the two goal cushion, the Tigers continued to fight, and in the final stages threatened to turn the game around.
In the 78th minute, junior midfielder Lauren Milliet brought down a long, cross-field pass from junior forward Clara Richter, and after beating goalkeeper Johnson with the control, poked the ball into the net.
The Tigers put pressure on the Lobos in the remaining minutes, but the Lobos were able to close out the 2-1 victory.
Johnson made a season high seven saves on the day. The sophomore made a crucial save in the 86th minute to keep UNM in the lead.
"Today was a huge win for our team," UNM head coach Heather Dyche said in a release. "Colorado College made a late push and deserve a ton of credit. This is a tough road weekend, and to come away with a split is outstanding. I'm proud of our response today."
The Lobos will take on Colorado State University on Friday at the UNM Soccer Complex and then play the University of Wyoming on Sunday in Laramie, Wyoming.
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 @cartron_matt.