The Lobos maintained their spot in second place in the Mountain West Conference standings after beating CSU 4-2 on Friday night at the UNM Soccer Complex. The Lobos now have 18 points — four points behind leaders San Jose State.
The Lobos had the better of the early chances, and after 20 minutes, they broke the deadlock.
Senior midfielder Quincy Slora lofted a ball into the penalty area from the left side of CSU’s defense. The ball found unmarked senior forward Claire Lynch, who guided the ball with her head into the bottom left corner of the goal.
UNM’s 1-0 lead was short-lived, and only a minute and 29 seconds later, the Rams equalized.
A CSU corner was flicked on by sophomore defender Halley Havlicek, and the resulting loose ball was met by sophomore midfielder Caeley Lordemann, whose one-time effort beat UNM sophomore goalkeeper Emily Johnson.
The game remained 1-1 heading into the last 20 minutes of the second half, and it seemed the game might be destined for overtime. But in seven minutes, the game was turned on its head.
In the 72nd minute, Lynch looked poised to curl a free kick into the box for one of her teammates. The angle suggested that Lynch would cross the ball, but instead, the Albuquerque native blasted the ball into the top right corner of the goal.
“I went into that free kick planning to cross it,” Lynch said. “I guess I just mishit it perfectly into the top corner — it ended up in the back of the net, so that’s all that matters.”
Two minutes later, UNM freshman defender Aspen Headrick bundled in a CSU defensive header that was headed backwards toward the far post. This was the freshman’s first career goal for the Lobos.
The Lobos continued to press, and in the 79th minute, junior Jessica Nelson’s flip-throw-in slipped through the fingers of CSU sophomore goalkeeper Hunter Peifer and bounced into the right corner of the goal.
The game seemed headed for a lopsided Lobo victory, but the Rams continued to fight and in the 83rd minute, caught a glimmer of hope. Freshman forward Emma Shinsky’s cross from the left side of the Lobo defense found its way to Janelle Stone, who converted from point blank range.
The Lobos were able hold off the Rams in the final few minutes to close out the 4-2 victory.
“In the second half, we were just more committed to everything,” head coach Heather Dyche said. “Everyone bought in. And set pieces are always important to us. We’ve talked a lot about accountability, about how you have to be brave inside the box.”
The Lobos will play their second-to-last conference game on Sunday against the University of Wyoming at 12:30 p.m. 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.