Lobo and Red Raider fans alike flocked to the University of New Mexico soccer stadium on Sunday evening to watch University of New Mexico women’s soccer team beat Texas Tech in their first game of the season
The win for the Lobos was taken with fierce pride. This was the first win they’ve had against Tech in ten years.
“For tonight, I’m damn proud of it,” Lobo head coach, Heather Dyche said. “That team was very, very good and for me. I’m from here, so this place should be great.”
Coming into the first half, the competition was stiff. With defensive back and forth on both sides, the half looked to be uneventful up until the final seconds.
The highlight of the game came with only five seconds left on the clock. After a call was made on Tech’s goal-keeper, Marissa Zuchetto, for shoving a UNM player, Lobo’s Alesia Garcia put the ball past Zuchetto for the penalty kick.
The goal ended the half 1-0, Lobos.
In the second half, Tech returned with a fierce offense but it couldn’t square up to Lobo defense lead by UNM’s senior goal-keeper, Emily Johnson and senior midfielder, Jessie Hix. Johnson played the entire 90 minutes, putting up a total of seven saves for the team.
With one more opportunity to take the match to overtime, Texas Tech’s Zuchetto went for a final kick but couldn’t find the net in those last moments of pressure.
UNM finished the game, 1-0 over the Red Raiders.
Despite having the triumph over Tech, it was a dirty match. Fouls and yellow cards were called consistently throughout the game on both sides.
“We pride ourselves on how we play and who we are and the end result is hopefully a product of that. Tonight felt like the opposite and a lot of times I felt like we were outplayed.” Dyche said.
Even though the mess, Dyche said she wasn’t disappointed in the way her players performed against a strong offensive team like Texas Tech.
A stand out player for UNM’s offense was Alesia Garcia. The forward player demonstrated strong footwork throughout the game, matching it with fast hustle and kicking in the only goal of the night.
“I’ll give my all, 110%. This team knows I have their back, they got my back,” Garcia said, “I’m just trying to bring more wins to New Mexico and the community around us.”
Johnson showed off her strengths as starting goal-keeper playing against the Red Raiders. Coach Dyche describes Johnson’s performance as phenomenal and credited her for her ability to match the speed that Tech brought to the field.
“It was a really physical game and we didn’t play the prettiest soccer, but the fact that we found the end of the net in some way and that our defense kept holding and we found that win was really important,” Johnson said.
For the first game of the season, the Lobos hope to keep the momentum of this success going as they head to the pacific northwest in the upcoming week to play against the University of Portland and the University of Washington.
UNM will play away on Thursday, Aug. 28, against Portland at 5 p.m. The game can be viewed on the pac-12 network.
Alanie Rael is Co-Sports Editor and a reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @AllyRael.