The University of New Mexico women’s soccer team beat the University of Nevada with a score of 3-1 on Friday, Oct. 4 in a lopsided game that improves UNM’s Mountain West Conference standing.
The match between canid mascots began with the Lady Lobos maintaining constant pressure on the Wolfpack’s defense. Early shots by Jessie Hix and Alesia Garcia were stopped by leaping saves from Nevada keeper Kendal Stovall.
In the 13th minute, a New Mexico pass was managed into the box without any Nevada defenders nearby and Lobo midfielder Maysa Walters was able to smash it past Stovall for a 1-0 Lobos lead.
Nevada tried to push the pressure onto UNM after the opening score, but a counter-attack beginning in the UNM half was converted by forward Leilani Baker in the 25th minute to double the advantage. A strong shot from the edge of Nevada’s penalty area found the Lobos ahead of the Wolfpack 2-0.
The remainder of the first half went by after more Lobo shots on goal, but none of the attempts found the back of the net. The second half opened with more New Mexico possession in the attacking half that a wide-open Glen Maly was able to slot into the goal.
Leading 3-0 at this point, the Lobos 'pumped their breaks' by moving into a more defensive structure aiming to run out the rest of the clock and prevent Nevada from any chance of coming back into the game.
The uneventful second half was punctuated by some individual UNM breakaways that resulted in shots, but mostly possession stayed in the midfield. In the 77th minute, the Wolfpack notched their only goal with a Casey Crawford shot from outside of the penalty box that perfectly went through several defenders and past the hands of keeper Malia Vanisi.
The rest of the match played out with UNM’s defense thwarting any Nevada offense and keeping the score at 3-1, securing the win for the Lobos. New Mexico had a total of 23 shots on goal to Nevada’s 11. Wolfpack keeper Stovall had nine saves and the Lobo’s Vanisi had four.
For the entirety of the game, UNM was able to outplay Nevada and any Wolfpack attack was inevitably shut down by the New Mexico defense and turned into a counter. The midfield was largely controlled by New Mexico, allowing for continued probing attacks into the offensive half and preventing any sustained possession by the opposition.
UNM’s tight offense was able to exploit many openings left by the defense for many breakaways and open looks in the box that were converted into shots. Stovall impressed with saves when she could, but the volume of open shots allowed by the defense in front of her meant her efforts couldn't keep the Lobos out of the net.
The win increased UNM to 6-4-0 overall and 2-1-0 in Mountain West play. Their streak of wins at home in Albuquerque increased to three in a row. The win stood as a milestone for head coach Heather Dyche, who pocketed her 50th career win.
Nevada dropped to 2-8-0 and 1-2-0 in the conference. With this record, New Mexico is able to maintain their standing in the top echelon of the Mountain West.
On Sunday, the Lobo team faced off against the University of Nevada Las Vegas for another successful win, 3-2. This puts UNM at a 7-4-0 record and 3-1-0 for conference play.
UNM’s next game is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 11 against Utah State University in Logan, Utah.
Colin Peña is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @penyacolin