The University of New Mexico women’s soccer team made a statement to the entire women’s soccer industry on Sunday, Sept. 5 by beating the University of Washington at University Stadium. The 2-1 win against Washington proved an impressive feat, as Washington was ranked 19th in the nation in the United Soccer Coaches' preseason poll.
The Lobos originally went into Sunday’s match 1-2 overall after suffering a tough loss to Oregon State University on Aug. 29. The Huskies came to Albuquerque 1-3, but had so far only lost to one opponent outside the preseason top 25.
The first half went scoreless as the two teams engaged in a tight stalemate. Washington took on an aggressive offensive tone, attempting nine shots to the Lobos’ six. UNM was able to keep the game tied through good team defense without overextending their offense.
The Huskies came into the second half with another forceful offensive. UNM goalie Emily Johnson was able to nab two saves to start the second half, keeping the score tied until the 50:09 mark, when Washington forward Katie O’Kane sent a goal sailing past her. UNM tried to respond with an attack on the Washington net, but the ball went far off the mark.
UNM tied the game at 80:20 with a goal from UNM forward Jadyn Edwards off an assist from midfielder Brynn Boeyink. Washington tried to respond, but they were thwarted by Johnson. From then on, it was either team’s game to win.
As time ticked on, both teams got shots at the goal but were off target; for a while, it seemed like the game might end in a tie. But then, with less than a minute remaining, Johnson sent the ball far up field. Lobos forward Zaria Katesigwa raced ahead of the other players and scored the Lobos’ second goal, putting them ahead by one point.
Washington midfielder Ameera Hussen made one last attempt to tie the game with only three seconds left but was blocked by Johnson, ending the game as a win for UNM.
Johnson had a stupendous game in the net, saving eight attempts and only allowing one goal. UNM may have had only a third of the shots on goal that Washington had (Washington had nine) but they got the shots that they wanted and were able to score on.
After the game, head coach Heather Dyche said that while the first half was scoreless, what she saw from her team was exactly what they needed to ultimately win the game in the second half against a top-tier team like the Huskies.
“When you have a team that’s that talented individually, to limit their shots, and to limit their ability to score, that’s what you want to do to build into the game because that’s how you find your rhythm on offense,” Dyche said.
With this win, UNM is now 2-2 for the season and will have three days to prepare for their next opponent out of state on Sept. 9, the 0-5 Northern Arizona University.
Matthew Salcido is the sports editor at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @baggyeyedguy