2013 Mountain West Women’s Soccer Championship – Lobo Field
Monday: No. 7 Wyoming 1, No. 6 UNLV 1 (Wyoming advances in 4-2 shootout); No. 5 Utah State 2, No. 8 Nevada 0
Tuesday: 7 p.m., No. 4 New Mexico Lobos vs. Utah State; 4 p.m., No. 3 Boise State vs. No. 7 Wyoming.
Thursday: 7 p.m., No. 1 San Diego State vs. New Mexico/Utah State winner; 4 p.m., No. 2 Fresno State vs. Boise State/Wyoming winner.
Saturday: 1 p.m., Mountain West Championship Game
By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
The Lobos' first foe in the Mountain West Women's Soccer Tournament has been decided. Bring on the Utah State Aggies!
The New Mexico Lobos have to be hoping that three is the charm this week in the dog-eat-dog, winner-take-all MW Tournament, but the first step is always the most important one and for the Lobos that’s a 7 p.m., Tuesday encounter with Utah State.
The No. 5 seed Aggies beat No. 8 seed Nevada 2-0 Monday night on Lobo Field to earn the right to play the No. 4 seed Lobos on their home pitch. The Lobos and the Aggies played to a 0-0 double-overtime tie Oct. 25 in Logan, Utah, but on Tuesday one team will advance and one team will end its season. A No. 5 seed has never won this tournament.
Kit Vela’s Lobos stand three wins away from the 2013 MW tourney title and three games away from an automatic NCAA bid that probably is the only NCAA invite awaiting a team from the MW.
“The girls are excited and ready,” said Vela. “We can’t wait to play in front of our home crowd and we know exactly what is at stake. Utah State is an excellent team however any team in this conference is a challenge. It's been an amazing conference all season."
Said Utah State Coach Heather Cairns of the 0-0 tie with UNM: “They (Lobos) played well at times and we played well at times. It’s really going to be a battle. We used a lot of sub (Monday) to hopefully keep some players fresh (for New Mexico).”
Wyoming also advanced Monday in a shootout (4-2) win over UNLV. The teams played to a 1-1 draw in double overtime. The Cowgirls will play Boise State at 4 p.m., on Tuesday. No. 1 San Diego State and No. 2 Fresno State got byes to the tourney semifinals.
The tournament will take a day off on Wednesday and resume play on Thursday with the semifinals. The championship game is set for 1 p.m., on Saturday.
There are several carrots dangling in front of the Lobos and all the teams involved in this season-ending battle. Well, season-ending for all but one team. That NCAA automatic bid is the big carrot teasing all these teams including No. 1 San Diego State. The Mountain is not expected to get an at-large bid.
But there also is a championship to win and there is a pride thing anytime D-I athletes go to battle.
The Mountain West pitch wars have been close and intense. The top four seeds in this tournament played seven games vs. the other seven teams in the 2013 tournament field and only No. 1 SDSU and No. 2 Fresno State had a game that wasn’t decided by one goal or fewer.
The Aztecs had five games decided by no more than one goal – all Aztec wins. Fresno State had six games decided by no more than one goal. The Lobos and Boise State had all seven of their games against the tourney field decided by one goal or fewer.
The Mountain West race might have gone to the Aztecs, but this was not an easy run to the regular-season title. The Lobos, Boise State and Fresno State were a few lucky (or unlucky) bounces away from the title. Consider these facts about the Lobos’ 2013 season:
The last three Lobo games all went into double overtime.
The Lobos lost two of those double-overtime games by a single goal and played Utah State to a 0-0 tie.
The Lobos’ last seven MW games were decided by no more than one goal and UNM also lost by a single goal in double overtime at Wyoming.
The Lobos’ three league losses all went into double overtime.
The Lobos had only MW game decided by more than one goal, a 3-0 win at Colorado State.
As Coach Vela likes to point out: “Soccer is a cruel game.”
The UNLV Rebels found that out on Monday at Lobo Field. UNLV had more shots (16-12), more corner kicks (11-7) and ended their season in a 1-1 tie with Wyoming. The Cowgirls advance to the MW quarterfinals by virtue of a 4-2 edge in a shootout that came after the second scoreless overtime.
Boise State beat Wyoming 2-1 in Boise. The Broncos outshot Wyoming 18-8 in that win.
“We definitely believe we can beat anyone in this tournament,” said Wyoming Coach Pete Cuadrado. “We are going to have our hands full especially with such a quick turnaround. It should be a great game.”
If there is an advantage to fresh legs in this MW Tournament, it goes to Fresno State and San Diego State. The Aztecs, the regular-season champions, got a bye to the semifinals as did No. 2 seed Fresno State. Fresno State is 7-0-1 over its past eight games. SDSU has a 9-1-0 run heading into the MW tourney with seven shutouts in that streak. The Aztecs lost 2-1 at Wyoming.
The Lobos and Boise State got a bye to the quarterfinals, but are looking at a three-game run to glory.
The Lobos might have to get past the No. 1 and No. 2 seed in order to claim the 2013 league crown. UNM is 2-7 in the tourney vs. those two seeds and are 0-3-1 vs. SDSU in tourney play. If UNM gets past Utah State, the Lobos will face the red-hot Aztecs.
The Lobos are a tough defensive team and have registered eight shutouts on the season. On offense, Dylann O'Connor has four goals and three assists and Lindsey Guice has five goals and an assist.
The Lobos (8-10-2, 6-3-1 MW) placed Liz Nare, Brianna Webster, Lindsey Guice, and Dylann O’Connor on the All-Mountain West Second Team. The Aztecs had five players on the All-MW First Team.