Lobo Women's Soccer (3-4-1, 0-0-0 MW) Sunday, Sept. 9: No. 24 Florida 3, New Mexico 2
NEXT UP Sunday, Sept. 16: New Mexico Lobos hosting New Mexico State Aggies (Rio Grande Rivalry) UNM Soccer Complex, 4 p.m.
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Gainesville, Fla.--- The New Mexico Lobos had a 2-1 lead with 31 minutes left over No. 24 Florida, and had the Gators right where they wanted them. Unfortunately, for the second time this year, lightning did not help matters. After a nearly 45 minute lightning delay, Florida responded with two quick strikes and snuck out with a 3-2 win in a very entertaining match in Gainesville.
The win improved Florida to 3-2-1 on the season, while UNM saw its three-match winning streak come to end in dropping to 3-4-1. It looked for a while like UNM was going to bump that streak to four as UNM played the last of seven straight away from home, but it was not to be.
Rachel Montoya, who go the Lobos off on the right foot on this trip by scoring twice in a 2-0 win over Georgia, opened the scoring again, pouncing on an ill-advised square pass across the top of the box, and drilling home a shot past startled keeper Taylor Burke at the 20:39 mark, and that tally held through the half.
Florida pushed the pace in the second half and finally got loose inside the box as Annie Speese took a pass on the left side from Havana Solaun, touched the ball back inside and unleashed a bullet into the upper corner, past a helpless but diving Kelli Cornell to level the match at 1-1.
UNM went back up just seven minutes later when Natalie Jenks took a pass on the right flank, and sent a pass back to the top of the box towards Rachel Montoya. With defenders closing, Montoya dummied the ball to a streaking Stephanie Rowe, whose one-timer went into the upper right, and it was 2-1 Lobos with 33:21 left.
Less than two minutes later, at the 58:15 mark, lightning started striking too close to the field, forcing the weather siren at Pressly Field to go off, forcing a 30-minute delay, that would stretch to about 45 minutes when all was said and done. It marked the second lightning delay of the season, following the season opener in Albuquerque, where UNM had overtime cancelled against TCU in a game that the Lobos had all sorts of momentum.
This time, it took Florida 1:15 after the delay to equalize, as Erika Tymrak took a give-and-go from Annie Bobbitt and placed a perfect shot past Cornell for a 2-2 tie. Florida would finally go on top with 23:57 left when Jo Dragotta sent a free kick into the ball, and Holly King got a header past Cornell for a 3-2 lead. Had the shot not gone, a penalty would have been awarded as King somehow got loose despite a jersey grab from a UNM defender.
The Lobos tried to equalize, but couldn't get a shot on net. In fact, the game was odd in that there were only five shots combined on net, all of them going in for goals, as Burke and Cornell both recorded no saves.
New Mexico, who went 3-4 on it's four-week, seven game sojourn away from home, will finally return home of what will be an eventful Sunday on September 16. The Lobos will host New Mexico State for the Rio Grande Rivalry match, but after the UNM men's team hosts the final day of the TLC Invitational, meaning three games on one field in one day.
NOTES: Montoya now leads the team with four goals and two assists for 10 points ... after scoring just one goal in the first four matches of the season, UNM has scored 10 in the last four ... the last time UNM allowed three goals in regulation time in a regular season game was October 23, 2009, when UNM lost at San Diego State 3-1 ... Cornell made her 70th career start, tying her for ninth all-time at UNM ... Montoya's four goals this season equal her total from her first three seasons ... The loss is only the fifth time in the Vela era that the Lobos lost when leading at the half. The last time it occurred was on September 25, 2009 when UNM lost a 2-1 decision to Northern Arizona after leading 1-0 at the half. UNM was 23-0-1 in it's last 24 in that situation, and 30-1-1 in the last 32.