Aug. 21, 2009
Lobo Women's Soccer
Friday: Lobos 2, Idaho State 0
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
Her eyes were lined with tears and her voice cracked a bit. It was a special moment for Lobo senior Jess Quador as she scored her first goal as a Lobo.
Better yet, sophomore Jennifer Williams also scored a goal as the Lobos opened their 2009 season with a 2-0 shutout over Idaho State. The game was played Friday on a warm New Mexico evening at the UNM Soccer Complex.
"I'm so happy. I'm just so happy," said Quador of Littleton, Colo. "It's been a while. I hadn't scored since my freshman year of college (U of Colorado). It was surreal. It was the best way I could start off my senior year."
It was a good way for Williams to start off her sophomore year, too. The speedy striker accepted a high pass from Nicole Smith and dashed down the left side working the ball with her left foot. It appeared the Bengal defender had enough of an angle and a good chance to cut off Williams, or at least reduce the Lobos' gap of attack.
But there was a crack and that's how the goals get in. The quick-footed Williams maintained enough of a lead on the defender to open an angle for her shot. Williams launched the ball at a slight hole between the post and the goalie's right side. The rocket shot was high and true and UNM had its 1-0 lead at the 11:43 mark.
"I was looking for a cross at first and then the keeper came to the near post and I took the shot," said Williams. "I feel I played OK. I could have played better. It was nice to beat up on other people."
The season-opening win hands UNM a 1-0 mark to take on the road. UNM leaves home to battle Cal State Bakersfield (Aug. 28), Illinois State (Aug. 30), Oakland (Sept. 4) and Iowa (Sept. 6). The Lobos return to Albuquerque for a Sept. 11 match against Cal State Northridge.
"We had a lot of first-game jitters," said Lobo Coach Kit Vela. "We weren't very smooth. We definitely didn't have much chemistry, but we found a way to win. We put a lot of young players on the field and that probably messed with our rhythm as well."
Vela's challenge in 2009 is to mesh 11 freshmen with 15 letterwinners and 11 starters. There is tons of talent on this Lobo team, but Vela will be pulling the substitution strings over the next few weeks looking for chemistry and smooth combinations.
The Lobos dominated the visitors in the first half with six shots-on-goal to none for the Bengals. UNM also pounded five corner kicks in front of the Idaho State net, but the Bengals had none on the other end. Williams was active on the offensive end with three shots-on-goal in the first half. She got off three more in the second half.
The Bengals seemed to increase their intensity in the second half and matched the Lobos with eight shots-on-goal. The Bengals had three corner kicks in the second half while UNM had two corner kicks. The Bengals made it scary twice in the second half with a missed shot in front of the net and a long bomb that bounced off the UNM bar.
"We controlled the first half more," said Vela. "I think the girls came out in the second half and said, `We have to fix this,' and it got worse. It was just more first-game jitters."
Quador put the game away at the 88:12 mark. She rolled in front of the Bengal net on a corner kick and headed the ball hard at the opening. The shot was blocked - by Williams.
"It came right in front and I headed it," said Quador. "It came off Jen and then it hit off the goalie and I just laced it as hard as I could back into the net. I was just hoping it would stop in the back of the net. I have more of a green light to come up this year and hopefully there will be more goals to come.
"We were a little frantic tonight. We needed to calm down and play our game. I think for the most part we controlled the game. We had our good moments. And we won."