Sept. 23, 2009
Lobo Women's Soccer
Wednesday: Lobos 3, Northern Colorado 1
Up Next: Vs. Northern Arizona, 7 p.m. Friday, UNM Soccer Complex
On Line: GameTracker, live streaming, results on GoLobos.com
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
Lambert's was a screamer from 25 yards out that knifed high and unstoppable through the chilly air of the UNM Soccer Complex and into the back of the Northern Colorado net. It gave the Lobos a 2-0 lead, good enough to hold up in the 3-1 win Wednesday night.
Luna's goal was a chip shot. It came a few feet in front of the Bears' net and was forged out of that rugby-like scrum that often forms when aggressive players merge to attack and defend. Luna bumped it in with her head.
"I was just in the right place at the right time," said Luna. "I was just praying I would finish it. I threw my whole body at it, but I hit it with my head."
The two goals were different in curious way, too. Lambert said the shot off her foot was "mindless." Luna said, "There were a million thoughts running through my head" on her shot."
Maybe that's the difference between shots propelled by toes and muscle - and shots launched by gray matter.
"It was mindless skill. All natural," said Lambert of her goal at the 21:38 mark of the first half. "I was a little surprised by it. I'm not sure where I was aiming. I just reacted. But it ended good. I'm happy."
The Lobos, now 8-0-2 on the year, jumped up on Northern Colorado 1-0 on Jennifer Williams' eighth goal and sixth game-winner of the season. It came at the 3:50 mark of the first half. It was a combination of good soccer, good spacing, good teamwork and a good bounce.
UNM's Zaneta Wyne gathered a high ball off her chest and her UNM teammates immediately fanned out to the left and the right. Wyne targeted Jael Fanning wide to the right side of the Lobos' offense and fed her the ball.
Fanning put the leather in front of the net with Nicole Reed centered and Williams attacking the backdoor on the left side.
Reed gave the ball a head flick and it was deflected to Williams' feet. That was the good bounce created by good effort. Williams drilled the ball hard and low and it slipped past the Northern Colorado goalie. UNM had the early 1-0 lead.
UNM then worked off a Williams' corner kick to get its second goal. Williams did her usual good job of dropping the ball in front of the net and senior captain Jess Quador got a piece of the ball off a header.
The ball skidded to the Northeast corner of the UNM Soccer Complex where Lambert gathered the ball to her feet and let a shot rip. The shot screamed high past the NC goalie's right side and settled deep into the net. UNM carried the 2-0 lead into the half and things were looking pretty good.
UNM's first-half dominance was reflected in the Lobos' ten shots. Northern Colorado had one, a weak and wide attempt early in the half. UNM had three corner kicks and NC had none. The Lobos had three shots-on-goal with two coming to rest in the Bears' net.
The Lobos slipped into dangerous territory in the second half by allowing Northern Colorado to slip to within a goal. UNM had dominated the first 20 minutes and probably had more scoring opportunities up to that point in the second half than they had in the entire first half.
But the Bears caught the UNM defense up -- and asleep -- as they beat the Lobos on the left side of the Northern Colorado attack and centered the ball to two Bears being guarded by a single Lobo defender.
The ball rolled to the feet of NC's Daniell Birdsall who was isolated to the left of UNM's keeper, Kelli Cornell. The shot wasn't hit too cleanly and Cornell dove to her left and back toward the line. She gathered the loose ball in, but not before it had penetrated enough for the score.
The Lobos were now a mistake, or a lucky Bear shot, away from a tie.
"The first 15, 20 minutes (of the second half) we had so many chances to put the game away and make the game different," said Lobo coach Kit Vela, who matched her most wins in a season at eight. "Now, we're kicking ourselves, it's still a 2-0 game, and they think they are still in it.
"We needed to put some of those shots in the back of the net. We have to clean it up a bit and not get too casual. The game is not over when you are up 2-0."
Luna ended the drama - and Northern Colorado's hopes - with her header. It came after a hard shot by Veronika Strnadova bounded off the Bears' keeper.
"Everyone worked hard for it and I had to finish it for my team," said Luna. "I was so excited."
The Lobos had some great looks in the second half, but only the head of Luna found net. Northern Colorado improved its offensive game in the second half and took eight shots to ten for UNM. That stat ended at 20-to-9 in favor of the Lobos.
"I made a lot of changes and tried to get a lot of people on the field," said Vela. "I knew I would lose some of the rhythm, but I didn't think I'd lose that much rhythm. But we have to get some of these kids on the field."
Vela gets her next chance to get some Lobos on the field at 7 p.m. Friday when the undefeated Lobos play Northern Arizona.
Lobo Notes: Williams' eight goals place her in the No. 6 spot for UNM goals in a season. Her 21 points puts her in fifth place for points in a season. The sophomore is in the No. 6 spot for career UNM goals at 12. She is No. 2 in career game-winners with seven. ... Redshirt freshman keeper, Kelli Cornell, picked up her eighth win and is tied for fifth place for Lobo wins in a season.