Oct. 30, 2010
A third straight tie for the New Mexico Lobos was all it needed, as Rachel Fields scored the tying goal in the second half as the Lobos recorded their second consecutive 1-1 tie, but it was good enough to give the Lobos and head coach Kit Vela their first ever outright Mountain West Conference regular season championship. The Lobos, who ran their unbeaten streak to nine (7-0-2) will enter the MWC Tournament in San Diego, Calif. as the No. 1 seed.
The Lobos needed the result for the outright title after BYU nipped Utah 2-1 on Saturday night, giving the Cougars a 5-1-1 conference record, good for 16 points. New Mexico finished 5-0-2 in conference play, and they enter the tournament a league best 11-1-5.
TCU got on the board first, scoring just the sixth goal against New Mexico all season when Kim Castleberry took a pass from Kaylie Garcia and beat Kelli Cornell with 3:16 in to the game. The goal was only the second first half goal UNM has allowed all season, and it marked the first time UNM has trailed in the first half.
New Mexico hasn't had to play from behind much this season, as over the first 1,553 minutes of the season, Nex Mexico actually had only trailed for 12:07. The Lobos would trail this one for 55:48 before Fields netted her sixth of the year to tie it. The goal, unassisted, was a 30-yard rocket from the right side which got past keeper Kelsey Waters. The Lobos has chances to win the game, but with seconds to go in the first overtime Rachel Montoya hit the crossbar, and late in the second OT, Fields had a shot that got past Walters but was cleared off the line by a defender.
New Mexico outshot TCU, who missed the conference tournament at 1-5-1 but 7-10-2 overall, by a count of 35-16, and 10-6 on net. Kelli Cornell had five saves, none bigger than a diving shot on a point blank rocket by Garcia with seven minutes left. Walters had seven saves for TCU.
The Lobos now head to San Diego and the San Diego Sports Deck for the Mountain West Conference Tournament. The Lobos will have a first round bye as the top seed, and they will play the winner of the No. 4 Utah/No. 5 UNLV game on Thursday at noon in a game broadcast live on The Mtn. BYU earned the No. 2 seed and the other bye, and they will play the winner of the No. 3 San Diego State/No. 6 Wyoming game.
NOTES: The game marked the first time all season that New Mexico has allowed goals in back-to-back games ... Fields had half of UNM's 10 shots on goal.