Aug. 26, 2012
Lincoln, Neb. --- For a second straight half, the University of New Mexico peppered the opposing net with shot after shot. For the second straight game, the only solid opportunity for its opponent found the net on an odd bounce, as Nebraska used a tally in each half to keep the Lobos winless on the season, recording a 2-0 win in the final game of the Husker Classic.
The loss dropped UNM to 0-3-1, and it's not like the already tough schedule gets any easier, as UNM traveled to the University of Texas to face SMU and Texas next week in the Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational before facing off with NCAA College Cup teams Georgia and Florida, all on the road.
On Friday, a late goal the skidded on the wet turf and bounded past all comers for a 1-0 Iowa State win did UNM in despite the Lobos taking the action to the Cyclones. The same result happened in the first half against Nebraska.
UNM peppered shot after shot, 10 in all, at the Nebraska net, with Husker keeper Emma Stevens racking up five saves. The best of those came 10 minutes in when Natalie Jenks lofted a shot from the left side that she leaped and just got enough of to parry the ball wide. Jordan Craig came off the bench and unleashed six shots, three on net, and she nearly but UNM on the board late when he chip froze a helpless Stevens, but the ball dropped onto the top of the net.
Nebraska was content to defend and couldn't find a hole in UNM's defense until there was 6:26 left in the half. Jaylyn Odermann got a ball on the left side, and not being able to advance, pulled it back and sent a long cross into the center of the penalty area, looking for Katie Kraeutner. Kraeutner went up and keeper Kelli Cornell came out, and Kraeutner actually missed the header, but the bounced bounced off her shoulder and into the net for a 1-0 lead.
Nebraska then came out and took the play to UNM in the early part of the second and were rewarded with a much more picturesque goal, but one that counted just as much. This time is was Odermann who got the glory. Stacy Bartels had her back to the UNM net and laid off a perfect pass to Odermann, who rared back and cranked a shot that Cornell was screened on. She dove to her left and nearly got a hand on it anyways, but Odermann's rocket bent around Cornell and just inside the post for a highlight-reel goal and a clutch insurance marker.
UNM would again push the pace of play, but nothing could get past Stevens on this day, as she totaled six saves, and had several more key plays on cross and through-balls as she recorded her first shutout of the season.
"Today was the best game we've played and should have gotten a better result," said head coach Kit Vela. "We just get a little tight and tense in the final third, and we aren't putting the ball in the net."
The Lobos have suffered three straight shutouts, and UNM's offense, which has been tasked with replacing goal scorers such as Jen Williams, Jael Fanning and Zaneta Wyne, hasn't hit the back of the net yet. UNM's lone goal is off a free kick that was headed in by defender Liz Nare.
UNM's three-match losing streak has come against some pretty big names, having lost to Texas Tech, Iowa State, and Nebraska. The Lobos have SMU, Texas, Georgia, and Florida next, the last three on the road.
"Well, we have no soft opponents. Everyone we have played is tough and physical and we have an inexperienced attacking group right now."
Vela added, "(The offense) is ready to break through. We just need one goal to break out right now. Someone is checking our character, and we are going to see how this team responds."
NOTES: UNM and Nebraska each had 13 shots on net ... UNM made a starting lineup change, as Ashley Espinosa replaced Dylann O'Connor in the starting lineup at midfield ... O'Connor picked up the first yellow card of the season for UNM, after a late challenge against the Husker keeper ... the trend of no whistles continued, as UNM now has committed just 22 fouls in four games, and its opponents just 24.