Oct. 14, 2012
Las Vegas, Nev. --- For the first time in nearly three calendar years, the University of New Mexico has lost a regular season Mountain West match. UNLV's Macy Jo Harrison and Jenn Wolfe scored within a 4:50 span of the second half and UNLV ended UNM's 17-match conference unbeaten streak 2-0 in Vegas.
The loss creates a major jumble for second place in the Mountain West, and the all-important bye into the semifinals of the tournament that goes with it. UNLV, New Mexico, and Fresno State are all 2-1-1 in the league. San Diego State put a stranglehold on its attempt to end UNM's two-year reign atop the league as it defeated Fresno State 3-1, putting them at 4-0-0 in the league with 12 points.
The loss is the first for UNM in Mountain West play since losing 3-1 at San Diego State on Oct. 23, 2009. Since then UNM was 12-0-5 in MW games.
UNM controlled the play in the opening half, limiting UNLV to no shots at all, but UNM countered with just three themselves, all saved by Kylie Wassell. In the second half, it was UNLV that applied immediate pressure, and it paid off at the 56:58 mark as Harrison wove her way into the box past two defenders and sent a ball to the far post past Kelli Cornell for an unassisted goal and a 1-0 lead.
UNLV added an insurance goal just 4:50 later, when Susie Barnal feed sniper Jenn Wolfe for her 11th goal of the season, giving the Rebels a 2-0 advantage. UNM was not able to muster a goal, suffering a shutout for the first time since August 26 when UNM lost 2-0 at Nebraska. UNM had scored in 10 straight matches.
"We dominated in the first half and could hit back of the net, and then we got a little fatigued," said head coach Kit Vela. "It was a tough away travel weekend, and eventually your humanness comes out, especially with all the travel we've done this year. We will bounce back."
The Lobos will now return home to face off with Air Force and Wyoming on Friday and Sunday. The match against Air Force (5-6-3, 0-4-0) will be at 5 p.m. on Friday night, and it will be the annual "Think Pink" game. On Sunday, the match vs. Wyoming (7-6-2, 0-3-1) will be at 11 a.m. and it will be Senior Day.
NOTES: All MW teams have three matches left, and all will play two next weekend ... the top six teams make the tournament, and a win on Friday would clinch a berth for UNM ... only San Diego State, the tournament's host, has clinched a berth in the six-team tournament.