Sept. 21, 2012
Riverside, Calif.--- Dylann O'Connor, playing in front of friends and family and just over an hour from her home, scored her first career goal 23:01 into the game as the Lobos picked up their fifth win in the last six matches, defeating UC Riverside 1-0 to end the first day of the UC Riverside Tournament.
The Lobos are one of the hottest teams in the Mountain West, winning five of their last six, including three on the road. UNM, who at one point this season was 0-3-1, is now 5-4-1, and recorded its second consecutive shutout.
New Mexico got the only goal it would need almost exactly halfway through the opening half, on the back end of a corner kick. Rachel Montoya's corner was knocked away from the defense, and the ball ended up on the foot of defender Lauren Irwin, who lofted a ball to the back post. O'Connor, Natalie Jenks, and Brianna Websterwere all in the vicinity, but it was O'Connor who got to it first, knocking home a shot from just outside the six for her first career goal. For Irwin, it was her first career assist and point, coming in her 62nd career game.
While it was the only tally that UNM would need, the Lobos peppered Riverside keeper Jessica White, with 10 shots in the first half, including three on net. Sinead Flemingalmost made it 2-0 twice, once rocking a shot off the framework, and then getting robbed of a sure goal by the 5-10 White, who climbed the ladder and got a piece of a Fleming blast. White is a fifth-year senior who earned a medical redshirt after getting injured in the second game last year.
"Riverside is a very good team and they have very good athletes and we kept them at bay," said head coach Kit Vela. "We scored midway through the first half and then had to hold them off. Their keeper had a great save in the first half or else it would have been 2-0."
Vela added, "We had to buckle down in the second half because they threw every at us including the kitchen sink in order to tie it. I'm really proud of the girls for getting a win on the road. It was a great effort by the whole team."
New Mexico outshot the Highlanders 16-5, including 6-0 on net, and had five corners to just one for UC Riverside.
The shutout was the second in a row for UNM, and it was the second straight in which keeper Kelli Cornelldidn't have to record a save. UNM has now outshot its last two opponents 38-8 in recording back-to-back 1-0 wins.
The Lobos will play an 11 a.m. match against UC Davis to round out their participation in the UC Riverside Tournament on Sunday. UC Davis hammered Lamar in the opening match 4-0 on Friday.
NOTES: UNM has had three matches in 2012 in which it scored just one goal, and in all three, the goals were the first career tallies for the goal scorer ... Cornell recorded her 42 career win and her 36th career shutout ... O'Connor became the eighth Lobo to score this year ... the back-to-back 1-0 wins marks the third straight season that UNM has recorded back-to-back 1-0 wins.