Oct. 24, 2008
Friday: Lobos 1, San Diego State 1 (2OT)
Where: UNM Soccer Complex
Next: Lobos at UNLV, Oct. 31
By Richard Stevens, Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
Maybe the Lobos should call it, "The Save." It was that good. Really.
It came just a few minutes into overtime when a rocket San Diego State shot appeared destined to find a home high in the back of the University of New Mexico net.
And then suddenly there was Lobo Shannon Adragna going up high, going up off-balanced, going up and keeping the Lobos' postseason hopes alive with a dazzling two-handed save Friday night at the UNM Soccer Complex.
"Shannon showed that she is good as she is," said Lobos coach Kit Vela a few minutes after UNM and SDSU played to a double-overtime 1-1 tie.
"They are a really good team and I thought we played well," said Vela. "I wasn't happy that we didn't give them a good goal. I didn't think they earned that one."
The tie puts the Lobos in uncertain territory in the Mountain West Conference standings. A win over the Aztecs would have pushed UNM past the Aztecs and into the MWC tourney set for Las Vegas.
The tie doesn't exactly settle the muddy MWC waters as UNM and the Aztecs are both 2-3-1 in league, with neither team having the edge in head-to-head combat. Wyoming is 2-3 and in a three-way battle with UNM and SDSU to become one of the six teams invited to the league tourney. The winner of the MWC tourney receives an automatic berth in the NCAA playoffs.
Wyoming finishes the season with games against Utah and BYU and if Wyoming drops both those games, the Lobos' tie with SDSU will send those teams to Vegas.
"They (Utah/BYU) beat us, so it would help us if they go out and beat everyone else," said Vela. "The tie doesn't hurt us, if Wyoming loses."
The Lobos outshot SDSU 22-to-12, but both teams had six shots-on-goal. UNM had 11 corner kicks to 2 for the visitors.
The Lobos were in danger of losing to the Aztecs as UNM was down 1-0 going into the second half. Then UNM's Alexis Ball struck for the Lobos.
Her shot was about as spectacular as Adragna's save. "Alexis ripped a lot of shots tonight," said Vela. "She is playing very well."
Ball's bomb was a beauty. The Lobo sophomore tracked down the ball in the Northwest corner faked a run to her right, pivoted back to her left and lofted a long, high floating shot that seemed to hang for several long seconds in the chilly air of the UNM Soccer Complex.
The Aztec keeper, Christi Yount, had a good look at the ball as she backed up and leaped high to apparently bat the ball away. She couldn't reach it as Ball's shot fell into about the only spot that Yount could not reach.
The Aztecs had a good shot to go up 2-1. Cat Walker, who scored SDSU's lone goal, got loose on the right side, to Adragna's left. Walker strolled in close with the ball and sent a pass to the far side of the net. An SDSU header was stopped by Adragna.
The Lobos had dominated play most of the first half and again had dominated field play up to the 7:57 mark of the second half when UNM got a little scare. Lobo freshman Jennifer Williams collided with a bigger Aztec defender and Williams did a flip onto the hard October turf. Williams stayed down for several minutes before getting up and walking off the field, slowly. Williams stayed on the sideline for about a minute before jogging back into the game.
With 6:30 to play, Ball almost found net again. She beat a defender to the left side and sent a sharp grounder at the corner of the net. Yount, the SDSU keeper, came over to clear the ball but it brushed against a post and Yount almost juggled the ball into her own net.
The Lobos got one final good shot at the 2:00 mark when Ball received a pass in front of the Aztec net and just outside the 18-yard line. Ball got a lot of foot on the ball and maybe a bit too much as her shot was dead-on center, but it sailed over the SDSU net.
Overtime. Both teams went into the extra periods looking for the golden goal to end play and both teams had some nice chances before settling for the 1-1 tie.
The Aztecs' goal in the first half was one of those shockers.
The Lobos had been dominating play in the first half, but an SDSU run put the ball in the Northwest corner to Adragna's right. The ball ended up floating down in front of the UNM net as Aztec Walker and UNM's Samantha Bevis bodied each other in a battle for the ball. Both players jabbed at the ball and Walker got her left foot on it to send a shot screaming high over Adragna's right shoulder and into the back of the net. Adragna didn't have a chance for the save.
The Aztecs had a great chance to go up 2-0 when Walker got loose on a breakaway and came at Adragna one-on-one with a UNM defender closing in on the play. Walker had a nice look at the net, but Adragna cleared the ball away with a hard slide.
The Lobos had four free kicks in the first half and senior Hannah Hand did a good job on three of them leading her charging teammates. But the Aztecs' defense kept the Lobos off the ball.
UNM got a fifth free shot with 6:39 left to play in the first half, but again the SDSU defense cleared away the threat. A Hand corner kick floated nicely in front of the SDSU net at the 3:30 mark and Ball out jumped the Aztecs to get her head on the ball, but the shot went high and wide.
The Lobos got off seven shots in the first half and SDSU got off five shots. The Lobos had five corner kicks in the first 45 minutes to none for the Aztecs. The Aztecs were whistled for nine fouls to four for the Lobos.
The tie left UNM 7-5-5 on the season.