Albuquerque, N.M. --- Different road game, different hero, same end result: another win on the road over a NCAA College Cup team. Senior Rachel Montoya scored a pair of goals, the first off some great teamwork, as the Lobos won their third straight game, downing Georgia 2-0 in Athens.
The win pushed UNM's record to 3-3-1 on the season, while Georgia dropped to 4-3-0. UNM, which was coming off a 2-1 double overtime comeback win over Texas, now has back-to-back wins over 2011 NCAA College Cup squads, with a third, No. 24 Florida, on the horizon.
Much like last Sunday when a senior scored both goals (that time Jordan Craig), it was Rachel Montoya's turn for some heroics. UNM got the only goal it would need with 5:43 to go in the first half in a sequence that showcased a calm confidence that UNM has shown throughout the three-match winning streak. It started when Alexis Leyba tooka pass from Liz Nare, and found some space in the offensive third. Leyba hit Craig near the top of the 18 to the right side, and Craig left a touch pass behind her for Elba Holguin.
Holguin wound up and her 18-yard rocket to the lower far corner was deftly parried away by Ashley Baker, but in a fortuitous event, the ball bounded directly to Montoya about 15 yards out, and she buried it for a 1-0 lead. That was all UNM's defense, led by keeper Kelli Cornell would need.
Cornell officially recorded just four saves, most from shots outside the area, but she time and again snared crosses and punched away balls lofted in the box. Her backline of Nare, Brooke Ellison, Sinead Fleming and Lauren Irwin never allowed Georgia to penetrate and get anything going inside the box. In the end, Cornell recorded her 40th career win and her 34th career shutout.
"Obviously a great team effort for us, and we showed a lot of character on the road," said UNM head coach Kit Vela. "Georgia is a very good team. we scored in the first half and had to hold on to the lead against a good side and the crowd. The team is working really hard as a unit."
Regarding Montoya, Vela added, "Rachel played so well for 90 minutes and that first goal was picture perfect. The second goal, she hit it hard and the keeper thought Natalie was going to get it, but she hit that well. She earned both of those goals as she played her heart out for 90 minutes."
Montoya gave the Lobos some breathing room with 9:40 to go, drilling a free kick home for a 2-0 lead, and giving her a third goal this season. From there, Georgia never threatened and UNM was able to effectively run out the clock.
UNM improved to 2-1 on the road this season, and now gets to enjoy the win for a few hours before heading on a plane to Gainesville, Florida to take on the No. 24 Gators.
NOTES: UNM is now 6-10-3 against the current configuration of the SEC, but that counts an 0-6-0 mark against Texas A&M ... Kit Vela now has 96 career wins ... Cornell tied Lana Melendres (1996-99) for 10th place on the career start chart with 69 ... The Lobos return home after playing Florida, hosting New Mexico State on the 16th.