Oct. 19, 2012
Albuquerque, N.M. --- Alexis Leyba scored her first career goal off a Rachel Montoyacorner kick just 1:19 into the second half, and New Mexico improved to 3-1-1 in the Mountain West with a 1-0 victory over Air Force. New Mexico is now 9-5-2 on the season, and with one more win UNM will have a fourth straight season of 10 straight wins.
The win was important as the Lobos moved into second place all by themselves in the Mountain West. San Diego State has a 5-0-0 record and 15 points, and will clinch the title with a win on Sunday against Air Force or at least a tie against New Mexico next Friday.
The Lobos are now in second at 3-1-1 with 10 points. UNM has a one point advantage on Boise State, who is 3-2-0 for nine points. The Broncos have UNLV at home on Sunday and Nevada at home next week. The Lobos are the only team that could catch the Aztecs for first place, with two wins and a SDSU loss or tie to Air Force. UNM is in a position to at least earn a bye into the semifinals of the tournament, which will take place in San Diego at the Sports Deck. UNM got into that position with a great strike and the first career goal from Alexis Leyba.
Leyba's goal came off a corner, one of 10, for New Mexico. Montoya, who registered her third assist to tie for the team lead, bent a ball over keeper Kelly Stambaugh to the back post, where Leyba raced in a volleyed a shot with her left foot into the net. It marked the third time if four home games that the only goal scored by UNM was a career first for that player. Liz Nare scored her first career goal in the 1-1 tie with TCU, and Elba Holguin scored her first career goal in UNM's 1-0 double overtime win over New Mexico State.
"At halftime (assistant coach) Jorge (Vela) told me to take a deep breath before I took my corner kick and so I did. I picked out some of the girls on the back post, hit it as hard as I could, and I knew someone would get on the end of it," said midfielder Rachel Montoya.
UNM dominated the match, outshooting Air Force 22-8, and 4-2 on net. The Lobos had 10 corners to just two for the Falcons.
"We just talked about being a little bit more hungry in front of the net," said head coach Kit Vela. "We had shots, we had opportunities, we had corners, we just need to be hungrier...we have scored some great goals, but we haven't scored enough."
UNM just missed on a few opportunities to get an insurance goal, with the best being from Annie Wheeler, whose rocket from 15 yards out just skipped wide.
Kelli Cornellrecorded two saves in recording her seventh shutout of the season, and third in five conference matches.
The Lobos will play their final home game on Sunday morning as they will host the Wyoming Cowgirls, who lost to San Diego State 3-1 on Friday. UNM beat Wyoming 2-0 in the Mountain West final last year.
NOTES: Montoya now leads the team with 11 points. Her four goals and three assists are both tied for the team lead ... her assist on Leyba's goal marked her ninth career assist, tying her for 10th on the career list with Nicole Knutson (1993-97) ... it was the third 1-0 win for UNM at home this year, with the other game at home being a 1-1 tie in the season opener ... Cornell recorded her 40th career shutout and 46th career win ... Cornell played and started in her 78th career game, moving into a tie for fifth on the games played chart, and a tie for second on the career starts chart, one behind former teammate Jennifer Williams (79).