Women's Soccer: Lobos Top Air Force, 1-0, In First Round Of MWC Championships
Provo, Utah- The University of New Mexico women’s soccer team played to a hard-fought 1-0 win tonight in the first round of the Mountain West Conference Championships. The Lobos were powerful offensively, recording 14 shots to the Falcons five as well as tallying eight corner kicks while only giving up three. A stingy Lobo backline prevented any shots on goal, leaving keeper Kristen Winters without a save to make in the entire 90 minutes.
New Mexico took over the flow of the game right from the first whistle. The Lobo defense and midfield continually played perfect passes through to front runners, Marte Dolva (Geilo, Norway) and Michelle Longmire (Los Alamos, N.M.). Longmire used her blazing speed to dribble down the sideline and cross dangerous balls into the Falcon defensive third.
After dominating in the Falcon end for several minutes, Dolva was able to capitalize on a cross from LeAnne Hendren (Belen, N.M.) in the 18th minute. Hendren sent the ball into the box to Dolva from wide right. The junior flicked the ball past Falcon keeper J.J. Wolf on the near post for the score.
The remainder of the game was filled with exciting UNM chances, including one from Laura Hafner (Katy, Texas) in the opening minutes of the second half. Hafner received a ball in front of the net, just a few yards out from the goal line, but sent her shot sailing over the crossbar.
Towards the end of the game a prime opportunity developed when Nicole Pitcock (Stockton, Calif) connected on a cross fired from the right side and sent the ball spinning into the back of the net. Unfortunately the freshman was deemed offside and the goal was not counted.
Despite being scored on early, the Falcons were relentless in their pressure throughout the game, making it difficult for the Lobos to convert any chances.
“Air Force gave it their all tonight,” said head coach Kit Vela. “It was a great game from both teams and I’m really proud of how we did. Making it past Air Force to the second round of the tournament is extremely exciting for us. We’re going to give it all we’ve got tomorrow and leave nothing on the field,” said Vela.
New Mexico's victory was its first in a postseason tournament since defeating BYU, 3-1, in the opening round of the 1995 Western Athletic Conference Tournament. That win advanced the Lobos to the WAC Tournament Championship game, where they fell 2-1 to host San Diego State.
UNM’s Abbie Partch (Albuquerque, N.M.) finished the game with a team-high four shots while Dolva, Longmire, Erchen Theys (Langdorp, Belgium) and Rachael Addison (Tyler, Texas) had two apiece.
New Mexico will take on no. 2 seed Utah tomorrow in semi-final action at 4:30 p.m. Utah defeated no. 7 seed Wyoming earlier today in a close 1-0 match. The Utes’ Shauna Gurr-Bingham recorded the score with only minutes remaining in the game.
The Lobos and Utes played to a scoreless draw last month in Albuquerque. UNM is 1-1-1 in its last three meetings with Utah. The Lobos won, 1-0, at home in 2000, then dropped a 2-0 game in Salt Lake City last year before this season's tie game. The two teams faced each other in the first round of inaugural Mountain West Conference tournament in 1999 with Utah earning a 4-2 victory. !