Lobos' MWC Title Run Continues With 1-0 Win Over Utah
PROVO, Utah -- Junior forward Marte Dolva chipped in her second-straight game-winning goal and sophomore goalkeeper Kristen Winters led another stifling defensive performance as the No. 3 seed University of New Mexico shut down the second-seeded University of Utah, 1-0, in this evening's second round game of the Mountain West Conference Women's Soccer Tournament.
The scoreless first half saw both teams jockey for possession rights with neither team having complete control over the flow of the game. Michelle Longmire (Los Alamos, N.M.) continued her aggressive, determined style of play, causing problems for the Utes on the flanks and around the goal. Lobo defender Clare Pollock (West Vancouver, B.C.) controlled the air game for New Mexico (12-7-1) and made it nearly impossible for the Utes (12-3-3) to get any quality chances off of crosses or corner kicks.
The game shifted in New Mexico's direction in the 70th minute when junior Marte Dolva pressured Utah defender, Maren Harper, just outside the 18-yard box and forced a turnover. Dolva looked up and saw keeper Courtney Hills-McBeth out of position and placed a perfect chip just over her outstretched hands. The goal was Dolva's seventh of the season and second-straight, after she scored the game-winner in yesterday's 1-0 defeat of Air Force.
With twenty minutes remaining in the game, the Lobos were on the defensive but still managed to generate dangerous offensive opportunities, including a cross from Longmire that Coco D'Angelo (Mission Viejo, Calif.) was inches away from connecting on.
MWC Goalkeeper of the Year, Kristen Winters, made several outstanding saves in the final minutes, including a stop that prevented the Utes from equalizing. In the 92nd minute Winters was faced with a scramble in front of the net that blocked her vision of the ball. Utah's Shauna Gurr-Bingham was able to get away from the crowd and fire a shot from only a few yards. Winters dove, got a hand on the ball and pushed it just wide of the left post. The sophomore ended the game with six saves, bringing her current total to 91, and moved atop the UNM single-season record book with her 10th shutout of the year.
The win marks the first time in seven years that the Lobos have been a part of a conference championship match. The last time was in 1995 when New Mexico played San Diego State in the WAC finals and lost 2-1. Since joining the MWC in 1999, the Lobos had yet to advance past the the first round of the conference championships until yesterday when they defeated Air Force 1-0.
New Mexico will play three-time defending champ BYU, who throttled San Diego State 9-2 on Thursday night, on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 12 p.m. at South Field on the campus of Brigham Young University.!