By Jim HilleyLas Cruces Bulletin
For the second straight year, the New Mexico State University women’s soccer team lost a tough 1-0 overtime decision to the rival University of New Mexico Lobos Sunday, Aug. 25, this time at the NMSU soccer complex.
Even though the result was the same, Aggie coach Blair Quinn said this year’s overtime loss was different.
“This year, we felt we were good enough to beat them and maybe should have,” Quinn said Tuesday, Aug. 27. “We had opportunities. We just didn’t put them away.
“I don’t think really that’s been the case the last couple of years. We were just trying to fight to be in the game.”
Neither team could take advantage of their opportunities through regulation play, but a yellow card call on NMSU Samantha Sandoval – one of nine players on the Aggie roster from Albuquerque – gave the Lobos a chance to make the winning play.
“It was a foul,” Quinn said. “I don’t think it was a yellow card. She grabbed her shirt and got on the wrong side of her. It was kind of a ticky-tacky one, a cheap one, but, I can’t argue with them blowing the whistle.
Quinn said the yellow card stopped the clock and gave the Lobos the chance to set up the winning play.
“The girl (Dylann O’Connor) struck the free kick well,” Quinn said, “but everything that happened on the back side of that, we made mistakes.
“We lost track of a couple of runners, they got through the box and ended up screening our goalkeeper (Jessica Schutter), and that in turn caused our goalkeeper to freeze a bit on the initial shot.
“It is what it is and it’s already done.”
The Aggies’ ability to go toe-to-toe with UNM should give the Aggies the confidence they were lacking last year.
“This is the first year that we felt, quite frankly, we not only good enough to win the game but that we were good enough to beat them,” Quinn said.
After scoring three goals in NMSU’s season opening victory over Nebraska Omaha on Friday, Aug. 23, Quinn said part of the reason the Aggies failed to score on Sunday was the players hesitancy to take the shot.
“I think sometimes (the players) were trying to make the extra pass when they should have been a little more greedy and gone to the goal,” he said.
“That wasn’t a game where there were a lotof opportunities either way, I think they had seven shots and we had five. That was just one of those old-school midfield battles where every shot you get is at a premium and they got the last one unfortunately.”
Quinn said he was pleased with attendance at both of the Aggies’ opening weekend games.
“It was awesome, the whole weekend, even Friday’s game it was good,” he said. “We were happy with Friday and Sunday was awesome. It was a really fun atmosphere to play in.
“Hopefully the overtime loss won’t dishearten the fans and keep them from coming back. Our girls were really happy with it and thought it was really fun. It makes it easier to play that hard, especially when there are moments when you think things are down a little bit.”
The Aggies travel to play in the UNLV Nike Tournament at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30, against Long Island University-Brooklyn and at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 1, against Portland State.
“I don’t know that either of those teams will be as athletic as the Lobos,” Quinn said, “but I think they could be every bit as good of a soccer team. LIU won their conference tournament last year and went to the NCAA tournament. Portland State was regular season co-champs of their conference so the quality is there.”
The Aggies’ next home game is Friday, Sept. 6, when they host Stephen F. Austin on the first day of their home tournament.
Layla Todd races upfield with the soccer ball during the New Mexico State University match against the University of New Mexico Sunday, Aug. 25, at the NMSU Soccer Complex.
The Lobos won the match in overtime 1-0.
Las Cruces Bulletin photo by Jim Hilley
After a free kick near at the end of overtime Sunday, Aug. 25, the University of New Mexico Lobos score the winning goal with 39 seconds to play in sudden-death overtime to defeat the Aggie 1-0 in overtime for the second straight year.
Las Cruces Bulletin photo by Jim Hilley