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Wolf Down: Lobos Must Stay Composed Against A Hungry Nevada Wolfpack

New Mexico has to address Nevada’s Gabby Brown to dominate the match.

By Chris Walker | Photo: BV Photos!

University of New Mexico Lobo Soccer (5-4-0, 1-1-0)  is hosting University of Nevada Wolfpack Soccer (2-7-0, 1-1-0) in the 2019 edition of Pack the Pitch Night at UNM Soccer Complex. The Lobos and Wolfpack are 1-1-0 in Mountain West Conference play and this meeting is one shy of a dozen in the head-to-head series. The Lobos own the series with 8 wins, 1 loss, and 1 draw.

The Wolfpack are looking to snap the Lobos 8-match win streak in the series. They’ll look to do it with the effort of freshman midfielder Gabby Brown, who currently leads all Wolfpack women with 3 Goals, 44 shots with 14 being on frame. She is averaging 73 minutes a match and has seen an increase in her minutes in the last three matches. Brown has scored a goal in each of the last two matches including a game-winner in Nevada’s 1-0 victory over Utah State. On the other end of the pitch, sophomore goalkeeper Kendal Stovall will try to shutdown the Lobos scoring threat. Stovall has a save percentage of 83%. She has 49 saves and has only allowed 1 goal per match.

The Lobos have 5 players who have scored 2 goals this season. They have outscored opponents 11 to 6. As a team, the Lobos have taken 131 shots while holding their opponents to a combined total of 88 shots. Sophomore Jadyn Edwards has 2 goals and 2 assists for the Lobos. Junior Leilani Baker has 64% shots on goal percentage making impact on 11 of her 17 shots. Baker’s success is partly due to her speed on and off the ball, as well as, her defensive prowess to force defenders to make poor decisions while in possession of the ball.  Lobos Jessie Hix, Alesia Garcia, Gwen Maly, Maysa Walters, and Baker make up the 5 game-winner goals so far in 2019.

The Lobos will have to outlast the Wolfpack who will be stepping onto the pitch after their huge overtime victory over Utah State. Keys to victory for the Lobos will be to make solid decisions in possession and to stay present while on defense. The Lobos have dominated on the team sheet in each of their matches, but not always come away as winners and this is due to keeping their composure.

“For us, its about composure,” states Head Coach Heather Dyche. “We, sometimes, when the pressure of the game gets high, we tend to kind of withdraw or hesitate and we’re not a good team when we hesitate.”

The Wolfpack dropped their Mountain West opener to Boise State Broncos 2-1 and have been the only team to really give them a scare coming into conference play. The Lobos are projected to finish 3rd meanwhile Boise State is projected to finish first and the Wolfpack is projected to finish last.

The Lobos are responding well to surmounting pressure. They are learning to attack this adversity as a team. Last weekend, the Lobos dropped their Mountain West opener 1-0 to Colorado State University even though they had outshot CSU 15-13. The Lobos bounced back two days later and defeated University of Wyoming 3-0.

“We worked a lot in between the two games just talking about how to deal with pressure,” states Dyche. “And how to deal with situations where you feel it to take a deep breath and to do it together and stay in it as a team. I thought we did it much better Sunday (against Wyoming) than we did on Friday (against Colorado State).

Tonight’s match starts at 7pm at the UNM Soccer Complex. Tonight’s ticket price is $2.00 dollars for entry and the first 50 students will get special edition Lobo T-shirts.

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