Lobos rally in the last 10 minutes of each half to put the match far out of reach and Madi Hirschman bags the game-winner
By Chris Walker | Photos: BV Photos
Lobos Women’s Soccer is officially back following the team’s 90-minute tussle with the Rams of Colorado State. The Lobos would end up winning the match 4-1, but this match wasn’t always in the Lobos’ control.
This match against the Rams’ in the 2019 season resulted in a 0-1 loss for the Lobos in overtime. In that match, the Lobos came out on the front foot, but just couldn’t get it done despite the many chances created. The Lobos outshot the Rams 15-13 on the afternoon.
Projected to finish third in the Mountain West Conference, but first overall in their division meant the Lobos would need to secure the victory on the same pitch they suffered a late defeat on.
The initial 30 minutes of the first half belonged to Colorado State. The Lobos took some low-percentage shots that amounted to a rapid change of possession. This ultimately allowed the Rams’ forwards and midfielders to transition with ease from their defense into the attack because they played the ball indirectly up the pitch connecting pass after pass.
The Rams relied on the give-and-go technique to secure lanes towards the Lobos’ netminder, Emily Johnson. Johnson was huge on the day facing 12 shots with 9 being on goal and she made 3 saves. Play wasn’t pretty in the beginning as the Lobos turned the ball over constantly allowing the Rams to set up their attack instantly. The Rams’ first goal came together in the 22nd when Johnson set out to play the ball up towards her backline and Colorado State’s Liv Layton stepped into the passing lane to intercept the ball. Layton played it to Gracie Armstrong, who secured the first goal in the match and put the Lobos down 0-1.
It was Johnson’s first match back between the sticks after being sidelined much of the 2019 season with an injury. Her teammates only had to wait 482 days to play, but for Johnson, the time was so much longer.
Colorado State not only dominated on the attack early in the match, but they also activated somewhat of a high press to force the Lobos to play the ball on the ground out of their defending half. There was no rhythm for the Lobos and it showed.
Going down 0-1 in the first 25 minutes had to be a bit of a wake-up for the Lobos. In the 2019 season, the Lobos averaged 1.45 goals per game and opponents averaged 1.20 goals per game.
Into the 32nd, Head Coach Heather Dyche would switch the pitch by subbing out Leilani Baker out with Gwen Maly. This served as a pivotal part of the match because the Lobos were starting to mount some offense in Ram’s defending half.
The Lobos would eventually find their equalizing goal in the 41st minute as Paige Satterlee sent a deflected rebound back into the scrum of Rams’ and Lobos’ players hanging around the lip of the goal box. Maly was able to get a boot on it to stop rotation and shuttle it in past Rams goalkeeper Amelia Hammerle. In the 42nd minute, Maly won the 50/50 ball and sent a square ball to Madi Hirschman, who had no difficulty putting the game-winning goal past Hammerle from 20 yards out.
In 2019, the Lobos out-scored opponents 16-11 in the first half. It continues to be the case in 2021. The Lobos returned 7 starters only losing two starters from the 2019 roster so there’s great continuity on the pitch.
The second half belonged to the Lobos. The Rams would continue to pressure the hinges, but the Lobos staved off any more threat by notching a pair of goals in the 85th and 89th minutes by Alesia Garcia and Leilani Baker. Garcia’s goal was the result of her footwork. She dribbled in traffic and created a screen on Hammerle using Rams defenders. Baker’s goal is just something out of the ordinary. It starts with a throw-in to Jadyn Edwards, who immediately sends one out in front of Baker as she’s bolting up the pitch. Baker secures the ball in the onion bag.
The Lobos finished with 24 shots with 7 on goal and 4 goals. The Lobos are now 7-1-0 all-time against Colorado State.
Wild start to the match, but the Lobos prevailed and come away 1-0 in the Mountain West Conference.
Lobos will play University of Wyoming at 1:00 pm MT at Madrid Sports Complex. Live stream link: golobos.com/watch