Redshirt Senior Forward, Gwen Maly shares why she is making the most out of this season
By Seek & Strike Collective | Photo: UNM Lobos
University of New Mexico Redshirt Senior Forward Gwen Maly has already made an impact on the Lobos’ delayed 2020 season. She is ranked second in goals scored in the Mountain West doing so in 3 matches while other players in the conference have as many goals as Maly, but they have played more matches. She is currently ranked first in total points with 7 through 3 matches.
Maly’s time in on the pitch has kickstarted her Lobo teammates too. She has entered the match after 30 minutes each match. New Mexico Head Coach Heather Dyche doesn’t refer to players as substitutes but rather calls them game-changers. Maly has impacted each match with her presence.
Seek & Strike Collective interviewed Maly by email after the Lobos’ return to New Mexico with a pair of wins from their season-opening road trip.
SS: You have been on full tilt through two matches this season, can you talk about the mental aspects of getting back on your feet after a year of being out from the ACL tear? What all is motivating you at this point?
Maly: Friday was exactly one year after I had ACL surgery. Last year when I found out I had torn my ACL, I expected it to be the end of my college career. It was a special feeling being able to play on the day I had ACL surgery one year before. There were a lot of emotions that came with playing for the first time in over a year, but I primarily felt grateful for the opportunity to play again. I feel so much joy being able to represent New Mexico for one final season and to be able to do so alongside some of my closest friends. I think our unity and trust in each other make our team hard for opponents to overcome. My focus this season has been to enjoy the opportunity to play. My primary motivation has been to work hard for my teammates and enjoy the experience, and I think that will bring us success.
SS: Talk about the header goal that was called off that you were apart of, as far as, the creative thinking going into scoring goals with this team.
Maly: As a team going into the game, we knew that Wyoming planned to try to rattle our team with their physicality and with the difficult game conditions in Wyoming. In the play with the header goal called off in the first half, it was difficult to not get emotional over the goal called back, but we tried to stay composed, play to our strengths, and be ready for the next opportunity. I think our composure helped us be successful in a difficult environment to play in.
SS: After you scored the goal in Wyoming, for a moment it appeared you didn’t know whether to just run back up the pitch to get on defense or hit the sideline to celebrate the goal. What were you feeling right at that moment?
Maly: After the goal, I heard Emily Johnson, calling me over to the sideline to come to celebrate the goal. The amazing support our team has for each other makes our team a fun environment to play in.
SS: Moments after you charged the sitting ball to score you had 2 more chances to score goals. It seemed like you were having a day. It just seems like you’re in the right place all the time. Talk about that.
Maly: I have had the chance to play with many of our offensive players for multiple seasons now (Lani, Jadyn, Alesia, Madi to name a few). We have a good understanding of each other’s play styles and where to be to best support each other. Even with a few months off, our offense has a good understanding of how to use each other’s strengths to be successful. I think our offense is difficult for teams to defend because each player on our team brings a different strength, Lani with her speed, Alesia with her finishing, and Eliza with her grit. We have been successful in pulling the teams defense out of shape and then finding the open player.
Thank you for your time Gwen and UNM Women’s Soccer for coordinating this interview.