University of New Mexico Lobos defeated Air Force Academy 2-0 to move within one victory of winning the Mountain Division
By Chris Walker
University of New Mexico Lobos defeated the Air Force Academy Falcons 2-0 Friday afternoon at Cadet Soccer Stadium. Alexa Kirton (Assist by Gwen Maly, Cami Floth) scored the game-winner in the 21st minute and Alesia Garcia (Assist by Brynn Boeyink) notched her sixth goal of the season.
One week removed since the Lobos’ last outing and they return to their season-long form showcasing their ability to dominate the attack and win balls in the middle third. During the first half of play, the Lobos had the front foot on nearly every ball that traveled in Air Force’s defending half.
Falcons forward Faith Lee tested Lobos goalkeeper Emily Johnson early in the match with crossbody strikes. Johnson was able to stop these chances by having some distance from Lee’s point of attack.
Her teammate, goalkeeper Cammi Bych, came off her line to break up some set piece activity and retrieve balls before Lobos players got to them. This is very much similar to how Utah State’s keeper Diera Walton played against the Lobos. Bych had such a big presence in tgis match.
There were some near-goal opportunities by Garcia and Jadyn Edwards in the half. Any sort of change of possession in favor of the Falcons was very quickly reversed by the Lobos’ defensive efforts.
The Lobos were able to convert their time of possession when Karlee Maes sent a cross into the box that ended up on the boot of Kirton. The ball dropped and Maly recovered the second ball sending it to Floth. Floth put the ball right out in front of Kirton.
The second half presented as many opportunities for the Lobos as the first. Even at the point that it looked like the Lobos were icing the game, they surprisingly played the ball forward as though they were looking for their third goal on the day. Maly was on the end of most of these balls as she looked to come away with a goal in addition to her assist. Though, she wouldn’t end up scoring a goal this time around.
Floth and Edwards continue to be instrumental in the Lobos’ success. Floth took a shot (10 shots overall, 3 on goal) and exited with an assist. Edwards took 3 shots (21 shots overall, 5 on goal) with 1 being on goal. She also sent many through balls to her teammates in dangerous spaces.
Johnson records her second clean sheet. It was no easy feat as she left her feet on her save efforts to stop balls from sailing in top shelf.
Johnson has played in four matches that have resulted in clean sheets. She would have 4 clean sheets, but since she was subbed out in two matches with just a few minutes left, she does not earn two of the clean sheets as personal statistics, and instead, they are recorded as team-earned clean sheets.
Still, that didn’t stop the Mountain West Conference from recognizing her as Defensive Player of the Week.
Each of the Falcons goalkeepers conceded a goal in this match.
Kirton’s goal was scored against Falcons goalkeeper, Bych. Maly passed to Floth, who in turn found Kirton outside the eighteen and Kirton fires a low-powered shot from distance through traffic as Bych couldn’t stop it.
Bych managed to injure herself while clearing a ball out of bounds. It was a questionable clearance as there was only one player from New Mexico in the area.
Backup keeper Sydney Davis would come in to replace her.
Within moments of doing so, Davis conceded a goal scored by Garcia. Garcia was fed the ball by Boeyink and Garcia showed left, but went right to the far side post.
Lobos Head Coach Heather Dyche spoke with Seek & Strike Collective on Thursday morning and spoke about the encouraging message she had for her team. “The message was getting back to being us. We win games because we compete. We win games because we outwork people and we out hussle people and we didn’t do that in Utah State. We had to have a reset on making sure we stayed focused on the things that make us special. That was our focus this week is getting back to being us,” Dyche said.
The Lobos took 16 shots on the afternoon with 8 being on goal. This time around they manage to finish their chances after going scoreless last week against Utah State. The Falcons were held to just 7 shots with 3 being on goal.
The Lobos continue to move forward with pack mentality. They have now outscored opponents 19-2 through 7 appearances.
Lobos improve to 6-1 MWC, 6-1 overall. Air Force drop to 2-5 MWC, 2-5 overall. The Lobos can seal the Mountain Division and earn a berth into the MWC Championship match, played on April 17, if they secure a win at Colorado College on Sunday.