University of New Mexico Lobos Women’s Soccer closed out their 10-match regular season with a 2-0 win over the Colorado State Rams on an early Sunday afternoon at UNM Soccer Complex.
By Chris Walker
The Lobos recorded their seventh clean sheet of the season with Malia Vanisi at the helm netminding. This was Vanisi’s second start of the season. She has a 1.000 Save Percentage. Lobos Head Coach Heather Dyche was able to rest primary goalkeeper Emily Johnson, who has played in eight consecutive matches and boasts a .897 Save Percentage and 0.38 Goals Against Average.
The Lobos took control of this match within the first minute of play when Gwen Maly rocketed a shot into the top shelf as she was falling towards the ground. Jadyn Edwards and Alesia Garcia were credited with the assist.
In the first meeting between the Rams and the Lobos, the Rams went up 1-0 after 20 minutes. It was Maly who brought her team level with the Rams just before the first half had expired.
Garcia had passed to Edwards, who tried to split the Rams defenders in front of her. Edwards shuttled the ball to Maly, who fired off the surefire shot while she was off-balanced. The Lobos have had a spell with skying shots off of and over the crossbar through the weekend. Valiant attempts nonetheless, worthy of mentioning.
Maly loves being by the goal and knows how to score off-balanced, with her head, off the first bounce, and from long range. She’s back in a familiar place with a 2-match scoring streak. It’s a good time for her to have this form heading into next week’s Mountain West Conference Championship. Maly continues to make the most out of a season that wasn’t promised.
Colorado State still found themselves in this match reverting to a high press in the Lobos defending half. They managed to win the ball away from the Lobos and get some looks in on goal. The Lobos were trying to reverse the effect and get up the pitch, but the Rams stepped into lanes to keep the Lobos trapped.
Just as soon as the Lobos could switch the pitch, they weren’t able to play the ball centrally because the Rams favored that zone. Balls were played to the right lane where Edwards was located. Garcia made some runs up the left channel, but no balls were sent her way. When she was subbed out, she seemed frustrated that she wasn’t seen by her teammates. She made some ensuing runs that put her in dangerous spaces.
The score was 1-0 at Half Time.
Five minutes into the second half the Lobos were on the attack looking for an insurance goal. Part of a dominant run of form in the Rams defending half, Lobos defender Jaelyn Hendren put the moves on her marker and found freshman midfielder Natalie DeGagne on the other end to send her a pass for the easy tap in.
This put the Lobos up 2-0.
The Rams attempted to clear the ball out of their end, but the Lobos would repeatedly intercept one of the last balls to keep possession in their favor. It was menacing for the Rams because there wasn’t anything they could do to stave off the effort. Until Dyche started resting her starters and putting in her reserves so they could get minutes of experience.
This is one of the keys to success for Dyche. She builds up her players in critical matches and they learn how to defend a lead. This is exactly what the last 30 minutes of the match resembled. It was a chance for fans to see the next class play as well.
The Lobos won 4 out of their last 5 matches and each match was a test for them defensively. Many of the matches had a 0-0 first half, which kept them hungry, but as soon as they found an opening they pounced on it. The Lobos finished the Regular Season with a one-loss record, which is currently the best record in the Mountain West Conference. In the Preseason, the Coaches projected the Lobos to finish third to the Boise State-San Diego State duo.
The Lobos (9-1) host San Diego State (8-2) for the MWC Championship on Saturday, April 17, 2021