New Mexico 1, Fresno State 0 (Match Report)
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Dylann O’Connor scored the game’s only goal five minutes into the second half, and Cassie Ulrich saved a penalty kick less than three minutes later as New Mexico defeated Fresno State to improve to a perfect 2-0 in Mountain West play with a 1-0 win over Fresno State at the UNM Soccer Complex.
O’Connor scored her third of the season, but the first for her since August 30, on a superb individual effort. Ruth Bruciaga sent a ball to O’Connor at the six-yard box, where she had to battle with a defender and a charging Katie DeVault at keeper. O’Connor won the battle of wills and popped a shot that wrinkled the side netting just inside the left post for a 1-0 lead.
That lead looked short-lived when a clearance by Liz Nare took an unfortunate bounce off Morgan Castain, sending her on a breakaway. Brianna Webster came hustling back and as Castain attempted to move around keeper Cassie Ulrich, Webster got tangled up with her, and a penalty kick was called.
Castain took the spot kick, but Ulrich dove to her right and smothered the shot attempt, preserving the 1-0 Lobo lead. Each team had one solid opportunity after that save, but Ulrich dove to deny Castain from the right side in the 65th minute, and DeVault made a nice stop on a one-time rocket from O’Connor at the top of the 18 in the 68th minute.
1. 50:16 NM Dylann O’Connor (3) (unassisted) - Shot from 6 yards out.
Shots: Fresno State 10, New Mexico 12
Saves: Fresno State 3 (Katie DeVault 3), New Mexico 4 (Cassie Ulrich 4)
New Mexico Starters: Ulrich (GK), O’Connor, Guice, Viola, Bruciaga, Leyba, Nare, Holguin, Bri. Webster, Ellison, Espinoza.
First Half Subs: Wheeler (18:32), Olguin (22:26), Ferrier (29:01), Martinez (34:13)
Second Half Subs: Irwin (52:51), Bro. Webster (77:08), Luna (78:05), Trujillo (87:45)
Fresno State Starters: DwVault (GK), Brechman, Bingham, Boynton, Cruz, Castain, Rodriguez, Kret, Nunes, Lindstrom, Holmes
First Half Subs: Holsworth (19:11), Myers (22:26), Cota (38:22), Pearl (38:22), Duff (39:41)
Second Half Subs:
“I thought we did a great job of taking in any obstacle that came in our way and we played with poise and confidence. We are starting to show a little bit more maturity with our young players.”
“I thought (Dylann O’Connor) played exceptionally well, I thought Lindsey Guice played exceptionally well. I thought the combination of Ruth Bruciaga and Madisyn Olguin with outstanding as well.”
“Big PK save. She’s a great keeper, she’s earned a lot of experiences this year as she has told me. I’m real proud of her and the girls have a lot of confidence in her.” – UNM Head Coach Kit Vela.
*The last save of a penalty kick prior to Ulrich’s save was by Kristen Winters in 2002.
*O’Connor now has a team leading seven points. All three of her goals have been unassisted.
*Ulrich lowered her goal against average to 0.89 and earned her fourth shutout of the season.
New Mexico travels to Colorado State for a Sunday afternoon 1 p.m. contest in the first of three round matchups for the Lobos.