EDINBURG, Texas - The 2016 season started with a scoreless first half for both UNLV and Fairleigh Dickinson, and then the Rebels scored three of the four second-half goals to earn a 3-1 win.
UNLV (1-0) got two goals from Michaela Morris and one late from Lily Sender. Elma Kolenovic (Manhattan, N.Y./NYC Lab) scored for Fairleigh Dickinson (0-1) from the penalty spot.
"It was the first game for a lot of players and they battled throughout," said head coach Eric Teepe afterward. "I thought we did a good job of creating chances. Once we got the first chance, we realized that we could get more."
Both teams had chances in the first half but each goalie -- Amanda Fitzgerald (Holbrook, N.Y./Sachem East) of Fairleigh Dickinson and Jordan Sallee of UNLV -- made saves when needed. Fitzgerald, who was making her collegiate debut, made three saves in the opening 45 minutes and finished with seven on the night.
Teepe added, "We could have gone up a goal late in the first [half], which would have changed things for us. It was very windy tonight and we played tentatively early on due to the wind. That allowed UNLV to control play early on."
The Knights had three shots in the final 15 minutes of the opening half, one each from Jessi Reinhardt (Friedberg, Germany/Burggymansium), Audrey Butcher(Perkasie, Pa./Pennridge) and Stasi Torchia (Pickering, Ontario/St. Mary's).
Morris gave Rebels the lead with her tally in the 49th minute. Morris got behind the Knight defense and beat Fitzgerald to the left corner.
Kolenovic tied the game less than a minute later on a penalty kick. Daria Jones (Jackson, N.J./Jackson Memorial) was taken down in the box after taking a cross from Kolenovic to earn the penalty attempt.
Jones tried to give Fairleigh Dickinson the lead in the 61st minute but was turned away by Sallee.
Morris added her second goal of the game in the 65th minute off an assist from Isabella Myers.
The Knights brought numbers forward in the closing stages, which allowed UNLV to strike on the counter-attack in the 85th minute from Sender to make it 3-1.
In the closing minutes, the Knights had multiple corners but could not get capitalize. The Rebel defense cleared a ball off the line in the closing stages that would have made it a one-goal game.
Fairleigh Dickinson returns to the pitch on Sunday when they face UTRGV at 12 p.m. ET. Fans can watch live online here.