SAN DIEGO – San Diego State scored a pair of second-half goals in a matter of 3 minutes, 48 seconds to take the lead and eventually emerge with a 2-1 Mountain West-opening victory over Wyoming Friday night at SDSU Sports Deck.
After allowing a goal to Wyoming’s Annika Clayton in the 30th minute, the Aztecs found themselves playing catch-up through the rest of the first half and into the late stages of the second.
SDSU (3-6; 1-0 Mountain West) shook off a sluggish first half and came out aggressively once play resumed. Mia Root provided the spark with a shot that bounced off the crossbar 65 seconds into the frame and later supplied a laser in the 49th minute, one that Cristina Salazar corralled. A little over four minutes later, Nikolina Musto got into the act with a shot on goal, but that, too, was stopped by Salazar.
The momentum shifted back to the Cowgirls, threatening a handful of times and preventing the Aztecs from finding their groove. Later in the 62nd minute, Laura Fuentes, Phoebe Leitch and Yasmin Ahooja entered the game and the trio sparked the home side, helping SDSU regain the momentum it created in the opening minutes of the second half.
Just over six minutes after the aforementioned substitutions, Chloe Frisch found herself with the ball and sent an arching shot toward the goal from 30 yards out. The bending attempt squeezed just inside the far post for her first goal of 2018. The unassisted goal was scored in the 69th minute.
Then in the 73rd minute, Sarah Broacha came streaking down the left flank and provided a cross to the opposite side. Ahooja, a junior, came barreling down and put a good foot on it, ultimately finding the back of the net for her first career goal.
Wyoming (5-2-2; 0-1 MW) had a couple of good looks down the stretch off corner kicks, but San Diego State was able to provide enough resistance to prevent the visitors from finding the equalizer and put an end to its three-game losing streak.
The Aztecs are unbeaten vs. the Cowgirls in their last six meetings (5-0-1) and improve to 12-0 at home all-time vs. Wyoming.
Gabby English moved into sole possession of second place in the SDSU record book for saves in a career. She needed three to surpass Melanie Vaughn and totaled four against the Cowgirls. She now has 209 career saves.
SDSU has scored eight goals this season and all eight have been scored by different players. Frisch, who joined the list tonight, now leads the team with four points (1 goal, 2 assists).
“It was not our best performance, especially in the first half, but I thought it was a really gritty second half to come from behind, get a win and just fight, even though we were not our best today. I thought there were some individual players that struggled mightily, but still fought hard, especially in the second half. And then there were some players like Phoebe Leitch who came on and sparked us by digging balls out and grinding, trying to win balls. That was a spark for us. As we got a little bit of momentum it was fun to see us come to life late. It was a tough first half, followed by a second half that was actually good for us to get us going with a 1-0 record.” – head coach Mike Friesen
San Diego State boards a flight on Saturday bound for Denver and an hour-long bus ride to Colorado State awaits. The Aztecs and Rams will play on Sunday at noon MT/11 a.m. PT. The contest will air on the Mountain West Network.