LAS CRUCES, N.M. – For the first time in program history, NM State soccer played host to a Power Five program. While the final result didn’t reflect the competitiveness of the match, the Aggies fed off the energy provided by nearly 1,000 fans to push a tough Arizona State squad while also having to deal with being a woman down for most of the contest.
NM State (1-2-0, 0-0 CUSA) fought tooth and nail to keep Arizona State (2-0-1, 0-0 Pac-12) off the scoreboard for nearly 60 minutes. After going ahead 1-0 in the first half, NM State allowed the Sun Devils to score four goals to drop the match by a final score of 4-1.
On Thursday night at the NM State Soccer Complex, the Aggies finished the match ahead of the Sun Devils in corner kicks (5-3), however, ASU outshot the Aggies 14-11 with shots on goal also in favor of the visitors 7-4.
Arizona State quickly earned their first opportunity of the game when Gabi Rennie put a ball on frame – allowing freshman keeper Karolanne Lafortune to collect her first save of the season just 49 seconds into the first start of her young career as an Aggie.
Perhaps the most pivotal moment in the match came in the 31st minute of action as sophomore forward Sydnee Johnson was sent off after she was given a surprising straight red card just moments after earning the Aggies a free kick near the Sun Devils’ box.
Down to just 10 players, NM State persevered and outshot the Sun Devils 6-0 across the ensuing seven minutes of play. The sixth and final shot of this stretch came off the foot of Bianca Chacon who found an opening on the bottom right corner of the goal to record her first goal of the season. This would turn out to be the lone goal scored for either side during the first 45 minutes of play as NM State carried a 1-0 lead into the break.
The Sun Devils found success early in the second half as Enasia Colon scored the equalizer at the 59:20 mark of the game. This would also go down as Colon’s first of two goals on the night.
The Aggies began to feel the weight of the unbalanced numbers in the second half as Arizona State’s offensive pressure led to a goal with just over 10 minutes left on the clock to hand ASU a 2-1 advantage.
All hope of an Aggie comeback disappeared when a strike off Colon’s right foot put the Sun Devils in front 3-1. Three minutes later, ASU broke through once again to score the final goal of the evening.
NUMBERS OF NOTE
- After entering the game as an attacker versus Texas Tech on Sunday, Karolanne Lafortune earned the first start in goal of her career. The Canadian goal keeper finished the night with three saves.
- Coming off a sophomore campaign in which she scored five goals, Bianca Chacon tallied her first goal of the 2023 season while also tying a career high in shots taken (4).
- The red card shown to Sydnee Johnson was the first time an Aggie had received a straight red since Oct. 6, 2019, when Jordan Gregory was sent off in a home bout versus California Baptist.
NM State continues its weekend home stand as they welcome Cal State Fullerton on Sunday, Aug. 27, at 1 p.m. The Titans will come to Las Cruces after falling 2-1 at New Mexico on Thursday night. They will also be in search of their first win of the season as they currently hold an 0-2-1 record on the year.