LAS CRUCES, NM (KTSM) – The New Mexico State women’s soccer team battled but conceded a late goal in a 1-0 loss to Northern Arizona on Sunday afternoon at the Soccer Athletic Complex.
The Aggies (1-5-2) started the game attacking the Lumberjack (3-4-1) back line, with Shea O’Connor and Corey Kizer combining for three shots by the 9th minute. However, the tide quickly turned back to the Lumberjacks as they forced back-to-back saves from Dmitri Fong in the 16th and 17th minutes.
Despite a shot in the 31st minute from Emma Smith that went wide, the Aggies struggled to find scoring opportunities in the first half while Fong added three more saves in the 33rd, 34th and 40th minutes. The rest of the half passed without a major scoring opportunity from either side and they entered the locker room tied 0-0.
NAU started the second half controlling the ball in the midfield and working it into their offensive third, adding two more shots on goal in the 48th and 50th minutes. Then the momentum flipped and NM State began to push the issue with Smith and Hannah Leitner especially effective out wide.
This renewed push for the Aggies led to a shot on goal from Smith in the 52nd that was turned away by Taryn Benham, leading to an NM State corner. On the corner kick, Andrea Ridgely crossed the ball into the box where Katie Martinez connected with a header, but Benham made a leaping stop to keep the game tied.
New Mexico State had another golden opportunity to score but this time, a header from O’Connor in the 68th minute missed wide. After the Aggies conceded a corner kick, NAU’s Kayla Terhune found Kiana Miyazoto who finished to give NAU a 1-0 lead in the 75th minute.
With time winding down, Alexa Barrera received a ball on the left side of the 18-yard box in the 81st minute and made a move to shed her defender. However, Barrera’s shot was saved Benham at the near post. Then, Jess McDow ripped a shot on a free kick in the 82nd minute that made it through the congestion in the box but Benham was again there to make the stop.
Fong made two more saves in the 86th and 87th minutes to keep the Aggies in the game but NM State was unable to find the equalizer and fell 1-0.
New Mexico State posted 13 shots on the afternoon with six of those on goal. Fong made 10 saves, her second-straight match with double-digit saves.
NM State wraps up its non-conference slate with a trip to South Dakota when they take on South Dakota on Thursday, Sept. 26, at 3 p.m. (MT) and South Dakota State on Saturday, Sept. 28, at 11 a.m.