Aggie Soccer Notches 2-1 Victory Over Jacksonville State

Mary Kate KoziolThe New Mexico State soccer team notched their first victory of the 2010 season with a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Jacksonville State in the Hotel Encanto Aggie Classic on Friday night.

After giving up a goal in the second minute, the Aggie defense was airtight for over the final 88 minutes which allowed the Aggies' potent offense to get win the match for them. "After that happens, that's an easy time to fold," said Coach Needham. The Aggie offense would outshoot Jacksonville State 29-11 including a 17-6 advantage in the second half, during which the Aggies scored their two goals. "Last season we saw a lot of 29's get put up against us. I was real pleased with that [tonight]," said Coach Needham.

Mary Kate Koziol scored the Aggies' first goal knotting the match at 1-1 in the 47th minute off an assist from Crystal Burns. "Mary Kate's goal is a goal she scores in training at least once a training," said Coach Needham. "She got a ball at the top of the box and was just able to get herself free and she just doesn't miss from there." The assist was Crystal Burns' second assist of the season, her first coming in the Aggies' season opener against Montana. It's also her program leading fifth assist. "Last year Crystal would have just taken that 1v1 and we've had a lot of conversations with Crystal about assists being just as good as goals," said Coach Needham. "She made that happen. She drew a defender to herself, she played it to Mary Kate and Mary Kate just stepped up and scored it."

Sophomore forward Yollie McMillion gave the Aggies the lead in the 65th minute with her second goal of the season and fifth of her young career. "Typical Yollie working hard and ends up on a ball and kind of whips the ball to the back post," said Coach Needham. "It's a tricky ball, it's one of those ones that we call a shot. It's a cross that's hit to the back post and ends up going in. There's not many goal keepers that would have saved that." For McMillion, four of her five goals have gone on as the winning goal in the match while her other goal, last weekend, was the eventual match-tying goal.

Redshirt freshman Mikaela Bitner was solid once again coming up with three saves in each half and has been an impenetrable wall in the second half of matches this season having not given up a goal in the final 45 minutes of either match. "She stops shots and she keeps you in the game," said Coach Needham. "I think her game management has been good which going into the year, that was the concern but I think she's doing a good job of managing the game as a young goalkeeper." Needham added, "She's making big saves when she's called upon. I'm very happy with Mikaela and the team's very happy with Mikaela and that's the important thing."

Jacksonville State played two goal keepers as Katelyn Geddings played in the first have and recorded one save while Ali Koenig played in the second half and recorded eight saves but allowed the two Aggie goals. The Aggies finished with nine corner kicks, eight in the second half while Jacksonville State had just three corner kicks, one in the first half and two in the second half.

On the night, the Aggies outshot Jacksonville State 29-11 recording a 12-5 advantage in the first half and a 17-6 advantage in the second half. The Aggies were credited with 11 shots on goal while Jacksonville State had seven shots on goal. "Sometimes you look at shots and you go, "Well they were just launching shots from anywhere and everywhere and nothing was on frame and you weren't dangerous, you were just whacking shots from 30 yards." But we hit the crossbar twice, we hit a post once, balls that don't count as shots, we had three or four balls that went right across the face of the goal," said Coach Needham of the shot disparity. "We're going to score those in a couple weeks. We were pretty dangerous tonight. It was fun to watch."

"We played the best soccer we've played as a program to this point and that's exciting."

The Aggies finish the Hotel Encanto Aggie Classic on Sunday when they host Prairie View A&M at 1:30 p.m. MT.