Aggie Soccer Falls 2-1 in Double Overtime To Eastern Washington In Season Opener

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The New Mexico State women’s soccer team began the 2015 campaign with a heavily-contested double overtime 2-1 loss at the hands of Eastern Washington on Sunday afternoon at the NM State Soccer Athletic Complex.

The young Aggies (0-1) showed that they will be a team to contend with this season after coming back from a 1-0 deficit in the second half to send the match into overtime and then double overtime before eventually falling to the Eagles (2-0).

“We had a lot great things go well for us today, we had a good rhythm, we were very dangerous at times,” Aggie head coach Freddy Delgado said “I thought our defense held pretty strong. Give a lot of credit to Eastern Washington, they were strong and physical, there a good, well-coached team.”

Junior Gabby Campbell led NM State with three total shots including two shots on goal. But it was a couple of freshmen who would mark the first points of the year for the Aggies as Aileen Galicia scored her first career goal and Sabrina Ruiz received her first career assist.

The shot chart shows how close the match was throughout, as Eastern Washington outshot NM State 20-16 and also only had a couple more shots on goal, 10-8. Another freshman, and Las Cruces native, Rian Nials, played the entire match in the net for the Aggies, finishing with an impressive eight saves.

Another indication of how close the match was played is that both teams were tied with 15 shots at the end of regulation, and each team only had one shot in the first overtime. But unfortunately for the home team, the Eagles had the only four shots of the second overtime, including the final one that came off of Tasha Luu’s foot and found the back of the net to end the match.

NM State, which had six true freshmen in the starting lineup, came out a little nervous to begin the match and immediately saw Eastern Washington, which had won 2-1 over UTEP on Friday, take the first couple of shots on goal, including one that hit the crossbar.

But the Aggies began to rid themselves of the first-match jitters and immediately answered with a couple of shots of their own. Freshman Dominique Rivera had the first shot on goal of the season for NM State in the eighth minute. A couple of minutes later Ruiz took a shot that also hit the crossbar and almost went in.

The match went back-and-forth for the first 30 minutes, but in the 31st minute the Eagles finally broke the scoreless tie with a goal by Emily Bringgold. The Aggies trailed 0-1 heading into the locker room but had more shots on goal, 5-4, than Eastern Washington, led by Campbell who had already marked her two shots on goal.

Although trailing, NM State seemed to start the second half with momentum. In the 53rd minute, Ruiz hit a rocket that bounced off the Eagle goaltender and fell right in front of Galicia, who knotted the match up at one after putting the ball in the net.

In the 79th minute, sophomore and Preseason All-WAC honoree Holly Abdelkader had a chance to put the Aggies up late, but her shot narrowly missed going in and instead hit the crossbar. Fellow sophomore Micaela Milavec corralled the rebound and hit a shot herself, but it went flying high above the net.

That would be the last major chance for either team in regulation as the match went to the first overtime, which did not see much action around the net. The first half of the second overtime was much of the same as two tired teams chased the ball, but finally with under three minutes left Luu hit the game winner on a ball off a free kick just outside the box that the Aggies could not clear.

“All in all, it was a good day for us,” Delgado said. “It’s about playing together, players gaining confidence, gaining experience and preparing for the WAC season. If we continue to get better, which I think we will, if we continue to improve, which I think we will, we’ll be a good team come WAC season.”

NM State now prepares to face I-25 rival New Mexico inside Aggie Memorial Stadium on Wednesday during the inaugural Stadium Classic. It will be the first time the Aggies have played inside the stadium since the 2011 season. Match time is set for 6 p.m.