NMSU Women's Soccer Falls 3-2 To UTRGV In Overtime

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The New Mexico State women’s soccer team jumped out to a 2-0 halftime lead but were unable to hold off second-place UT Rio Grande Valley in its final match of the year, ultimately dropping a 3-2 overtime decision on Saturday afternoon at the Soccer Athletic Complex.

“I think we finally learned from some of the games we had in the past and just played a little feistier at the start,” said head coach Rob Baarts. “I don’t know if it’s because our backs were against the wall or if were just a little more relaxed but we just went and played and had a good performance. Of course it helped getting Alexa back, who was out for a few weeks. As much as it hurt to lose the game the way it happened, I feel like the kids recognized something good before the end of the year.”

The Vaqueros (12-5-2, 6-1-1 WAC) had the first chance of the game in the 15th minute but senior Ashley Martin made the save for NM State (2-16, 1-7 WAC) to keep the score 0-0. Martin then made another save in the 17th minute off a shot from UTRGV’s Katherine Stokely.

After a shot from Alexa Barrera missed high, Martin notched saves in the 24th, 28th and 31st minutes. Zorena Hazen almost notched the first goal of the match but the Vaqueros’ Kinga Szemik was there make the save in the 34th minute.

Then, in the 40th minute, Kelly Burton played a cross to Barrera in the box who slipped through two defenders and beat Szemik for her first-career goal to give the Aggies a 1-0 lead. With time winding down in the half, Barrera gained possession and sprinted up field before uncorking a rocket from the left side of the box that went over Szemik and into the far corner for a 2-0 lead with six seconds to play in the half. This was Barrera’s, a freshman from El Paso, Texas, first-career multi-goal game and her first game back from injury since playing 13 minutes at Kansas City on Oct. 7.

After the break, NM State had a corner kick in the 47th minute but Emma Smith’s shot missed high before a Martin save in the 56th. With the Aggies still up by two, Shentatious Knox found Kelzy Jepsen in the box who scored to cut the lead to 2-1 in the 57th minute.

Rebecca Mazzie and Audriana Chavez then missed wide in the 59th and 62nd minutes, respectively, before saves from Martin in the 65th and 68th minutes kept New Mexico State in the lead. However, the Vaqueros would even the score when Emily Zapata knocked in her WAC-best 11th goal of the season in the 76th minute.

Then, Martin made another save in the 81st minute while Chavez missed high in the 89th and the two sides headed into overtime tied 2-2.

After a UTRGV yellow card in the 92nd minute and a shot from Zapata that went wide in the 93rd, the Vaqueros were set up with a free kick at midfield in the 95th minute. Diandra Aliaga was able to get a head on the ball from Tuva Nilsen and knock into the back of the net for the final tally of 3-2.

NM State was outshot 25-12 on the night while putting three shots on goal. UT Rio Grande Valley took five corners to the Aggies’ one while Martin finished the night with a season-high 11 saves.

Meanwhile, Aileen Galicia wraps up her career as NM State’s all-time leading scorer with 26 goals while her 62 points are also first all-time. Galicia also tops the record books in assists (10) and multi-goal games (4). Martin ends her career as the universities all-time leader in saves with 242. Chavez also wrapped up a historic career, her 19 career goals are fourth all-time while her 46 points are also fourth all-time.