Utah State Outlasts New Mexico On Penalty Kicks, Advances To Semifinals

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – After 220 minutes of scoreless minutes of soccer spread out over two matches, a winner was finally decided between Utah State and New Mexico.

The fifth-seeded Aggies, thanks to consecutive saves by goalkeeper Natalie Stoven, rallied past No. 4 and host New Mexico 4-2 on penalty kicks on Nov. 5 at the UNM Soccer Complex to advance to the 2013 Mountain West Women’s Soccer Championship semifinal round.

"It was a fantastic match,” Utah State head coach Heather Cairns said. “Both teams played their hearts out and had a lot of different scoring opportunities, and you know games like that when they're that tight - it's crazy when it goes into a PK shootout. I thought both teams left it all out on the field and I'm certainly happy that we were the fortunate ones to be advancing"

Utah State (10-6-5) will take on top-seeded San Diego State (11-6-2) in Thursday’s second semifinal match at 7 p.m. MT. Boise State (12-6-3), the No. 3 seed, faces No. 2 Fresno State (10-7-2) in the other semifinal. That match gets underway at 4 p.m. MT.

The Aggies took the first attempt in the penalty kick round, which Jennifer Flynn successfully converted. The Lobos’ Elba Holguin followed with a good try, and then the Lobos (8-10-3) took a 2-1 lead when keeper Cassie Ulrich stopped Jayne Robison and Dylann O’Connor scored on her shot.

Stoven took over after that, stopping New Mexico’s Lindsey Guice and Alexis Leyba on consecutive tries, while the Aggies’ Jamie Duke, Sara Lorscheider and Ambryn McCallson each scored to earn the victory.

Both the Lobos and Aggies had a handful of quality scoring chances in regulation and the two overtime periods, but were unable to put a ball over the goal line, setting up the penalty kick round.

"I thought we played hard and well and did the right things,” said New Mexico head coach Kit Vela, whose team played four straight double-overtime matches to end the season. “We just couldn't get the ball in the net during the regular game. PK's are tough when you win and tough when you lose. It's unfortunate."