SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – In a defensive battle on Sunday afternoon at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium, the New Mexico women's soccer team came out on top, defeating UC Santa Barbara, 1-0.
With the loss, UCSB falls to 2-3-1 on the season while New Mexico improves to 3-1-2.
The Lobos used a free kick in the 73rd minute to seal the win. Jennifer Williams launched the ball into the box from 35 yards out on the right side and Shelbie Luna was able to head it towards Roxie McFarland, who was just outside the left post. The senior shot the ball to upper left hand corner of the Gauchos' goal for the eventual gamewinner.
The contest was tightly contested throughout with New Mexico leading the shot count, 9-6.
UCSB had the first shot on-frame with 7:24 to go during the first half. Allie Ariniello passed the ball to Indiana Mead who shot it to the right side, but goalkeeper Kelli Cornell made an impressive diving save to hold off the Gauchos. It would turn out to be UCSB's only shot on-goal during the contest.
With just one minute remaining in the first half, it was time for Gaucho goalkeeper McKenna Henry to provide some heroics of her own. Elizabeth Nare got the ball about 18 yards out where to she sent a low liner towards the right hand post of the UCSB goal. Henry dove to her left where she was able to cover the loose ball and maintain the 0-0 stalemate.
It was not long into the second period that Henry made her second save of the game as she blocked a shot from Williams on the left side of the goal. She ended the game with three saves.
Following the Lobos' goal, UCSB controlled the tempo during the remainder of the game, but could only manage to get off a pair of shots that sailed high and wide.
"It was just a tale of two halves," head coach Paul Stumpf said. "We couldn't put anything together in the first half. We didn't put enough pressure on them, we weren't clean with the skills, and we weren't fast on the ball. And the (New Mexico) coaches got on them and told the team that they needed to track and pass. I mean, we couldn't make a mess out there.
"So we took them in at halftime and told them that and they came out and played a second half that was so much better. As disappointed as I was about the result, I really enjoyed the way we were playing in the second half. And I am encouraged that the team found that they could play hard on a Sunday after a Friday game."
GKids is the official kids club of UCSB Athletics available to kids in eighth grade or younger. Members receive the official 2011-12 GKids t-shirt, Olé's Coloring Book and Guide for Being a Gaucho, entry into every regular season soccer, basketball, baseball, softball and volleyball game, and much more! To sign up today, click here.