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Lobo Soccer Earns MWC Regular Season Title in Historic Win over Falcons

by Alma Solis

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The Lobos ended their home schedule with exclamation as they took a 2-1 win over Air Force in a vigorous battle with the Falcons on Sunday afternoon.

With New Mexico’s 2-1 win over Air Force and Fresno State’s 3-0 loss to UNLV today, the Lobos clinched a share of the Mountain West Regular Season Champion title with the Bulldogs. New Mexico also claimed the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Conference Tournament as they won the tiebreaker with their 2-1 win over Fresno State on Oct. 17. The Lobos and Bulldogs’ last matches on Oct. 28 will determine whether the Lobos share the regular season title with the Bulldogs or the Lobos win the title outright.

Along with the excitement of clinching a share of the title, multiple Lobos set significant personal or program records. With today’s start, Alexa Kirton now owns the record for most career games played by a single Lobo with 83 games played, passing Liz Nare (2010-13) and Kelli Cornell (2009-12) who each have 82 games played. Jadyn Edwards is now third in program career records with 60 points through her career, surpassing Gwen Maly (2016-2020) with 57 points and Claire Lynch (2014-17) with 56 points. Edwards is also now tied for third with Jennifer Williams (2008-2011) and Hannah Hand (2005-08) with 18 assists in her career.

With today’s win, Emily Johnson now has 40 career wins, a huge accomplishment for any collegiate goalkeeper. Scoring both Lobo goals in today’s match, Madi Hirschman notched her first career multi-goal game.

In the first half, the game was all about defense. The Lobos kept the Falcons to only three shots with strong counterattacks from defenders like Karlee Maes and Mackenna Havenor.

Although Air Force held tough defensively, the Lobos were able to break through and recorded seven shots in the first half. Edwards once again showcased her ability to get through any opponent’s defense with a strong run in the 44th minute, barely going wide left, but it was Hirschman who delivered about 45 seconds later. Charging past a Falcon defender on the right side of the box, Hirschman then fired the ball across to the left side of the net to put the Lobos up, 1-0, to end the first half.

Air Force picked up the pace in the second half as they fired off eight shots to which New Mexico countered with six shots of their own. Just over ten minutes after scoring her first goal, Hirschman once again delivered for the Lobos to put New Mexico up 2-0. She launched one just under the Falcon’s goalkeeper who came out of the net to halt Hirschman but didn’t quite get there.

After Hirschman’s second goal, the Falcons came out stronger than ever as they fired off seven shots (four on goal) until they found the back of the net in the 85th minute. Johnson was there to make three saves and keep the Falcons from scoring.

Air Force substituted in their Albuquerque native Tatiana Limon, who wasted no time scoring for the Falcons. Limon scored less than two minutes after getting into the match to make the score 2-1, still in favor of UNM. The Lobos continued to fight back as they didn’t allow the Falcons near the net to fire off any more shots for the rest of the match, ultimately taking the 2-1 triumph over Air Force.

Edwards led the Lobos with four shots (two on target) and an assist. Johnson notched five saves and kept the powerful Falcons to one goal. Karlee Maes and Havenor were essential to the Lobos’ backline as they consistently blocked Air Force’s attacks.

Kayla Milford led the Falcons with three shots with one coming on goal, while Tatiana Limon scored Air Force’s lone goal of the match. Cammi Bych notched four saves and allowed two goals.

The match was an even one as the Falcons recorded 11 shots (six on goal) and the Lobos countered with 13 shots (six on goal). Both teams had 14 fouls and two yellow cards each as it was a highly competitive match. Air Force had an advantage in getting corner kicks as they had six, but were not able to produce much from them as New Mexico’s defense was solid through the entire match.

New Mexico improves to 12-4-1 and 7-2-1 in Mountain West play while also holding on to the top spot in the conference standings as Fresno State fell to UNLV, 3-0, on Sunday afternoon. Air Force falls to 6-9-2 overall and 3-6-1 in conference play.

The Lobos face one last battle of the regular season as they hit the road to face the San Diego State Aztecs on Oct. 28 with an 8 p.m. (MT) kickoff time.

To keep up with all things Lobo Soccer, follow @UNMLoboWSoccer on Twitter and Instagram.