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UNM's seven graduating seniors were honored prior to kickoff in Thursday's title-clinching draw against San Diego State.

3-Peat: Lobos are MW champions again

by Evan O'Kelly

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Claiming their third straight Mountain West regular-season title on a brisk Thursday night at the UNM Soccer Complex, the University of New Mexico women’s soccer team battled San Diego State University to a 0-0 draw on Senior Night.

The Lobos (7-3-8, 5-1-5 MW) claimed a share of the regular-season title by virtue of their fifth consecutive shutout – a feat the program has not achieved since the 2012 campaign. “We have enough returning players that we know in these moments that some of them are going to rise,” UNM head coach Heather Dyche said. “The key for us is that the players who are new to it also have to step up, and I thought we saw in the second half that a lot of them let go of the inhibition and played.”

The hosts relied on a gritty performance from the back line and another stellar effort from reigning Mountain West Player of the Week Alli Davis between the posts. Senior Karlee Maes helped anchor the defensive unit and was on the winning end of numerous, crucial challenges throughout the 90-minute performance. “San Diego State has great forwards, but I think we were really composed and communicated really well,” Maes said after her 81st career match. “We have a great goalkeeper. Alli is so young but is such a big leader for our team already. I am really proud to see her succeed and to see what else she has to offer in the years she has left.”

Davis had just one save in the opening half, but it was perhaps the most important singular moment of the night as she laid out to her left to knock away a dangerous strike by Aztec striker Denise Castro with 20 seconds to go before halftime. “When it came off her foot, it knuckled,” Dyche commented on the strike by Castro. “For a goalkeeper to step one way and then have to adjust – her athletic ability is unreal. The crazy part is that we have come to expect it from her, because she does it all the time.”

In a first half that was mostly tame, action picked up with several key chances in the final five minutes. The Lobos dodged a bullet just before halftime, when a defensive giveaway led to a prime look towards goal for Castro at the top of the goal box. Her powerful strike fizzed just over the crossbar however, as the match remained scoreless.

The Lobos countered with their best chance of the opening half, when Molly Myers wound up with the ball at her feet inside the six-yard box. Her shot was on frame, but San Diego State goalkeeper Alexa Madueno was there in time to make a smothering stop two minutes before the break. Madueno finished with two saves on the night, and picked up her sixth shutout of the season.

On a night where she led the team with six shots, senior Jadyn Edwards’ first important contribution came on the defensive end, when she nodded away a corner-kick cross in the second minute to prevent an early chance by the Aztecs. The MW leader in scoring was a threat throughout the evening, but the Aztec back line managed to keep her out of the net. Edwards ripped her first shot of the game off target in the 56th minute, and 12 minutes later she stood over a 25-yard free kick as the Aztecs held their breath. Her shot carried over the crossbar however, as San Diego State avoided paying for the dangerous set piece.

While Maes was big all night on her defensive assignments, she had a decent look towards goal 10 minutes into the second half. Her right-footed shot coming off a corner-kick service by Brynn Boeyink carried over the crossbar. Maes’s busy night included an important intervention in the 79th minute, when she stepped in front of her mark to clear a ball in front of an open net in the six-yard box. “Karlee is a big gamer, and she always has been,” Dyche said. “On a night like tonight you know she is going to shine.”

“It was important for us to lock down our defense, and cut peoples’ chances down,” Maes commented after the team pushed its scoreless streak to 493 consecutive minutes dating back to Oct. 9. “I’m super happy with our performance on the back line and with our goalkeeper, and hopefully we can keep doing that.”

New Mexico earned the No. 2 seed into next week’s Mountain West Championships, by virtue of the other results Thursday on the final day of the regular season. University of Wyoming upended Colorado State 4-0 to pull even with UNM at 20 points, and claimed the No. 1 seed by virtue of tiebreakers. San Jose State found a late goal to beat Fresno State 1-0, and matched UNM and UW with 20 points to make it a three-way tie for the regular-season title. “I was really proud of the team, and I could tell this game meant a lot to everyone,” Maes said. “I’m really proud of our effort tonight, and I think this sets us up well for the tournament.”

The Aztecs finished the regular season with a record of 7-5-7, and went 5-3-3 in conference play to earn the No. 5 seed heading into the championship tournament.

SENIOR SENDOFF: Prior to kickoff Thursday, the Lobos’ seven graduating players were honored in a ceremony on the field while being surrounded by their families. UNM’s six active seniors – Edwards, Maes, Mackenna Havenor, Jaelyn Hendren, Leilani Baker, and Alix Hailey – all earned the start in the regular-season finale. “Our success at UNM over the past five years is in large part due to that group,” Dyche commented on the senior class. “For them to walk off this field with another ring is pretty special, but more importantly we just saw the energy, passion, and how much people love them.”

LOBO NOTES: The last time the Lobos posted five consecutive clean sheets was Sept. 16-Oct. 7, 2012, when they won five consecutive matches without allowing a goal…Davis’s shutout was her sixth of the year…UNM is now 10-14-8 all-time against San Diego State and is 6-4-6 in matches played in Albuquerque…UNM is the first Mountain West team to claim three consecutive titles since San Diego State won four in-a-row from 2012-15.

COMING UP: UNM secured a first-round bye in the upcoming Mountain West Championships, as the Lobos will await their opponent in a second-round match scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. The championship, which will be hosted at the UNM Soccer Complex, will begin on Sunday afternoon.

2022 Mountain West Women’s Soccer Championships Schedule

UNM Soccer Complex – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Sunday, October 30

4 PM – No. 4 Seed vs. No 5 Seed

7 PM – No. 3 Seed vs. No. 6 Seed

Wednesday, November 2

4 PM – No. 1 Seed vs. Winner of First Round #1

7 PM – No. 2 Seed vs. Winner of First Round #2

Saturday, November 5

6 PM – Championship Match

 *The winner of the MW Championships earns the conference’s automatic berth into the NCAA Regional Championships.


New Mexico (7-3-8, 5-1-5)                      0  0  –  0
San Diego State (7-5-7, 5-3-3)                0  0  –  0

Scoring Summary

Shots: UNM 19, SDSU 13
Corners: SDSU 7, UNM 2
Saves: UNM 3 (Davis 3), SDSU 2 (Madueno 2)
Fouls: UNM 8, SDSU 8