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Leilani Baker scored the game-winning goal in the 99th minute of UNM's 1-0 victory over San Jose State the last time the teams met in the playoffs on Nov. 5, 2019 in Boise, Idaho. The squads will square off for the seventh time in the postseason on Wednesday night.

Preview: Lobos face Spartans in MW semifinal match

by Evan O'Kelly

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The UNM Soccer Complex will be buzzing on Wednesday night, as the University of New Mexico women’s soccer team takes on San Jose State University in a semifinal matchup at the 2022 Mountain West Championships.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. under the lights, with tickets available for purchase online here and live coverage for the match available online here.

“I’m really proud of our team for winning another championship, and they have had to fight and claw for every result we’ve gotten,” said UNM head coach Heather Dyche, who leads her team into the playoffs for the seventh time in her eight-year tenure. “We have a huge game tomorrow night, and the goal now is to make sure this is a home field advantage and that Albuquerque shows up and cheers on these women as they fight for another title.”

The Lobos and Spartans, who have a storied postseason history, shared the 2022 MW regular-season title with Wyoming, which will take on San Diego State in the first semifinal match of the day at 4 p.m. The winners on Wednesday will meet in the Mountain West championship match, scheduled for 6 p.m. on Saturday.

2022 Mountain West Women’s Soccer Championships Schedule

UNM Soccer Complex – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Sunday, October 30

4 PM – No. 5 Seed San Diego State 0, No. 4 Seed Utah State 0 (SD State 19-18 on penalty kicks)

7 PM – No. 3 Seed San Jose State 1, No. 6 Seed Colorado College 0

Wednesday, November 2

4 PM – No. 1 Seed Wyoming vs. No. 5 Seed San Diego State

7 PM – No. 2 Seed New Mexico vs. No. 3 Seed San Jose State

Saturday, November 5

6 PM – Semifinal winners

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

A FAMILIAR PLAYOFF FOE: Wednesday will be the seventh meeting between San Jose State and New Mexico in the playoffs, and the first since the Lobos knocked off the Spartans 1-0 in overtime on Nov. 5, 2019 at the Mountain West quarterfinals. It was UNM’s first victory in the postseason against San Jose State, who is 3-1-2 all-time against the Lobos in the playoffs. Each team has advanced once on penalty kicks in the two postseason ties.

It will be the third time the teams have met in the Mountain West semifinals, with UNM advancing on PKs 5-3 after a 2-2 tie on Nov. 2, 2017 and San Jose State advancing on PKs 3-2 after a 1-1 tie on Nov. 5, 2015. “San Jose State has been a huge rival of ours for awhile now, and we have a lot of respect for them – they have a very good team,” Dyche said. “It’s going to be a great game tomorrow night.”

San Jose State vs. New Mexico – All-Time Playoff Results

Date Location Result Notes
11-5-19 Boise, ID UNM 1-0 (OT) Mountain West Quarterfinals
11-3-18 San Jose, CA SJSU 1-0 Mountain West Championship
11-2-17 Las Vegas, NV T 2-2 (UNM 5-3 PKs) Mountain West Semifinals
11-5-15 San Diego, CA T 1-1 (SJSU 3-2 PKs) Mountain West Semifinals
11-5-97 San Jose, CA SJSU 2-0 WAC Opening Round
11-7-96 San Jose, CA SJSU 3-1 WAC Opening Round

The Lobos, who claimed their third straight MW regular-season title, are in search of their third tournament title and second in-a-row after claiming last season’s crown. UNM also won the MW tournament in 2011. San Jose State meanwhile is also in search of its third tournament title, claiming the crown in 2015 and 2018.

Including the regular season, San Jose State leads the all-time series between the teams with a record of 8-3-4 and 3-1-1 in matches played at the UNM Soccer Complex.

LOOKING TO SETTLE THINGS: Wednesday will be the second meeting of the season between the teams, who battled to a 1-1 draw on Oct. 9 at the UNM Soccer Complex. The Lobos struck first, with a goal by Jadyn Edwards in the 37th minute, but after a 47th-minute equalizer by the Spartans neither team could find a match winner. “We tied them on our home field, and they are very consistent and bought into a system,” Dyche commented on the first meeting of the season between the teams. “You have to find ways to break them down, and our goal will be to be a little more dynamic than we were the last time we played them.”

5-STRAIGHT SHUTOUTS: With the draw against the Aztecs, the Lobos recorded their fifth consecutive shutout performance to achieve a streak that hadn’t been matched in a decade. The last time a UNM team went this long without conceding a goal was in 2012, when the Lobos won five consecutive matches between Sept. 16-Oct. 7. The last goal UNM conceded was in the 47th minute against the Spartans on Oct. 9, making the official streak 492 minutes of play since allowing a goal heading into Wednesday’s match. “Earlier in the year we were giving up a lot of goals that we thought were kind of soft, and I think (since then) there has been a big push from our back line and leadership back there,” Dyche said. “For us to get some defensive recognition was huge, especially with us not giving up a ton of goals near the end of the year. We will be tested tomorrow night, and they have a good front line. I think our players will rise to it and will be ready.”

RECORD 8TH DRAW EARNS LOBOS SHARE OF TITLE: In a season that has featured more draws than any other in the history of Lobo women’s soccer, it was the eighth one that clinched the team’s third straight title. UNM kept San Diego State out of the net in a scoreless affair last Thursday at home, continuing to build upon a record that was established in 2008 when the team tied six matches. While the newly implemented NCAA soccer rule removing overtime figures to be the main catalyst for the high draw numbers, it will not be in place from here on out. If teams are tied after 90 minutes of play in the postseason, two 10-minute overtime periods will ensue and will be played to completion with no golden goal rule. If the score remains tied after 110 minutes, the teams will determine who advances by virtue of a penalty kick shootout. Any such match will count as a draw on each team’s official season record.

“San Diego State is a very good soccer team, and every time we play them you kind of get that (championship) vibe,” Dyche said after facing the Aztecs in the regular-season finale with the title on the line last week. “It did feel like the first game of the tournament, and hopefully it prepares us to know what is coming on Wednesday night.”

6 GARNER ALL-CONFERENCE RECOGNITION: The Lobos placed six players on the 2022 Mountain West all-conference squad, which was released Sunday ahead of the tournament’s opening round matches. Edwards, Karlee Maes, and Leilani Baker were each first-team selections, Jaelyn Hendren was a second-team pick, and Alli Davis and Sophia Roberts were each named to the Mountain West all-newcomer team.

EXPERIENCE MATTERS: On the Lobos’ current roster, 13 different players have previous experience in postseason play, and none of them have a losing record. Seniors Edwards, Hendren, and Mackenna Havenor are the most experienced with 11 playoff matches in their careers, with the Lobos going 6-4-1 in postseason games in which they played. (The lone draw was a 1-1 affair against Navy in the opening round of the Women’s College Cup on April 27, 2021, with the Lobos prevailing 4-2 on penalty kicks.)

Edwards has four career goals and three assists for 11 points in postseason play, with two of the finishes being among the most important goals scored in program history. Edwards sent the Lobos to the NCAA playoffs with a golden goal in the 96th minute of the team’s 3-2 win over San Diego State on April 17, 2021. The next fall she did it again, scoring in the first minute of overtime to lift the Lobos over host Boise State 2-1 for their second MW tournament title.

Despite missing two of the team’s postseason runs with injury, Baker is still among the most experienced with eight postseason appearances including three during her true freshman season in the fall of 2017. Myah Isais and Maes each also have eight postseason appearances.

Among the current Lobos with playoff experience six have faced San Jose State in the postseason before. Baker has faced the Spartans three times, including in UNM’s PK victory in 2017, the Lobos’ 1-0 loss in 2018, and UNM’s 1-0 overtime win in 2019. Hendren, Edwards, and Havenor each played in both the 2018 and 2019 postseason match against the Spartans, while Maes and Isais saw minutes in the 2019 overtime win against San Jose State

New Mexico Lobos Women’s Soccer Postseason Experience (as of Nov. 1, 2022)

Player Playoff Games Goals Assists Points W-L Record Titles
Jadyn Edwards 11 4 3 11 6-4-1 ‘18, ’20, ’21, ‘22
Jaelyn Hendren 11 6-4-1 ‘18, ’20, ’21, ‘22
Mackenna Havenor 11 6-4-1 ‘18, ’20, ’21, ‘22
Leilani Baker 8 1 2 3-3-2 ‘18, ’20, ’21, ‘22
Karlee Maes 8 4-3-1 ‘18, ’20, ’21, ‘22
Myah Isais 8 4-3-1 ’20, ’21, ‘22
Paige Satterlee 6 4-2 ’20, ’21, ‘22
Brynn Boeyink 6 4-2 ’20, ’21, ‘22
Molly Myers 5 3-2 ’20, ’21, ‘22
Natalie DeGagne 3 2-1 ’20, ’21, ‘22
Zaria Katesigwa 3 2 4 2-1 ’21, ‘22
Ellie Robinson 2 1-1 ’21, ‘22
Paris Dalton 1 1-0 ’20, ’21, ‘22

DYCHE A WINNER IN POSTSEASON: While the Lobo roster has a wealth of postseason success returning this year, head coach Heather Dyche has had trends of victory in the playoffs as well. She holds an all-time mark of 7-5-4 in postseason matches, with her team advancing on penalties in 3 of 4 draws as well. Her seven playoff victories are second-most in school history, behind Kit Vela’s 12 wins (2001-14). Her winning percentage of .563 in the playoffs is the best-ever by a UNM head coach.

New Mexico Lobos Women’s Soccer Coaching Postseason Records (sorted by winning percentage)

Coach Wins Losses Ties Pct. PKs Tourney Titles Seasons
Heather Dyche 7 5 4 .563 3-1 1 (2021) 2015-22 (8)
Amy Allmann 1 1 0 .500 0-0 0 1993-95 (3)
Kit Vela 12 13 2 .463 1-1 1 (2011) 2001-14 (14)
John DeWitt 0 4 0 .000 0-0 0 1996-00 (5)

SENIORS HONORED: New Mexico’s seven graduating seniors were honored in a pregame ceremony last Thursday, in advance of the regular-season finale. Edwards, Hendren, Maes, Havenor, Baker, Alix Hailey, and Catherine Johnson were each recognized with their families on the field for their contributions to the program over the past six years.