A five-game losing streak for the Vandal soccer team ended Sunday in Las Cruces, N.M., where Idaho shutout the New Mexico State Aggies 1-0.
Sunday’s win for Idaho combined with Grand Canyon beating Cal State-Bakersfield allowed Idaho to jump Bakersfield in the standings. This put Idaho into better contention for a spot in the WAC Tournament on Nov. 7. Idaho’s conference record improved to 4-6 for the season and the Vandals moved to fifth in the WAC. The top four teams will compete in the WAC Tournament but Grand Canyon, currently No. 4, is ineligible since it is competing in its first Division I season.
Idaho has struggled the past three weeks, losing five straight games with their previous win coming on Oct. 4 against Utah Valley in Orem, Utah.
“We have a lot more wins to come from this team,” Idaho coach Pete Showler said.
“We will keep adding to that total. I’m excited to have been a part of all the teams and players that have believed in the program. Those wins reflect each individual that has had a hand in Idaho soccer. I look forward (to) a lot more wins to come,” Showler said.
New Mexico State consistently outshot Idaho throughout the match taking nine shots in each half to Idaho’s seven for the match. Idaho goalkeeper Marina Siegl, playing her fourth full match of the season, saved seven shots keeping Idaho in the match.
For the first half of play, neither team put any points on the board. The first goal of the match came during the 68th minute of play off the foot of freshman Alyssa Pease — scoring her third goal of the season. The assist for the goal came from freshman Elexis Schlossarek who connected with a long pass giving Pease the shot from 15 yards out. Schlossarek got her first assist of the year on the pass.
The Aggies had four more opportunities to score after the Vandal goal but failed to connect a shot. Three shots were off their mark and Siegl saved one.
“Today was a great team effort,” Showler said. “We saw a lot of hard work from everybody. New Mexico State plays a great brand of soccer and their record doesn’t necessarily reflect that. We match that brand soccer with heart and passion. I couldn’t be more proud of that team effort. We defended doggedly; the midfield won a lot of second balls that allowed for some great combination play with the forwards. We put it all together for the 90 minutes and got what we deserved.”
The Vandals have not lost a match to New Mexico State since the two teams first played each other in 2009 and have a series record with the Aggies of 4-1-1. Sunday’s win was also the 50th career win at Idaho for Showler in his nine seasons as head coach.
Idaho will finish off its regular season next week in two matches against current WAC leader undefeated Seattle U. Idaho will travel to Seattle on Friday for the weekend opener then on Sunday the teams will face off at Guy Wicks Field.
If Idaho gets an invite to the WAC Tournament, it will travel to Las Cruces, N.M., on Nov. 7.
Curtis Ginnetti can be reached at email@example.com