Soccer Opens WAC Play with Nevada and Utah State
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  09/28/2010


This Week: The New Mexico State soccer team opens its second season in the WAC at Nevada, Friday, Oct. 1 at 8 p.m. in Reno, Nev. The Aggies then return home to host Utah State, Sunday, Oct. 3 at noon in Las Cruces.


Last Week: The Aggies concluded non-conference play with a 2-1 win at Wyoming, Sept. 26. This was NM State’s first road win of the season. The Aggies also suffered a 1-0 overtime loss at Northern Colorado, Sept. 24, which was the first overtime loss in three overtime matches this year.


Nevada: The Wolf Pack enters conference play with a 5-4-2 record following a 4-2 loss at UC Irvine, Sept. 26, in the Anteater Invitational finale. Nevada also recorded a 0-0 double overtime draw with UC Riverside in the tournament, Sept. 24. The Wolf Pack offense is extremely balanced with four players with three goals each. Senior midfielder/forward Cristen Drummond not only has three goals but also a team-high 35 shots. Senior goalkeeper Marie Cove anchors the defense with 46 saves, 0.67 goals against average, .902 save percentage and four shutouts.


Series Notes: Nevada has a 2-0 all-time lead in the series. The Wolf Pack was the first opponent the Aggies faced twice in school history. Nevada defeated the Aggies, 1-0, in double overtime, Oct. 30, 2009, in Las Cruces, and 1-0, Nov. 5, 2009, in Boise, Idaho, in the first round of the WAC Tournament.


Previous Meeting: In their first appearance in the WAC Tournament, the No. 5 seed Aggies suffered a 1-0 decision to No. 4 seed Nevada at the Boas Complex, in Boise, Idaho, Nov. 5. The Wolf Pack took a quick 1-0 lead when midfielder Vanessa Mann scored on a ball that was defected off an Aggie in the first minute of the match.


Utah State: The Navy-clad Aggies open WAC play at Louisiana Tech, Oct. 1. Utah State finished non-conference action with a 3-4-4 record. USU fell to No. 8 BYU, 3-0, Sept. 25, and at Utah, 2-1, Sept. 23. Senior forward Lauren Hansen and junior forward Shantel Flanary pace the team with four goals each. Junior goalkeeper Molli Merrill directs the defense with 29 saves, 1.18 goals against average and .725 save percentage.


Series Notes: Utah State has a 1-0 advantage in the all-time series. Last year in the regular season finale, USU beat NM State, 3-0, Nov. 1, 2009, in Logan, Utah.


Previous Meeting: In the first-ever meeting, Utah State defeated the Aggies, 3-0, Nov. 1 in Logan, Utah, behind a pair of first half goals. The match was the regular season finale for NM State’s inaugural season.


Road Warriors: Sophomore forward/midfielder Crystal Burns gave the Aggies a 2-1 lead on a 30-yard strike with only 10 minutes left in regulation at Wyoming. The goal was her sixth of the season, and she now has a team-high three game-winning goals in 2010. The Aggies tied the match, 1-1, in the 63rd minute on sophomore midfielder/forward Lauren Cope’s first goal of the season. She blasted the ball into the top right corner of the net when Burns found her behind the defense. NM State’s four-match unbeaten streak was snapped at Northern Colorado. This was the Aggies’ third overtime match of the season and first goal allowed in 429 minutes.


Among the Elite: In the NCAA rankings, the Aggies are No. 11 in scoring offense (3.0) and No. 16 in goals against average (0.529). Individually, sophomore midfielder/forward Crystal Burns is sixth in assists per game (0.78), seventh in assists (7), ninth in points per game (2.11) and 18th in points (19.0). Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Mikaela Bitner is No. 17 in save percentage (0.891) and No. 42 in goals against average (0.672) as of Sept. 26.


Against the Competition: The Aggies rank first in the WAC in goals allowed (0.60), goals against average (0.57), assists per game (2.20) and are tied for first in corner kicks (62). NM State is second in shots (168), points (76), goals (27), goals per game (2.70), assists (22) and is tied for second in shutouts (4). The Aggies are No. 4 in saves (52) as of Sept. 27.


Individually, sophomore midfielder/forward Crystal Burns ranks first in points per game (1.90) and assists per game (0.70). She is tied for first in assists (7) and game-winning goals (3). She is No. 2 in shots per game (3.20) and tied for second in points (19), goals (6) and goals per game (0.60). Burns ranks seventh in shots (32).


Sophomore forward Yolanda McMillion is tied for second in goals (6) and goals per game (0.60).  She ranks fourth in points per game (1.30) and tied for fourth in game-winning goals (2) and points (13).


Senior midfielder Nina Yanes is tied for fifth in the WAC in assists (3) and sixth in assists per game (0.33), while freshman forward Dani De La Vina is tied for fifth in assists (3) and seventh in assists per game (0.30).


Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Mikaela Bitner ranks second in save percentage (.885) and saves per game (5.75). She is third in goals against average (0.71) and tied for third in saves (46). She is fourth in shutouts per game (0.25). Bitner and freshman goalkeeper Erin Wosick are tied for fourth in shutouts (2).


Burn Notice: Sophomore forward/midfielder Crystal Burns was named Verizon WAC Offensive Player of the Week, for the week of Sept. 13-19. This is her first career honor, and she is the third Aggie to earn the recognition this season. Burns scored four goals and added three assists in a pair of wins for the Aggie soccer team over Alabama A&M, 8-0, Sept. 17, and Lamar, 4-0, Sept. 19. Against Alabama A&M, she scored two goals and added an assist, including her second game-winning goal of the season. It was her first-ever multiple-goal contest at NM State. In a 4-0 win over Lamar, Burns tallied two goals and two assists. She posted an impressive .833 shots on goal percentage in the final two non-conference matches of the season.


Home Fries: In the final two non-conference home matches of the season, the Aggies defeated Alabama A&M, 8-0, and Lamar, 4-0. NM State tied the school record for goals in a match against Alabama A&M. Sophomore midfielder/forward Crystal Burns scored a match-high two goals. NM State recorded its second consecutive shutout, and freshman goalkeeper Erin Wosick posted her second career shutout. In the win over Lamar, the Aggies recorded their third consecutive shutout, and Burns scored a pair of goals in the second straight match.


Protecting Home Turf: The Aggies went undefeated at home in non-conference play this season with a 5-0-2 record in seven matches. The first two overtime contests of the season occurred at home with 1-1 ties in double overtime to Northern Arizona and Montana.


Into the Net: The Aggie offense has been fierce this season with 27 goals scored in 10 matches. In 2009, NM State only scored 23 goals in 19 matches. The Aggies have also scored eight goals in a match twice this season against Prairie View A&M and Alabama A&M.


It’s a No-No: The Aggie defense didn’t allow a goal in the final three non-conference home matches (North Dakota, Alabama A&M and Lamar). NM State held Alabama A&M to three shots, a season-best mark. The Aggies also held both Alabama A&M and Lamar to two shots on goal, a season-best showing.


Bitner Recognized: Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Mikaela Bitner was named the Verizon WAC Defensive Player of the Week, for the week of Sept. 6-12. This is her first career honor. Bitner anchored the Aggie defense to a 1-0 shutout victory over North Dakota, Sept. 10. She collected her first career shutout behind a season-high nine saves. Bitner also posted a 1.000 save percentage in 90 minutes of play.


Quick Strike: Sophomore forward/midfielder Crystal Burns led the Aggies to a 1-0 win over North Dakota, Sept. 10, in Las Cruces, with her first goal of the season in the eighth minute of action. The score was also her first career game-winning goal at NM State.


A Stifling Defense: The NM State defense has been strong in 2010. The Aggies have only allowed six goals in 10 matches and haven’t allowed multiple goals in game. NM State posted a season-high nine saves against North Dakota, Sept. 10.


Clutch Performance: For the second time, sophomore forward Yolanda McMillion tied the match for the Aggies with a second half goal against Northern Arizona. She also tied the contest with Montana at 1-1. Additionally, McMillion has two game-winning goals this season.


Tough Under Pressure: Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Mikaela Bitner has been solid for the Aggies. In 764:31 minutes, she has a team-high 46 saves with a 0.71 goals against average and .885 save percentage.


Title Town: NM State claimed its second tournament title in two years following a pair of wins over Prairie View A&M, 8-0, and Jacksonville State, 2-1, in the inaugural Hotel Encanto Aggie Classic in Las Cruces. Sophomore forward Yolanda McMillion led the Aggies with the first hat trick in school history with three goals in the tournament finale against Prairie View A&M. NM State posted its first shutout of the season in freshman goalkeeper Erin Wosick’s first career start. The Aggies won its first match of the season with a 2-1 victory over Jacksonville State, and McMillion scored the game-winning goal in the 64th minute. 


McMillion Honored: Sophomore forward Yolanda McMillion was named the WAC Offensive Player of the Week, Aug. 30. This is the first career honor for McMillion. She led the Aggies to the Hotel Encanto Aggie Classic title with the first hat trick in school history. McMillion scored three goals in NM State’s 8-0 victory against Prairie View A&M, Aug. 29. She also scored the game-winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Jacksonville State, Aug. 27. For the week, McMillion posted a team-high four goals, two game-winning goals, and eight points with a .714 shots on goal percentage. She also became the first Aggie in school history to score multiple goals in a single match.


Records Fall: In the win over Prairie View A&M, the Aggies set five new records including goals (eight), points (23), assists (7), shots on goal (20) and corner kicks (18). The Aggies also posted their first shutout of the season.


High Powered Offense: The Aggie offense was dangerous in the Hotel Encanto Aggie Classic. NM State out-shot opponents, 57-15, in the two matches. The Aggies set a school record for shots in a match with 29 against Jacksonville State.


Senior Contributions: Senior midfielders Baili Foutz and Nina Yanes helped the Aggies to their second tournament crown. Foutz scored her first two career goals against Prairie View A&M. Yanes recorded her first three career assists also versus the Panthers.


Scoring Machines: Prior to the Prairie View A&M contest, the Aggies didn’t have a player score more than a single goal in a match. But that changed with sophomore forward Yolanda McMillion’s hat trick and a pair of goals from senior midfielder Baili Foutz and redshirt sophomore defender Heather Goldberg. The appearance against Prairie View A&M was Goldberg’s first showing in the Crimson and White.


Extra Time: In the season opener against Montana, Aug. 22, the Aggies played their first overtime match of the year. The 1-1 double overtime draw was the first tie of the season and at home. The contest was also the first tie with a non-conference opponent in school history. In the second double overtime match of the season, NM State posted a 1-1 tie with Northern Arizona, Sept. 5. The Aggies evened the scored in the 64th minute when sophomore forward Crystal Burns found sophomore forward Yolanda McMillion.


Looking Ahead: The Aggies return to the road for a pair of conference matches at Boise State, Oct. 8, and at Idaho, Oct. 10.

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