FRESNO, Calif. (Nov. 3)-The New Mexico State soccer team won its first-ever WAC Tournament match with a 2-1 victory over Hawai'i for a school-record 10th win of the season.
The Aggies entered the conference tournament as the No. 6 seed and upset No. 3 seed Hawai'i. NM State improved to 10-7-3, while the Rainbow Wahine fell to 5-12-1. The Aggies move on to face No. 2 seed Fresno State, Friday, Nov. 4 at 3:30 p.m.
"It's exciting for the program," head coach Blair Quinn said. "It's the first postseason win and the 10th win of the year, which is a program record."
The Rainbow Wahine scored first in the 20th minute of action to take a 1-0 lead on a goal from Krystal Pascua.
"Hawai'i was better than us in the first 20 minutes," he said. "We just didn't start with our style in mind."
In the 42nd minute, freshman forward Jennae Cambra tied the match at 1-1, when she avoided a tackle and maintained possession and fired a shot from the left corner of the box. It was the fourth goal of the season for Cambra, and first time NM State had scored in the conference tournament.
"The first goal was a hard-work goal," Quinn said. "We had subbed Jennae in to get more pressure on their right back. That was a huge goal to get us back to even before the half."
In the second half, the Aggies claimed a 2-1 lead in the 63rd minute of action. Junior forward Yolanda McMillion launched the first shot that hit the post, and freshman midfielder Bree Luhrsen sank the rebound into the back of the net for the score. The goal was Luhrsen's fourth of the season and second goal against Hawai'i. McMillion also recorded her fifth assist of the year.
"It was a well-built goal. It was great pressure by the entire team including the midfield that led to the goal."
Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Jessica Schutter was strong in the net and had a game-high five saves.
In the regular season meeting at Fresno State, Oct. 23, the Aggies and Bulldogs tied 2-2 in double overtime.