RIVERSIDE, Calif. (Sept. 2)-The New Mexico State soccer team won its first game of the season with a 1-0 decision over Southern Utah in its second match of the UC Riverside Tournament in Riverside, Calif.
Sophomore forward Katelyn Smith scored her first career goal en route to the victory for the Aggies (1-2-1). For the third time of the season, the Aggie offense fired 14 shots, which is a season-high mark.
"To be very honest, we actually got out-played in the first half pretty decisively," head coach Blair Quinn said. "Against the run of play, we found a great goal on something that I have been asking our forwards to do for every game.
"Layla Todd, who had a fantastic weekend, turned a corner and drove a low left-footed ball across the six, and Katelyn (Smith) came crashing across the backside and hammered it in from four yards out as she was getting bricked by a defender. The whole thing happened in a split second. She is possibility the physically toughest kid on the team in terms of her ability to take a beating and keep on going. She was the perfect person to have at the back post at that point to score a goal."
Defensively, junior goalkeeper Mikaela Bitner collected the win with seven saves and the Aggies' first shutout of the year in her first action of the season.
At the end of the first half, sophomore forward Layla Todd sent a cross to the center of the box that found Smith, and she recorded her first goal in the 43rd minute that gave NM State a 1-0 lead. The assist was the first of the season for Todd and the third of her career.
"We played much better in the second half," Quinn said. "The sign of a good team and a team that is getting better is a team that finds a way to win, even when they don't have their best day, and I think we did that."
The Aggies return home to host Sam Houston State, Friday, Sept. 7 at 4 p.m. and Weber State, Sunday, Sept. 9 at 1 p.m. in the home opening weekend.