By Dave Wagner: Freedom Newspapers
PORTALES — Anna Funck said she felt pretty good going into Friday’s match against Colorado Christian.
Good thing for the Eastern New Mexico University women’s soccer team, too.
Funck, a junior midfielder from Amarillo, was involved in each of the Zias’ goals in a 3-2 win over the Cougars at the ENMU pitch.
Colorado Christian (1-3) probably outplayed Eastern for much of the match, but couldn’t overcome an 18-minute stretch of the of the first half in which the Zias (2-1), playing their home opener, took advantage of good opportunities to open a 3-0 lead.
Colorado Christian tallied twice in the closing minutes of the half, but was unable to penetrate the Zias’ defense the rest of the way. ENMU is now 6-1-1 at home since the beginning of the 2004 season.
Zias coach Travis McCorkle, whose team hosts Colorado State-Pueblo at noon on Sunday, said his team didn’t get many style points against the young but scrappy Cougars.
“Today was a little bit of a struggle, but we won,” he said. “We just need to do better next time.
“Hopefully, we learned some things from this game that we’ll be able to use on Sunday.”
Funck’s through pass found junior forward Megan Dozier, who beat Cougars goalkeeper Allison Cox from about 14 yards out with just over eight minutes gone. Funck then corralled a corner kick by teammate Nicole Bregler and scored from close range less than 2 1/2 minutes later before finding sophomore Kara Henderson in the middle for a point-blank tally in the 26th minute.
“I just felt ‘on’ today,” Funck said. “I felt pretty good. This is our home and we’re going to try and stay undefeated here if we can.”
Everything clicked in the first-half scoring run, Funck explained.
“I knew Megan was over there and I knew I could play a through ball to her,” she said of the first goal. “I knew Kara was open (on the third goal), and I thought I could get it to her.”
Sophomore Amy Holtman made her second start in two seasons in goal and, with the help of her defense, managed to hold off the Cougars in the second half. She got beat on a deflected shot with 6 1/2 minutes left in the half, and Colorado Christian pulled close when Alexia Price took a pass from Laura Leathers and punched it in about two minutes before halftime.
“They just didn’t let those three goals get them down,” Holtman said of the Cougars. “It was a test for us, for sure, to make sure we could stay composed and play smart on defense.
“The defense did their part in the second half. They didn’t give (Colorado Christian) much of a chance.”
McCorkle noted that it was the first time Holtman, who normally backs up sophomore Stephanie Sanchez, had played the entire 90 minutes.
“She had a couple of critical saves at the end,” he said. “I’m really pleased with her improvement from last year to this year.”
Third-year Colorado Christian coach Tammy Wishard said her team will be able to build on its strong comeback.
“I’m very proud of my girls for keeping their heads up,” she said. “We had a lot of opportunities in the second half. We were able to make it a game.”