By Dave Wagner, Freedom New Mexico
Sixty-seven minutes seemed like plenty of time to try to make up a one-goal deficit, but Eastern New Mexico University’s women had a trouble finding shots.
Northeastern State scored twice in a nine-minute span, then battened down the hatches and held off the Zias 2-1 in a Lone Star Conference match on Friday at the ENMU pitch. The loss was the first in seven home matches this season for ENMU (6-5, 0-2 LSC).
Riverhawks goals by senior midfielder Ashley Badeen and freshman forward Kristina Marshall erased a 1-0 ENMU lead. The Zias had a couple of chances in the second half, but only one shot on goal.
“We just weren’t sharp enough in the first half,” Zias coach Ray Nause said. “Both (Northeastern) goals were poor defensive plays by us, and that set the tone for the rest of the game.”
ENMU jumped on top when junior Michelle Sumner looped a free kick over Riverhawks goalkeeper Patricia Nardy from about 20 yards out on the right. That lead lasted only about six minutes before Badeen converted a through pass from Celeste St. Gemme and beat Zias keeper Sierra Cardenas.
Later, Marshall broke in from the right and beat Cardenas 1-on-1 for what turned out to be the final tally.
“We were able to respond with two goals,” Northeastern coach Carol Melo said. “We had a couple of chances in the second half, but we couldn’t convert.”
Ironically, the Riverhawks (2-4-2, 1-0-1) earned their first victory this season away from home. “It’s always good to win on the road,” said Melo, whose team plays at West Texas A&M on Sunday.
ENMU seemed a half-step slow for much of the first half. Nause lectured his squad strongly during halftime and the Zias’ play picked up, but they had a hard time setting up a potential tying score.
“We had good pressure on them, but we didn’t create enough (scoring) chances,” Nause said. “I think you could see our players felt a lot of (pressure) in the last 30 minutes; I didn’t think we played with enough urgency in the last 15 minutes.”
The 6-0 start at home was the best in the six-year history of the ENMU program. Overall, since beating New Mexico Highlands 2-0 in the first match on their new field on Oct. 10, 2004, the Zias have gone 26-10-2 at home.
St. Mary’s 1, ENMU men 0 —
Junior midfielder Adam Villanueva scored on the deflection of a free kick with 29:07 remaining, and the Rattlers (3-4-0) held ENMU without a shot on goal for the match.
St. Mary’s was in control for the most part, putting up eight shots on goal and posting a 7-2 advantage over the Greyhounds (3-3-2) in corner kicks.