By Kevin Wilson: Freedom New Mexico
Central Oklahoma crashed the net, and steamrolled a pair of Eastern New Mexico streaks in the process.
Katleyn Cropp scored off a deflected pass in the first half for the first goal against the Zias in nearly 500 minutes, and the Bronchos exploded for three goals in the first 19 minutes of the second half to leave Portales with a4-1 victory Sunday afternoon.
Summer Grantham had a goal an an assist, and Katy Kashwer aided on all three second-half goals to help UCO (9-4-1, 3-1 Lone Star Conference) snap a six-game winning streak for the host Zias.
“Bottom line, they came out and took it to us for 20 minutes,” Zia coach Ray Nause said of the second-half offensive outburst from UCO, which outshot ENMU 17-7 on the day and scored two of its second-half goals on rebounds against Zia goaltender Sierra Cardenas.
Shayna Kindsvater scored off a rebound six minutes into the second half, and Grantham followed six minutes later off a deflection. Nathalie Bernigaud ended the scoring by punching in a loose ball after Cardenas had stopped shots from Kashwer and Kindsvater from inside 15 feet.
“We told the girls at half we needed to play aggressively,” Broncho coach Mike Cook said, “and we got to crashing the net and making some chances.”
The Bronchos, ranked fifth in the NSCAA South Central Region and winners of eight straight before a 1-0 loss Friday at West Texas A&M, made times tough for the Zia scorers. Senior Samantha Lawrence had a first-half kick just outside the goal box deflected by Broncho goalkeeper Megan Riley, but Alli Miller gave Lawrence little room to work otherwise.
Eastern (7-5, 2-1) only got one other shot on goal, when sophomore Tausha Caulder stole a first-half pass and lofted a shot over Riley for her first goal of the season.
“We’ve got the preseason defensive player of the year back there, so we felt like we could mark anybody,” Cook said. “There are a lot of good forwards in the conference, but she’s been doing this for four years.”
Nause felt the Zias had a lot of culpability in their offensive woes, as passes were completed in neutral-zone areas and almost never in the offensive zone.
Cropp’s fourth goal ended a shutout streak of 495:56 for the Zias.
The Bronchos go back home to host Angelo State Friday, while the Zias go on the road Friday to face Texas Woman’s University.