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Aggies dominate NIU for first win of the season

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Aggies dominate NIU for first win of the season

Head coach Rob Baarts picks up his first win at the helm for New Mexico State in the Aggies' 3-0 win over Northern Illinois.

Head coach Rob Baarts picks up his first win at the helm for New Mexico State in the Aggies' 3-0 win over Northern Illinois.

Cassidy Kuester

Head coach Rob Baarts picks up his first win at the helm for New Mexico State in the Aggies' 3-0 win over Northern Illinois.

Cassidy Kuester

Cassidy Kuester

Head coach Rob Baarts picks up his first win at the helm for New Mexico State in the Aggies' 3-0 win over Northern Illinois.

New Mexico State put some of their early season offensive troubles to bed quickly Friday, netting an opening minute go-ahead score and controlling the game from start to finish in their 3-0 win over Northern Illinois.

Sophomore defender-turned-striker Katie Martinez took advantage of some disorganized NIU defense from the kickoff, drilling in a screamer off of an Alexa Barrera feed set up by a beautiful cross from the right wing courtesy of Emma Smith just 15 seconds into the game.

“It just kind of gave us the energy to keep going, score another an push it to 3-0,” Martinez said of her strike. “It’s a Friday game, we’re home, we were done losing. This is our time, we had to get this one and we came out and got the win.”

Midfielder Rebecca Mazzie tacked on an insurance score in the 59’ to seal it for the Aggies, and fullback Kelly Burton put the icing on the cake in the 87’ minute with a 22-yard golazo that dipped under the crossbar to beat NIU’s keeper for the third time of the game.

While the goalscoring was what grabbed all the attention, New Mexico State’s defense made Friday’s victory as dominant as it was, allowing just five shots and one shot on goal — which was saved by keeper Mia Montano — preserving the Aggies’ first clean sheet of the season.

The win marks head coach Rob Baarts’ first with New Mexico State, with what was easily the Aggies’ best performance of the season ending the four game losing streak that they started the year with.

“I think we found our lineup. We changed our lineup, we changed our formation… but we were so much better at just the fundamental things that caused us problems before, and we just solved that,” Baarts said when asked about the difference in today’s win. “I thought our mentality was getting after this team from the get-go. Getting that goal definitely helped. The downside of getting a goal that early is a lot of times you can relax, but we didn’t — we just raised the bar and continued to press.”

Baarts and the Aggies improved to 1-4 on the season and will take on Abilene Christian for a road matchup this Sunday with a whole new confidence that could propel New Mexico State to more success in the coming weeks.

“A big thing lacking for us was confidence. We’ve had good performances without results. The first four games going 0-4, three of those games could’ve easily been wins or ties — it’s that close to being different,” Baarts said. “I think this win, hopefully, gives us the confidence that we can score a lot of goals.”

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About the Writer
James Martin, Sports Editor

James Martin is a second-year sportswriter and a sophomore majoring in journalism. He was born and raised in Las Cruces, New Mexico and graduated from...

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Aggies dominate NIU for first win of the season