In their third game of the Women’s Soccer WAC tournament, the New Mexico State Aggies hosted the Seattle University Redhawks and prevailed over them with a score of 2-1. All the action occurred in the last 20 minutes of the game when the Aggies scored, SU tied it up and then game finished with NM State making winning play in the last 40 seconds.
Seattle University has been to the NCAA tournament three times in the past six years and won five WAC titles, which made this a monumental win for the Aggies. However, NM State and SU entered the game almost fairly matched; NMSU averaged 1.18 goals per game while Seattle averaged 1.3.
Both teams maintained strong defense in the first half and neither was able to score. The Redhawks kept the pressure on the Aggies and limited their shot opportunities. NM State senior goalkeeper was strong in front of the goal and made five tremendous saves throughout the game.
NMSU broke the drought when sophomore midfielder Loma McNeese connected with the freshman midfielder Bianca Chacon who fired a shot into the right side of the net. Redhawk goalkeeper Lisa Davis was unable to defend the shot and the Aggies- now on the board- lit up the field with electric energy and gained all momentum.
With only a little bit of time left on the clock, NMSU was shocked when SU’s junior defensive midfielder Michele Adams linked up with senior midfielder Gabe Jillings who launched a shot into the net, tying up the game. It appeared as though over time would have to decide the winner but NMSU’s Bella Garcia wasn’t finished just yet.
Only 40 seconds were left on the clock when Brooke Shultze assisted sophomore forward Bella Garcia who sent a pass into the net, which Davis was unable to defend, giving the Aggies their sixth win.
Despite playing with a broken arm, Garcia has had two game winning shots both against WAC opponents. After the game, she spoke on the team’s formidable efforts. “In the last two minutes, we were really giving it our all, they had just tied it up and Brooke gave me a perfect ball and I turned and found an opportunity to shoot,” she said.
The Aggies ended their five game losing streak to Seattle University dating back to 2017 and earned their first home win since August.
In the post-game, Head Coach Rob Baarts discussed his satisfaction with the team in being able to maintain composure after SU scored and securing the win. “We showed [resilience] to give up that goal that late in the game and comeback and actually get the job done.” He then continued, “The win was massive, it’s a massive move for our program.”
The New Mexico State Women’s Soccer now looks forward to Oct. 3, to host California Baptist in hopes of getting their third win in the WAC tournament.