Grand Canyon’s high-octane offense too much for Aggies in WAC Conference game


NMSU Women’s Soccer defender and senior student, Lece Aviles mid-kick.

The Aggies women’s soccer team came into their matchup against the Grand Canyon University Lopes with a sense of optimism. Having come off from a 1-0 victory over the California Baptist University Lancers at home, the Aggies looked to continue their success in the WAC Conference and continue to move up in the rankings.  

Entering the game, the Aggies held a 7-6 overall record and 3-1 in conference play. Shea O’Conner entered the matchup as the Aggies leading scorer and looked to build upon the previous success found earlier in the season.  

NMSU attempted to start off the game with a band, as forward Bella Garcia quickly took a shot on-goal with just over two minutes on the clock. The Aggies looked to set the tone early with this fast-paced offensive approach, but this wasn’t a sustainable one, quickly causing the offense to stall as the game progressed. 

Grand Canyon had an almost immediate response to this rapid offensive pace of the Aggies with a strike from Gianna Gourley off of a masterful assist from Marleen Schimmer just three minutes after the first shot by the Aggies. After this quick score by the Lopes, the Aggies seemed to lose their rhythm offensively almost immediately. 

Aggie midfielder Xitlaly Hernandez was given opportunity to even the score in the thirteenth minute thanks to a penalty just outside of the goalie box. A high-arching laser of a shot from Hernandez looked good all the way, until it grazed the upper crossbar and bounced out-of-bounds, no goal for the Aggies. 

The Lopes did not waste much time in extending their lead, as Hannah Edwards heads the ball into the goal off a masterful corner kick by Marleen Schimmer once again. This goal proved very powerful for the mindset of the Lopes and shifted the momentum even further in their favor. Not satisfied with a 2-0 lead in the first half, GCU continued an aggressive approach with several more shots on goal before the halfway mark, but to no avail. This was in large part to NMSU keeper Makenna Gottschalk, who received WAC Defensive Player of the Week honors in the prior week. 

GCU kept the same energy from the first half and carried it over to the second, as their offense continued to fire on all cylinders and their aggression only continued to rise. Only five minutes into the second half of the game and GCU scored once again thanks to Gianna Gourley and an assist by Dani Babb. 

The Aggie offense continued to struggle as they continually turned the ball over near the opposing goal and missed out on many offensive opportunities. The defense looked fairly cohesive, but good offense beats good defense, and that’s exactly what the Lopes did. If the Aggies weren’t already down enough, the Lopes scored three more times before the game was over. These goals came by way of Brenna Alderson, Destinee Duran and Haley Bostard. These were a result of great passes from Lindsey Prokop, Brenna Alderson, and Perri Belzar. 

NMSU will look to turn the ship around quickly after this embarrassing 6-0 loss to a conference opponent. The Aggies are set for a rematch against the California Baptist Lancers, this time in Riverside, California. They currently stand at 3-2 in WAC conference play and have a chance to improve to 4-2 with this next game on Oct. 15 at 2 p.m. 


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