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The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

Aggies tie after slow start to senior night

Photo courtesy of NMSU Athletics.

In their senior night filled with determination and excitement, the New Mexico State University women’s soccer fought against the Florida International University Golden Panthers but were unable to execute a final goal and settled with a tie 1-1. Prior to the start of the game, Aggie seniors Bella Garcia, Xitlaly Hernandez, Hannah Draper, Loma McNeese, Megan Ormson, and Gia Valenti were celebrated by fellow teammates and audience members alike.  

The Aggies started slow and disconnected, allowing the Golden Panthers to dominate the field as they scored their first goal from Kim Schneider within the first five minutes of the match. 

After the match, head coach Rob Baarts reflected on the effects of his team’s back-to-back late starts. 

“We gotta start from the beginning,” Baarts said. “ You can’t start that slow; we started too slow two games in a row. We can’t do that anymore.” 

Both sides continued to battle and, as the Golden Panthers earned four corner kicks, the Aggies struggled to keep up with the pressure. 

Moving forward, the Aggies improved their performance significantly on both the offensive and defensive line. Senior Megan Ormson and junior Ariana Leamons each found an opporunity to fire but both shots flew slightly too high.  

Despite the missed attempts, the Aggies worked cohesively to produce a crucial goal near the end of the first half. In minute 37, the Aggies formulated a number of passes that ended with an assist from senior Gianna Valenti to senior Loma McNeese who headed the ball into the post for her sixth goal of the season.  

“This is a resilient team,” said Baarts when asked about the first half. “I mean, I think we got scored on fairly early and I think they got a little energy from that. But we never panicked. I don’t think we ever worried that we weren’t gonna get back in the game and find that goal we needed.” 

With the second half underway, the two teams kept the crowd cheering with a number of offensive plays and shots on goal. 

Photo courtesy of NMSU Athletics.

The final 30 minutes of the match were especially exciteful as each team raced to score the tie-breaking goal. The Golden Panthers advanced up the field and ended their potentially dangerous play after FIU’s Naomi Paquin missed her shot over the top. Just a minute later, the Aggies turned the play around to score but their efforts were skillfully blocked by FIU goalie Ithasia Vinoly. 

Within the last two minutes, both sides were pushing for the breakthrough goal with everyone in the stadium on their feet in anticipation. Following a clear foul from FIU, the Aggies stood just outside the 18-yard box looking to convert the play.  

As the whistle blew, each player on the field ran towards the FIU goal to get ahold of the ball. Valenti made it out with two close on goal shots but was blocked by Vinoly and surrounding FIU players. The play ended shortly after as Vinoly blocked another rebounded shot from Ormson. The final whistle was blown and the competitive match ended 1-1.  

With that, the rest of the evening focused on celebrating the Aggies’ 2023 seniors. 

Despite the unfavoral outcome, coach Baarts still applauded the efforts of his seniors throughout the season.  

“This senior crew has been the cornerstone of our program,” Baarts said. “We do senior night before the end of the year, so that we’re not saying goodbye. It’s our way of honoring them and making sure that everyone sees who they are. But it’s also about saying that we’re not saying goodbye yet. And we’re still leaning on you for a lot.”  

The Aggies will stay in Las Cruces for their final home game of the season on Sunday, Oct. 22 at 1 p.m. against the Sam Houston University Bearkats. Coverage will streamed on ESPN +.  

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About the Contributor
Ashley Infante
Ashley Infante, News Editor
Ashley Infante is entering her first year with The Round Up as the News Editor. She is currently a junior at New Mexico State University, double majoring in Government and Justice, Political Philosophy and Law. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, but was drawn to Las Cruces for its interconnected, supportive community. Ashley’s interests in writing and journalism quickly grew during her high school experiences attending a humanities magnet program. She specifically focused on the historical development of social issues and writing about their impacts in today’s society. She continues expanding such passions at NMSU, now hoping to share students’ stories on anything from the issues they face to interests they wish to share. Outside of an academic context, Ashley enjoys long road trips, participating in outdoor sports, and watching films. She finds these activities very engaging and healing on the mind.

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