UNM freshman goalkeeper Alli Davis (1) dives missing the ball during the penalty shoot-out as the Lobos lost to San Jose State during the Mountain West Conference Tournament semifinals at the UNM Soccer Complex on Wednesday. (Chancey Bush/)
A dominating performance Wednesday for New Mexico went for naught in the semifinals of the Mountain West tournament as San Jose State beat the Lobos 4-2 in penalty kicks after 110 minutes of scoreless play to advance to Saturday’s championship game.
“It’s a tough way to lose,” said UNM coach Heather Dyche.
the no 2 Lobos had the bulk of possession, firing off a whopping 30 shots to two for the third-seeded Spartans. Ten of New Mexico’s shots were on frame as opposed to one for SJSU.
“It’s good wrenching,” Dyche said. “I literally don’t think they could have tried any harder. I don’t think they could have played any harder. When it’s 30 shots to two and you don’t come away with a goal, yeah it’s good wrenching.”
New Mexico (7-3-9) had a great chance to win it in the fourth minute of the first overtime, but Paige Satterlee’s side swipe shot glanced off the bottom of the cross bar and came out.
Taking advantage of a freshening breeze increasing in his favor during the second half, New Mexico found a sense of urgency and repeatedly challenged SJSU goalkeeper Bente Perot, but could not find the net.
“I think it’s a group of people that didn’t want the season to end because they care about each other so much,” Dyche said of the Lobos’ second-half persistence. “They kind of found that fire in the second half and they played with it. Normally when you do that, you get a result.”
But Perot was also that fire, displaying inspired goalkeeping throughout the game, then continued it into the shootout.
UNM’s first shooter, Molly Myers tried to her right, but it got tangled up in Perot’s feet. After Karlee Maes and Jaelyn Hendren both successfully converted their shots, Perot was able to bat away Jadyn Edwards’ attempt at the left corner.
Meanwhile, Lobos goalkeeper Alli Davis was unable to stop any of the Spartans shooters, allowing SJSU to advance by a 4-2 count.
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“We’ve been on the other end of this so many times,” Dyche said. “You have to take it all in stride. You’re going to win some and you’re going to lose some. Candidly, I thought Boise State outplayed us in the second half last year and we won.”
Although it’s a bitter way to end the season, the Lobos still need to remember the accomplishments, she said.
“It’s got to be something that ignites a little bit of fire for the returners,” Dyche said. “And it has to be something that the seniors are proud of; that when they look back, they’re proud of how they played.”
It is the seventh time the teams have met in a conference tournament. Four of those matches have gone to overtime with two being decided by penalty kicks. SJSU holds an overall 5-2 edge in those tournament matchups.
New Mexico did set school records by extending its shutout streak to 602 minutes and six straight shutouts.
The Lobos had reached the finals in four consecutive conference championships (there was no official Mountain West tournament in the spring of 2021).
During the post-game huddle Dyche said she told the team “that I love them,” especially to the large group of eight seniors.
“There’s not really much that can be said of those guys that hasn’t been said. We’re here because of them. We won five championships in five seasons if you count regular season and post season. But it’s also…” Dyche paused to collect herself as a few tears escaped. “I just care about these kids.”
e9825c12 Unm Wsoc Box Score 1102 by on Scribd