Gunnison, Col. Western Colorado Women’s Soccer put on a stunning performance in the lights and often in the rain Friday night at Katy O. Rady Field, earning the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference a 5-0 win over visiting New Mexico Highlands University.
Five different players scored for the Mountaineers while allowing a total of just nine shots for the Cowgirls in a win that’s the biggest winning margin since a 7-0 win over Black Hills State University on Sept. 15, 2017.
JUST THE FACTS, (MAD) JACK
Final score: Def. western. NM Highlands, 5-0
Recordings: West 4-5-1 (2-2 RMAC), Highlands 0-9 (0-5)
Location: Katy O. Rady Field, Gunnison, Colo.
HOW DID IT HAPPEN
- Offside, offside, offside. Western controlled the pace of the game early on, playing and connecting faster than Highlands could back down, but that passing speed and connectivity was offset by several times the attack earned offside calls – eight times in the first 30 minutes, including four calls over just over three minutes.
- It was only a matter of time, however, and finally, in the 36th minute, Western lit up the scoreboard.
- A nice transition from his defensive third shot through midfield to the right where Reece Mercer drove the touchline deep into the corner. She shoved a cross into the box towards Kylee Smith who overshot her mark and set up a perfect setup for Taylor Bottoms who then fired a shot into the bottom right corner to open the scoring with what would become the winning goal.
- After that first score, the Mountaineers came back to their third attack with another dangerous scoring chance just over seven minutes later.
- Bottoms scored a second goal from the top of the box, but that shot was blocked and bounced well beyond the penalty arc. He was recovered by Alex Mason who managed to push a pass to his right. Laura Pelino got past her defender and fired a Carli Lloyd-like shot from 30 yards that climbed into the top right corner for her first goal of the season. The goal in the 43rd gave Western a 2-0 halftime lead.
- With the Mountaineers dominating ball possession – spending almost 70% of the game in their attacking half of the field – it’s no surprise that more goals have found the back of the net for the Highlands.
- Smith, on a pass from Mercer, scored in the 69th, followed five minutes later by a Hadley Collins goal with Mercer adding another pass. Four minutes later, it was Caileen Sienknecht who added to the tally, fending off one at home thanks to an assist from Natasha Kasozi.
- Backline defenders in front of goaltender Aubree Orosco limited the Cowgirls’ attacking options. Highlands had a shot in the first half – against Western’s 14 – that was off target. With the game almost decided in the second half, the Cowgirls recorded nine shots, four of which hit the frame where Orosco made saves on each to secure the shutout.
- Orosco is now 3-3 between the posts after six starts.
- Bottoms’ game-winner was his second goal of the season, but scores from Pelino, Smith, Collins and Sienknecht were each their first scorers of the year.
- Seven climbers recorded shots in the contest, led by Bottoms’ four.
Western hosts Colorado Christian University at Rady Field on Sunday for a 1 p.m. conference battle. The Cougars on Friday afternoon gave up a 3-1 decision to host Fort Lewis College.