LARAMIE, Wyo. – After falling behind 2-0, UW soccer responded with four unanswered goals for a comeback victory over Air Force, 4-2, on Friday evening.
Junior midfielder Summer Halle played the game of her career against the Air Force Falcons (6-5-1, 2-3-0 MW), notching three goals for her first-career hat trick. Entering the game, Halle had scored one goal in her Cowgirl career and none this season. Friday’s match also marked the first comeback victory of the season for the Cowgirls.
Wyoming (6-6-1, 2-3-0 MW) outshot Air Force 19-5, but the Falcons jumped out to an early lead by converting on their first two shots of the game. After Air Force’s second goal in the 29th minute, UW responded. In less than 30 seconds, the Cowgirls cut the deficit in half after senior forward Anne Hinman headed a ball on to Halle, who placed her shot to the lower left corner. Air Force would hold onto its 2-1 heading into the break.
The second half belonged to the Cowgirls, who completely shut down the Falcons on offense and put together their highest scoring half of soccer this season. UW held Air Force to zero shots while tallying 10 of its own, producing three goals. The first score came less than eight minutes into the second frame, when a one-touch pass from sophomore midfielder Annika Clayton left Halle one-on-one with the Falcons goalkeeper. Halle calmly put her shot past Jennifer Hiddink to equalize for the Cowgirls.
The score remained at 2-2 for much of the second half, until freshman forward Michaela Stark found a loose ball in the box after Hiddink left her line. Stark made the most of her opportunity and fired her shot into the back of the net to give UW the lead. Just over a minute later, Halle capped off the scoring with her third goal after junior defender Alisha Bass flicked on a header that gave Halle time to finish.
“Getting a comeback win is huge,” UW head coach Pete Cuadrado said. “Scoring a goal right after going down 2-0 gave us hope, and our character and pride showed. Getting a couple players back also helped us, and Annika [Clayton] gets an assist in her first game back, so we’ll take that too. Summer [Halle] has played well her whole career, really fought hard, and to see her finally get rewarded is a great thing for her.”
Halle’s hat trick marks the first since junior forward Shaina Ashouri netted three goals against Idaho State last season in a 3-0 win. Stark is now the team-leader in scoring and total points, with four goals and nine points. Senior defender Sammi Dunda also earned an assist on Halle’s second goal, and now leads the Cowgirls with three assists.
Wyoming closes out its four-game homestand on Sunday against Colorado College. The Cowgirls will square off with the Tigers at 1 p.m. MT at the Louis S. Madrid Sports Complex. The live stream will be available through GoWyo.com, and will also be available for viewing on the Mountain West Network at TheMW.com and on Campus Insiders at CampusInsiders.com. Live stats are available at GoWyo.com. Follow the Cowgirls on Twitter (@WYOSOCCER) for live updates throughout the match.