Nov. 4, 2013
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M -
The University of Wyoming women's soccer team won its first-ever penalty-kick shootout, 4-2 over UNLV to advance to the second round of the Mountain West Tournament on Monday afternoon. Despite tying 1-1 at the end of regulation and throughout both overtime periods, UW was perfect on all four of their penalty kicks as sophomore goalkeeper Abby Lindsay made her first start as a Cowgirl and recorded save after save to help give UW its first postseason victory since 2011.
In the first MW tournament shootout since 2008, junior Kasey Curtis shot first for the Cowgirls after a Rebel miss and had no problem finding the back of the net, neither did senior Liz O'Reilly as she was able to give Wyoming a 2-0 lead. Before O'Reilly's attempt, Lindsay made the biggest save of the season on UNLV's second attempt to keep the shootout at 2-0. Junior Alison Clarke scored to give Wyoming the 3-1 advantage, while UNLV also scored on their fourth shot to close the gap to 3-2. Junior Kristin Howard made her attempt as Wyoming took the penalty-kick shootout 4-2 to seal the victory for the Cowgirls.
Wyoming got on the board first in the 35th minute from a goal by senior Lucie McDowell. Like she has done all year when given a little space, McDowell was able to make things happen and give the Cowgirls the early advantage. Junior forward Sara Paul passed it to McDowell who was able to find the back of the net. It was McDowell's 10th score of the season and Paul's eighth assist. Wyoming hasn't had a Cowgirl record 10 goals in a single-season since Mercy Adetoye achieved the feat in 2005.
"That was great to get that first goal, UW head coach Pete Cuadrado said. "It was huge for us. Sara played an awesome ball and Lucie was able to finish."
Wyoming was on the move from the get go and looked determined to take control early on. Both teams possessed great attacking as well as great defending throughout the first 45 minutes with great looks and similar scenarios offensively. UNLV recorded three more shots than the Cowgirls but McDowell's goal in the 35th minute was the only real difference. UW recorded five total shots compared to the Rebels' eight during the first half. Wyoming was able to keep UNLV from getting much going offensively as they went into halftime with the 1-0 lead.
The Cowgirls started the second half with the same mindset as the first, to be the aggressors and keep the pressure going. That they did until Rebel senior Jenn Wolfe scored the equalizer for UNLV in the 68th minute. The Rebels evened the score in the second half but the Cowgirls were able to control possession of the ball much of the second stanza as plenty more offensive opportunities arose while time in regulation wound down. UNLV ended with the advantage in shots during the second half, 6-4 and went into overtime leading 14-9.
"Our defense has been strong all year and they played great today," Cuadrado added. "I'm so happy for this team, especially with all the adversity we have faced this year with so many injuries. The motto has been all year that if someone goes down, the next person steps in and helps the team. We made some big plays and it's a great win. I think they deserved it."
Nothing was different for both teams as plenty of opportunities came about in the first overtime. Wyoming, being just as competitive as the Rebels, took three shots during the period and limited UNLV to zero. The second overtime was well defended by both squads. UW held the Rebels to two shots, as the Cowgirls were unable to record any.
Lindsay, making her first start as a Cowgirl stepped into the spotlight like it was nothing new. She recorded three of her four saves in the first half, while UNLV senior keeper Kylie Wassell had four total as well.
O'Reilly led the way for the Cowgirls with four shots. McDowell, Curtis and junior Loren Mahoney recorded two apiece for Wyoming during the match. UNLV's Wolfe led all players with six shots.
Wyoming moves on to face third-seeded Boise State tomorrow at 4 p.m. MT at the UNM Soccer Complex. Boise State defeated the Cowgirls earlier this season 2-1 in Boise, Idaho.