Cowgirl Soccer's Best Season In Program History Ends In The MW Championship Match

Nov. 6, 2011

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -

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Playing in the programs first-ever Mountain West Championship game the Wyoming Cowgirl soccer team (12-6-4 overall) fell, 2-0, to the New Mexico Lobos (11-4-4 overall) on Sunday at Lobo Soccer Complex. The lost concludes the Cowgirls most historic season in team history, winning their first two MW tournament games and posting a season best 12 wins.

The first half of play was mostly controlled by New Mexico scoring on the first shot of the game. Nineteen seconds into the game, Jael Fanning crossed the ball into the Cowgirl goal box and it went just over the top of UW defender Jenny Johnson's foot and Natalie Jenks put her head to the ball putting it past the outstretched hands of keeper Courtney Merkle. The Jenks goal was the fastest goal scored in MW Tournament history. Following the goal UNM put three more shots on goal forcing Merkle to keep the ball out. Wyoming's Sydney Jones took its first shot on goal in the 14th minute with UNM keeper Kelli Cornell making the save. New Mexico put the next two shots on frame, but Merkle had the answer and kept the ball out. In the 27th minute, Friday's semifinal hero Carmen Blume took a shot from the top of the New Mexico penalty area, but it sailed wide of the net. Senior Allison Masumiya took Wyoming's next shot in the 37th minute with Cornell keeping the ball out. The Lobos were able to get off two more shots in the half, but neither threatened the UW net. At halftime the Cowgirls trailed the Lobos 1-0.

"It was a very disappointing to give up the early goal," Cowgirl head coach Danny Sanchez said. "I was pleased with how we responded after giving the goal."

The Cowgirls started the second half looking for the early equalizer. Masumiya took UW's first shot of the half three minutes in, but the ball was blocked by a UNM defender. New Mexico's Jennifer Williams put its first shot on goal in 50th minute with Merkle making the save. Two minutes later, UW's Sara Paul took a shot from inside the UNM box, but the ball sailed wide of the net. In the 56th minute, New Mexico put its next shot on goal, but Merkle made the play saving the ball. On the counter-attack, Ellen McCormick put a shot on frame for the Cowgirls with Cornell making the play to keep the ball out. In the next 20 minutes New Mexico took three shots, forcing Merkle to make a save on two. The Cowgirls next chances to score came in the 81st minute when Liz O'Reilly put a shot on goal that was saved by Cornell and Ashlyn Mazur put her head to the ball that went wide of the UNM net. Wyoming's final chance to score came in the 89th minute. Following a UNM foul the Cowgirls pushed all 11 players forward including Merkle and Sydney Jones took the free kick. Jones' free kick was blocked just outside of the UNM box and the rebound went to Lobo Williams who scored an open net goal in the 90th minute. The goal was the final play of the game giving the Lobos the MW Tournament Championship 2-0 over the Cowgirls.

"I thought we really played a lot better in the second half today," Sanchez added. "I am really proud of our effort today we battled well."

The Lobos outshot the Cowgirls 15-9 and put five more shots on goal at 10-5. Cowgirl Courtney Merkle had another excellent game making eight saves and allowing two goals, with the final goal coming from an open net score. Jones and Masumiya led UW in shots with two each.

With the conclusion of the MW Championship Tournament the participating coaches selected an All-MW Tournament Team with three Cowgirls earning the honors. Senior midfielder Masumiya and Juniors Ashlyn Mazur and Sydney Jones were honored by the MW coaches. All three players are defenders or primarily play defense. The Cowgirl defense allowed a goal-against average of 1.00, with one shutout in the tournament.

2011 Mountain West Women's Soccer All-Tournament Team:

Kelli Cornell, Jr., GK, New Mexico

Natalie Jenks, Jr., F, New Mexico

Roxie McFarland, Sr., D, New Mexico

Jennifer Williams, Sr., F, New Mexico

Marisa Fraticelli, Jr., MF, San Diego State

Rachael McGlinchy, Jr., D, San Diego State

Macy Jo Harrison, RS Jr., MF, UNLV

Katherine Orellana, Sr., F, UNLV

Sydney Jones, Jr., D, Wyoming

Allison Masumiya, Sr., D, Wyoming

Ashlyn Mazur, Jr., D, Wyoming Most Valuable Player: Jennifer Williams, Sr., F, New Mexico

"Ashlyn and Syd were rock solid during the tournament and Allison did a ton of work in the midfield for us," Sanchez said. "We are very pleased that they were recognized at the MW Tournament."

The loss concludes Wyoming soccer's best season in school history setting numerous records and earing major conference accolades. The Cowgirls set a season high win total of 12, breaking the previous high of 10 in 2003. The 2011 squad also set the best winning percentage in school history of 63 percent. Paul earned the Cowgirls first ever MW Freshman of the Year honors. Sanchez earned Wyoming soccer's second MW Coach of the Year honor and the first of his career. Also adding to the Cowgirls impressive season was Masumiya and Paul earning First Team All-MW honors and senior Kayla Davis earning Second Team All-MW. Goalkeeper Courtney Merkle set the Cowgirl single season record for goal-against average allowing 0.79 goals per game. Paul and Davis scored the third-most game-winning goals in a single season for the Cowgirls with three each.

"Overall I am very proud of this team," Sanchez added. "They really bought into everything we threw at them. We will miss our three seniors, but are excited for the future of Wyoming soccer."