Cowgirls Head to San Diego, Albquerque to Open MW Soccer Season
LARAMIE – The Cowgirl soccer team will open a four-game road swing and Mountain West Conference action on Friday, against the San Diego State Aztecs followed by an afternoon match on Sunday against the New Mexico Lobos. Friday’s match is set for 8 p.m. MT while a 12:30 p.m. time is set for Sunday.
Wyoming enters the week with a 5-1-2 record after a 2-1 win over Southern Utah last Friday. The five non-conference wins were the most since the 2012 season when they won seven. They will enter MW play at .500 or better for the fourth straight season. Wyoming is 29-26-6 in six seasons under head coach Pete Cuadrado. He is 3-2-1 in Mountain West openers.
Senior Annika Clayton and freshman Sekoya Romero lead the way with two goals each while Clayton has a team high 21 shots, which ranks sixth in the MW. Six other Cowgirls on the roster have recorded one goal in eight games while seven different Cowgirls have one assist each.
The Cowgirl offense ranks second in shots with 14.00 per game and fourth in goals and points per game. UW takes fewer shots that UNLV who average 16.78 shots per game. They have a 45.5 shots on goal percentage and have taken 29 corner kicks compared to 19 by their opponents.
Junior Cristina Salazar has played all eight games in net, has 21 saves and a 0.94 goals against average, which is fifth in the MW. She is also second in the league with three shutouts. Freshman Hannah Lee has played in four games and has 11 saves and one shutout. Senior defender Taylor Burton has logged 748 minutes of the 763 played by the Cowgirls including all 90 four times, 93 once and 110 minutes twice.
“Our opening pair of games for Mountain West play will be a challenging one,” head coach Pete Cuadrado said. “Our first match with SDSU will present more than their record may suggest. They have played some quality opponents, so we will need to come out and stick to a game plan in order to get the result at their place.
“We have been able to develop some good depth so far, and are seeing some good progress tactically from the team. With each of the next two opponents playing different styles we should be prepared to deal with both teams. In the end, this is the time of year we prepare for and we’re looking to see that hard work pay off.”
San Diego State enters conference play with a 2-6-0 record and are on a three match losing streak. Last time out, they dropped a 3-0 contest with the eighth ranked UCLA Bruins. They received four first place votes, 112 points and were picked to finish first in the MW preseason poll.
The Aztecs return eight starters and 12 starters to a team that went 12-8-2 overall and 7-2-2 to finish second in the league a season ago. They went 2-0 in the conference tournament to take home the title. Their leading goal scorer returns in sophomore Mia Root. She recorded ten goals while taking 50 shots.
This will be the 23rd meeting between the two schools. San Diego State leads the series 16-4-2 and has won the last four out of five. The last time the two teams met was Oct. 27, 2017. The Aztecs took a 2-1 victory in San Diego. The Cowgirls are 0-10-0 in road contests against SDSU. The last win for UW came on Oct. 13, 2013 with a 2-1 victory in Laramie.
New Mexico comes in to the contest 4-3-0 overall and riding a two match winning streak. Last time out, they defeated New Mexico State, 1-0. The Lobos were picked fifth in the MW Coaches Poll.
Alesia Garcia is leading the way with four goals and eight points followed by Jessie Hix with three goals. Goalkeeper Emily Johnson has competed in six games, has 25 saves and a 1.40 goals against average. As a team, UNM is averaging 13.7 shots and 1.86 goals scored per game.
This will be the 29th game between the two schools. The Lobos lead the series 15-8-5. The last time the two squads met was October 17, 2017 with New Mexico coming out on top 3-2 in Laramie. The Cowgirls are 4-7-1 in Albuquerque. Wyoming’s last victory on the road came on Oct. 21, 2016 with a 3-0 victory.