LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The UMKC women’s soccer team (11-6-1, 6-0 WAC) came away with a 1-0 win over New Mexico State (9-8-2, 3-2-1 WAC) in Sunday afternoon’s match. The victory was the team’s seventh consecutive win and secured the top seed in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament for the Roos.
With the number one seed in the conference tournament locked up with today’s win, UMKC will have to wait until next weekend to clinch the WAC regular season championship. A loss or draw for Utah Valley against Seattle will crown the Roos champions, as will a UMKC win over Chicago State.
UMKC looked like a team determined to keep their unbeaten conference record intact as they controlled the pace from opening kick to the final whistle. The Roos held a dominant 27-9 advantage in shots and also held a 13-3 edge in shots on goal and 12-5 advantage in corner kicks.
“Very proud of the mentality that our team came out with in the game today,” noted head coach Chris Cissell. “We logged a lot of travel in a short amount of time after Friday’s match but that didn’t take away from their focus and energy today, which was great to see.”
The Roos worked into several quality scoring looks early in the contest but Aggies goalkeeper Dmitri Fong made a number of impressive saves to keep UMKC off the board. She finished with twelve saves on the Roos’ 13 shots on goal.
UMKC finally broke through near the end of the first half to seize control of the match. Freshman midfielder Hayden Burnett (Wichita, Kan.) set the stage for the score with a beautiful corner kick sent just in front of the net. Lexie Howard (Kearney, Mo.), fought through multiple defenders to gain position under the ball and delivered a powerful header from close range to give the Roos a 1-0 lead.
The goal, which came at the 33:26 mark, was Howard’s tenth of the season and was her second consecutive game with a score. Both goals on the weekend served as game-winners, giving her five on the year. She fiinished the game with six shots and three shots on goal. The two-goal weekend for Howard helps solidify for her case for the WAC Offensive Player of the Year award.
The Roos were unable to tally another score the rest of the contest but Howard’s header was all the team would need to hang on for their sixth conference victory of the 2017 campaign. The UMKC defensive line was absolutely terrific in shutting down a dangerous New Mexico State offense, who entered the weekend as the WAC leader in goals scored.
The relentless team defense completely kept New Mexico State in check over the course of the game, allowing them to generate only a few quality attacks and just three shots on goal. The clean sheet against the Aggies marked the tenth shutout of the season for the Roos and their fifth shutout in conference play.
Erin Roth (Eureka, Mo.) was the starter in goal for the Roos, improving her record to 5-1-1 on the season which includes a 3-0 record in conference. The sophomore keeper made three saves on the afternoon and collected her fifth shutout of the season. Roth’s shutout streak improves to a remarkable five games.
“Major contributions from everyone on the team made today’s victory possible, much like it has throughout the entire season,” commented Cissell. “Every player that traveled with the exception of our second keeper got into the game and helped out. Lexie made a fantastic effort on her header but everyone pitched in on a great team performance against one of the best teams in the conference.”
The Roos will close out the regular season with a road contest at Chicago State (1-18, 0-6 WAC) on Saturday, Oct. 28 at 1 p.m. CT. UMKC will look to improve its winning streak to eight games and finish out the conference slate with a perfect 7-0 record. Live Stats will be provided for the match.
– UMKC –