But break through, they did.
senior forward Nicole Hadlock broke through Nevada’s defense for the game’s only goal in the 74th minute to lead the Aggies to a 1–0 victory in the team’s first game at Mountain West.
“Proud of the team’s performance today”, head coach Manny Martins said. “We started fast and finished strong against a good team with a lot of energy in a difficult place to get results.”
USU came out with a strong first half, generating a shot on goal just 18 seconds after kick-off. The Aggies kept up the pressure for the first 45 minutes, beating Nevada 9-3 in the first half. However, both defenses held firm.
As in USU’s two previous matches against BYU and Northern Colorado, the state of Utah responded to the goalless first-half draw, going out in force after the break. The Aggies recorded the first nine shots of the second period, but failed to break the tie in the 25th minute of the second half.
In the 74th minute, USU went down the right flank of the Wolf Pack defense as a junior London Miller found the second year Tenzi Knowles along the right sideline. Knowles then picked Hadlock running behind Nevada’s back line. Seeing Nevada’s Kendal Stovall off the goal line, Hadlock kicked on his first touch, lifting his shot out of range and into the net.
USU had a 21-4 lead in total shots for the match, including an 8-2 lead in shots on goal. The Wolf Pack almost took their chances late in the match, but an apparent corner goal was canceled due to a foul by Nevada. The Aggies managed to fend off the opposing attack for the full 90 minutes to secure the victory.
“We’ve started the last few games a little slow and we’ve been very deliberate in our preparation this week to improve that,” Martins said. “Our first opportunity came after 20 seconds of play and we managed to maintain that pace and quality for most of the 90 minutes.”
With his first goal of the season, Hadlock becomes the 10thº USU’s top scorer of the year. Meanwhile, Knowles’ became the 15thº player to record an assist this season. The Aggies now have 20 players who have logged at least one point.
Hadlock’s goal also makes three straight games where Utah State scored a tying or winning goal in the last 17 minutes of the match. Junior Whitney Lopez scored an equalizing goal in the 83rd minute of USU’s 1-1 draw against BYU, while Miller scored the winning goal in the 73rd minuterd minute during the Aggies’ 1-0 win in northern Colorado. In all, Utah State has five of those goals this season.
freshman goalkeeper McKenzie Hunninghake, making his second career as a starter in goal, recorded two saves in his second consecutive shutout. Hunninghake is the first Aggie goalkeeper to record eliminations in each of her first two starts since Grace McGuire in 2016.
With the win, the state of Utah moves to 4-2-4 for the season and claims the top spot in the conference alongside the state of Colorado as the only two teams to win their opening MW match.
USU remains at the center of conference action Sunday, September 25 at 1:00 pm ET when it hosts UNLV at Chuck & Gloria Bell Field.
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