PHOENIX — After playing New Mexico State to a 1-1 double-overtime tie, Utah Valley advanced to Saturday’s WAC Tournament championship match in a penalty kick shootout against the Aggies, 4-3.
“The first day that I took this job. I explained to the players that I wasn’t going to judge them solely based on results, but I was going to judge them day in and day out on,” said Utah Valley head coach Chris Lemay. “Did they play to their potential? Did they give their all physically and mentally? Today we didn’t do that. There have been games since I’ve been here where we’ve lost and I’ve been very, very proud of the group. Today is not one of those days. We were fortunate to get away with the result, but we certainly didn’t earn it. I’m looking forward to putting out a different product on the field on Saturday.”
Utah Valley opened the game with a goal in the first minute of the match as Nicole Ray sent a pass on the left side of the field to Sadie Brockbank. Brockbank then sent a ball to the front of the goal where Heather Stainbrook fired the ball into the back of the net to give the Wolverines an early 1-0 lead.
New Mexico State scored the equalizer in the 21st minute after Corey Kizer raced down the field and received a long pass from Hannah Leitner dribbled once inside the box and then sent the ball into the goal to tie things up, 1-1.
After playing to a 1-1 draw in regulation, the teams battled through a pair of overtime period without finding the back of the net. The teams were then forced to decide the match in a penalty kick shootout.
Utah Valley goalie Isabel Jones-Dawe picked up a pair of impressive saves against NM State’s first two shooters. The Wolverines took advantage with four made picks by Sydney Bushman, Nicole Olanda, Stainbrook, and Cassidy McCormick to win the shootout and secure the team a spot in Saturday’s tournament championship match.
Utah Valley outshot NM State 24-11 on the day, including a 12-6 advantage on goal. Stainbrook and Brockbank led UVU with six shots apiece, including three each on frame. London Miller had five shots with one on net, while Amber Tripp had three shots, all on goal.
Jones-Dawe tallied five saves in the box in 110 minutes of action before coming through with a pair of big saves in the shootout.
Utah Valley now moves on to the tournament championship match on Saturday against the winner of tonight’s match between No. 2 Seattle U and No. 3 Grand Canyon. Saturday’s match will kickoff at 3 p.m. MDT and will be broadcast on ESPN+.