On a night where Utah Valley celebrated the 80th anniversary of the school opening its doors, the women’s soccer team rolled to a 2-0 victory over the New Mexico State Aggies on Sept. 25 at Clyde Field in front of a raucous homecoming crowd.
As part of the homecoming festivities, a giant “80”-shaped cake was wheeled out for a photo op at midfield with President Astrid Tuminez, the Green Man Group, the UVU cheer and dance squads, and many other staff and alumni.
Forwards Nicole Ray and Sadie Brockbank scored a goal apiece, while forward Julie Carter pitched in two assists and midfielder Heather Stainbrook added another. Goalkeeper Brooklyn Nielsen had two saves en route to her second straight clean sheet and sixth overall. The Wolverines out-shot the Aggies 20-8 and 11-2 on goal.
“It’s a big focus for us, to try and get as many shutouts as possible,” said UVU head coach Chris Lemay. “If we can do our job defensively, we feel like we’re talented enough to find a couple of goals. I was really happy with our attacking attitude tonight. We were very dangerous getting forward in creating as many chances as we could and scored a couple of really nice goals.”
The Wolverines had their foot on the gas from the start, and nearly got a goal in the seventh minute off of a penalty. Midfielder Breanna Dewaal latched onto a long pass from defender Sydney Bushman and broke free into the penalty area, but was brought down by NMSU goalie Makenna Gottschalk, who was shown a yellow card. Gottschalk immediately redeemed herself by saving Stainbrook’s spot kick, keeping UVU off the board.
UVU got on the board in the 30th minute on a great team goal set up by Brockbank and Carter. Carter played a pass forward for Brockbank, who delivered a perfect cross right to Ray, who snuck her header just inside the far post.
Following intermission, the Wolverines had a flurry of scoring chances, but were unable to find the back of the net on any of them. The closest came in the 51st minute when Stainbrook’s shot beat the keeper, but hit the woodwork and bounced out. Nielsen made a diving save on one of the few times she was tested just moments later to preserve the shutout.
UVU doubled its lead in the 60th minute when Stainbrook was able to pass through a double team and find Brockbank, who fired her shot into the bottom-left corner. Dewaal nearly added another in the 69th minute, but her shot deflected off both the keeper and the post before
going out of play.
The Wolverines have now gone unbeaten in four consecutive home matches, recording clean sheets in all four. The last goal UVU allowed at home was on Aug. 28 against USC in the 86th minute of that contest. The Wolverines have now gone roughly 374 minutes of game time since allowing their last goal at home.
UVU will continue WAC play on Oct. 2 when they welcome the Dixie State Trailblazers to Clyde Field to renew the Old Hammer Rivalry. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. MDT and the match can be streamed on ESPN+.