By Nate Tenopir, Sports Editor
The UNO women’s soccer team suffered big second halves by their opponents and dropped two matches in their weekend trip to Colorado. After a scoreless first half on Friday and a 2-1 halftime lead on Sunday, the Mavs allowed seven total goals in the second halves of both games.
Though the Mavs kept Air Force off the board for the first 50 minutes of Friday night’s match, the Falcons used the final 40 minutes to get everything they needed. Eryn Avjian scored her third of the year from 12 yards out to put Air Force up 1-0 in the 51st minute.
Teammate Bridgett Murphy followed up Avjian’s marker with a rebound off the goalpost into the Maverick net in the 63rd minute. The Falcons’ McKenna Fox and Felicia Sturgeon would add goals of their own in the 71st and 90th minute, to finish off UNO 4-0.
Had the Mavs scored their shots on goal it still wouldn’t have been enough. UNO only had two shots on the Air Force net, compared to nine for the Falcons.
Senior Hilary Jackson and sophomore Katie Pickinpaugh had the Mavs only two shots on goal.
On Sunday UNO lost for the first time all season when scoring more than one goal. However, it was just the fourth time all year that the Mavs had been able to come up with a second goal.
Maggie Olson broke a 1-1 tie against the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs in 36th minute, heading in a rebound off a shot from teammate Danielle Archuleta. Archuleta’s shot glanced off the cross bar and came to Olson who scored her first of the year, sending the Mavs to a 2-1 halftime lead.
In the first 45 minutes the Mavs outshot the Mountain Lions 10-4 and came back from an own goal in the 20th minute. UCCS forward Julia Saenz sent a cross into the UNO box and the UNO defenders were unable to clear it, instead redirecting it into the Maverick goal.
UNO didn’t endure the deficit very long. Junior forward Bri Exstrom had control of the ball in the Mountain Lion penalty box when she was fouled on a shot attempt.
Exstrom was awarded the penalty kick and made good on the chance, evening the score at 1-1. With that all-important second goal in their back pocket, the Mavs opened the second half with a lead for the first time this season. All seemed well.
UNO could only hold the lead for the first 12 minutes of the second half. A corner kick in the 57th minute was headed into the Maverick net by UCCS defender Jenna Gist, to get the Mountain Lions even 2-2.
The match appeared headed toward overtime until UCCS’s Saenz burned the Mavs a second time. With less than seven minutes remaining in the game, Saenz found some space in the UNO box, dribbled in and scored on a shot from 10 yards out.
The Mavs outshot the Mountain Lions 15-9 and only trailed in shots on goal 6-7, but couldn’t add to the two goals from the first half.
“They (UCCS) came out harder than we did in the second half,” Anderson said. “They really started to put more pressure on us, and we didn’t react very well to that.
After playing seven straight games on the road, UNO will now be off until Oct. 20, when they finish off their eight game road trip in a match at Western Illinois.
The Mavs are at 3-6-2 on the year and only have three games left on the schedule. Though he feels his team has made progress in some areas, Anderson feels they’ll still be working on a lot of the same things in the final weeks of the season.
“Doing your job, taking pride in that job…making plays,” Anderson said. “It all goes into your commitment to it. I think that’s what we have to have in order to be successful in the next three games and carrying into next year.”