By Brianne Ebel Contributor, Nate Tenopir Sports Editor
If it was a boxing match, the ref probably would have called it early. Utah State came to Omaha as a 2011 NCAA tournament team, and the clear favorite to dominate the match.
But the Mavs absorbed the Aggies’ best shots, both literally and figuratively, and kept coming.
Utah State got the first goal, but UNO answered back to tie it. The Aggies fired off 6 shots in the first 45 minutes, but the Mavs had 6 of their own and the better chances on goal.
A UNO player was carted off the pitch and taken away in an ambulance.
Hard tackles and rough challenges marked the first half. Bigger, taller Utah State pushed the Mavs around, but UNO had the game even at halftime.
It would take a mistake from the Mavs for Utah State to get the knockout. In the 75th minute, goalkeeper Meaghan Clark misplayed a ball in the penalty area. The Aggies took advantage and scored the ball on an empty net. Utah State added another score four minutes later and dropped UNO to 0-3 on the year.
“That’s the part that really kills me,” Monica Bosiljevac said about the mistake.
“It’s just a lot of times if we get a breakdown other teams really capitalize on our mistakes, and we need to do the same thing and put away those goals on our chances. We’re just not at that stage yet.”
When Bosiljevac scored to even the match at 1-1 in the 21st minute, it appeared the Mavs had made that step. Seven minutes prior, a backwards pass to an open area found the foot of the Aggies Mari Miyashiro.
UNO defender Kerry Pivovar chased Miyashiro down. But not before she could chip it over an oncoming Clark into the back of the Maverick net from 25 yards out.
Moments later, Freshman Hannah Wampler was taken down just outside the Utah State box, but UNO could not score the free kick. Wampler gave her team a second opportunity when the Aggie keeper undercut her in the penalty area the next time down.
Utah State goalkeeper Ashlyn Mulford was given a yellow card, and Bosiljevac scored on the ensuing penalty kick.
“PK’s for me, I hate taking them,” Bosiljevac said. “I’ll do it and put it away but you always have that thought in your mind ‘if I miss this we’re screwed’ [and] you just gave away a free chance.”
Bosiljevac’s goal looked to have put the momentum back in the Mavs’ favor. But five minutes later the team had to stop and watch as Katlyn Nimtz was taken away in an ambulance.
Nimtz and Aggie defender Brooke Larsen battled for a loose ball near the Utah State penalty area. Nimtz won possession but Larsen had a hard tackle on the ball. Nimtz flew forward onto her shoulder and rolled forward a few times. She remained on the ground for 20 minutes until she was put in a neck brace and taken to a waiting ambulance.
Early reports were that Nimtz had temporarily lost consciousness and had some soreness in her back. Eventually she came to and had feeling in all of her extremities.
“It was a long time and I think long breaks like that always affect a team in one way or another” Bosiljevac said about Nimtz’s injury. “It falls on the individuals to decide how it’s going to go and influence the rest of the team. I think we still came out pretty strong after she went down.”
The two teams went into half with a tie and it appeared the match would end that way until Clark’s mistake in the 75th minute. The Mavs goalkeeper tried to clear a ball but kicked it right at an approaching Miyashiro.
The ball deflected back to Clark who tried unsuccessfully to cover it on the ground. Miyashiro slipped it pass Clark and had a wide open net to dribble it into, scoring her second of the match for a 2-1 Utah State lead.
A corner kick four minutes later was crossed to Danielle Gaztimbide who scored to make the final 3-1 Aggies.
Had there not have been a mistake and a second goal there probably wouldn’t have been a third goal either.
“I don’t think it would have [been scored],” Bosiljevac said. “I think we would have held them off a little longer. If not to get a 2-1 win, we would have at least got the tie.”
Against an NCAA Tournament team, a tie may have been as good as a win.
“It would have at least been a step forward from what we’ve been posting as results,” Bosiljevac said.
But instead, UNO is left with another loss after an opponent scored late goals to seal the win. The Mavs gave up two second half goals in the season-opening loss to Iowa State, three second half goals to Missouri State on Friday and now two more to Utah State on Sunday.
“That’s what we’ve been doing to these teams,” head coach Dan Klosterman said. “We play really, really, really hard and work really, really hard and give away a bad goal. We’ve just got to get ourselves to where we can play 45 minutes, and it’s hard on these guys.”
“We’ve got such few numbers that they work, work, work themselves in the first half [and] play great then there’s nothing left in the second half, and we’ll get a mistake and it’s killer.”