By DEREK GONZALES
The New Mexico State women’s soccer team finally returned home this week after a tough four-game road trip to start the season. The team opened up the season August 19th against UTEP and lost 5-0. The team then faced the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks in Flagstaff, Arizona and had a much improved team effort, though it did result in a close 1-0 loss.
The Aggies traveled to the Midwest and faced Valparaiso and the University of Illinois-Chicago in the final two games of the road swing. NMSU hung tight with Valparaiso on August 26th in Indiana, taking a 0-0 tie into intermission, but eventually succumbed to the Crusaders in the second half and lost 2-0.
“We calmed down and executed our game plan, but got riled up when they put the pressure on us,” head coach Freddy Delgado said, referring to the pressure the Crusaders put on NM State late in the first half and into the second. “We’re still a young team and still trying to find composure at the most difficult of times.”
NMSU faced UIC on August 28th and though they struggled defensively in the 4-1 loss, they were able to score their first goal of the season by way of a Holly Abdelkader penalty-kick. Second half struggles seem to be the theme of the team thus far, but is understandable with the amount of youth on the roster.
“I thought we adjusted pretty well in the first half,” Delgado said. “I was proud of our effort and how we kept fighting in the game. In the second half, we started off strong and got the goal, but then we had a mental let-down and allowed them to score. As a team, we’re still continuing to mature to not let our highs get too high or our lows get too low. We have to do a better job playing at our peak performance no matter the score, time, or opponent.”
After returning home to play Texas State and Wyoming this past weekend, the Aggies will be back on the road for a pair of games. On Friday, they will travel to Ogden, Utah to face Weber State out of the Big Sky Conference at 3:30 p.m. They will only get one day off before facing Idaho State on Sunday at one p.m. in Pocatello, Idaho.