The New Mexico State soccer team concluded its home opening weekend with a 2-0 victory over Houston Baptist. The Aggies recorded their second consecutive shutout of the season. NM State improved to 2-2-0, while the Huskies moved to 1-3-0.
"It was a very competitive game," head coach Blair Quinn said. "Those are mostly games we are going to be in all year, where it's one goal or two goals and it's late in the game. We have to find a way to keep battling through it. Our first goal was a great goal. MK (Koziol) got a ball in the midfield and took a great touch to open up space and ripped that ball to the back post, and no one was going to save that. It was a great goal."
In the second half, the Aggies posted a 1-0 lead in the 59th minute when sophomore midfielder Mary Kate Koziol flew into the box and buried the ball into the net after a pass from senior forward Cassandra Branch. The score was the first of the season and third in her career for Koziol, and the assist was a career first for Branch.
The Aggies added an insurance goal on a corner kick in the 82nd minute to take a 2-0 advantage. Junior defeater Courtney Irwin scored on a header from Koziol. Irwin's goal was her first of 2011 and second of her career, while the assist was Koziol's first of the season and number three as an Aggie.
"We finally scored on a corner kick," Quinn said. "We have been working on that a lot since preseason. We have a couple different styles of corners, and we think they are both very dangerous. Irwin found space with no one around her, and she is not going to miss from there. She was inside the six and she buried it."
NM State outshot Houston Baptist, 29-4, in the match and, the Aggies had seven corner kicks. Sophomore goalkeeper Erin Wosick earned her second win and second shutout of the year with three saves.
At halftime, the Aggies and Huskies were tied 0-0. NM State had an 11-3 advantage in shots after 45 minutes of action. Junior forward Yolanda McMillion, freshman midfielder Katie Smith, freshman forward Katelynn Tupponce and junior forward Cassie De Leon led the Aggies with two shots each.
The Aggies return to the road for the Adidas Gamecock Classic, Sept. 2 and 4 in Jacksonville, Ala. NM State meets tournament host Jacksonville State, Friday, Sept. 2 at 6:30 p.m. and then Tennessee Tech, Sunday, Sept. 4 at noon.