Tying an opponent is supposed to be akin to kissing your sister. You don’t get much out of it.
That’s not the case, though, for the New Mexico Highlands women’s soccer team, which forged a 1-1 tie with Metro State College of Denver — the No. 3 ranked team in NCAA Division II — on Sunday at Perkins Stadium.
Going the distance with the third-ranked team in the country? A tie feels pretty good to the Cowgirls.
It was the first time in six matches this season that the Roadrunners (5-0-1) had not left the field victorious. Metro is expected to contend for a national championship this season.
Highlands improved to 3-2-1 under second-year head coach Justin Wagar.
Metro appeared to be headed to a decisive win after getting a score in the opening minutes of the match.
The Roadrunners assumed control early, and Aleah DeGeneres punched the ball past Shannon Delarosbil just four minutes and 27 seconds in.
Then the Cowgirl defense — the team’s strength much of the last couple seasons — rose to the occasion, limiting clean shooting opportunities and preventing any more goals in the half — and beyond.
Early in the second half, Highlands squared the match when Julissa Rodriguez passed to Tierra Saban for a goal. At the 50:50 mark, it was 1-1.
Holding Metro to 11 shots — six on goal — through 90 minutes, the Cowgirls forced overtime. NMHU actually outshot its heralded visitor three to one in the first of two extra sessions, but neither squad managed to net the game-winner.
Rodriguez led Highlands with three shots on goal. Delarosbil had five saves in 110 minutes of work, including one in the second overtime that denied a Roadrunner victory.
Highlands is at Adams State on Wednesday afternoon.