Featuring a slew of young players, the New Mexico Highlands University women’s soccer team is off to a competitive — if yet winless — start under first-year head coach Justin Wagar.
Returners include goalkeeper Shannon Delarosbil, field players Stephanie Devisser, Yolanda Elias, Amanda Piho, Aspen Proctor, Ashley Rosales and Caitlyn Syner.
A dozen freshmen and another half dozen sophomores are listed on a deep but youthful roster.
The Cowgirls had their first home showing of the season in front of a crowd of 300 fans with support from the Las Vegas City Youth Soccer League. The Cowgirls showed the crowd they are a different team than ever before with their speed and aggression on the field.
On Aug. 27 at West Texas A&M, NMHU stayed close most of the way with a solid Lady Buffs team before losing 3-0.
Both sides went nearly a half hour without a score. WTAMU’s Miriam Dominguez beat the defense and netted a goal from point-blank range — 3 yards away — after going one on one with Delarosbil in the 29th minute. A couple minutes later, Dominguez got another shot off. Delarosbil made the save, but on the rebound Adi Stein ripped a shot into the Cowgirl net.
Highlands regrouped and denied any more scoring in the half.
Dominguez notched her second goal in the 66th minute, taking a feed from Lindsay McHorse and putting the ball in from 6 yards out to beat backup goalie Lauren Waite.
Delarosbil was credited with two saves and Waite with five.
Mari Jorstad and Amanda Piho each tallied a shot on goal for Highlands.
Then on Sunday, the Cowgirls opened their home slate with a 2-0 loss to Augustana College before an estimated crowd of nearly 300 at Perkins Stadium.
An early penalty kick goal forced the Cowgirls to play catch-up throughout. Augustana’s Stephanie Goos did the honors at the 13:36 mark.
After that, NMHU enjoyed a strong first half, narrowly missing a tying goal on a couple of occasions but keeping the action largely on the Viking half of the pitch.
The positive play continued into the second half. In the final minute, Augustana’s Katie Shandri passed to Jessie Huff for an insurance goal from 5 yards out to make the final score 2-0.
Delarosbil and Waite split the game at goal and allowed one score each.
The Cowgirls had 17 shots and four shots on goal — two by Jessica Heninger and one apiece by Susannah Hertz and Krista Mashak.
The Cowgirls look for their first win when Midwestern State’s Mustangs visit at noon on Sept. 5.
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Robertson’s girls’ soccer team fell to 0-3 on the season after losing 2-0 against visiting Hope Christian on Saturday in town.
Coach Ray Parks said he was pleased with the effort of his lineup, playing shorthanded due to injury.
“That’s probably as good as we’ve played Hope,” he said. One goal, he pointed out, was aided by a gust of wind.
Parks praised goalkeeper Maggie Duran, who recorded six saves. Duran has just one year (JV) experience playing at keeper.