Freedom New Mexico
The Eastern New Mexico University men’s soccer team is making a habit of beating rival West Texas A&M at home.
Junior midfielder Kal Herbert dribbled in from the left side and beat goalkeeper Sebastian Furness with just under four minutes left in regulation Sunday to give ENMU a 1-0 victory over the Buffaloes, its third home win over WT in the last four years. It was the Lone Star Conference opener for both teams and kept the Greyhounds, ranked 24th in NCAA Division II, unbeaten for the season at 3-0-1.
“It’s always a big win when you can beat WT,” fourth-year ENMU men’s coach Harold Munoz said.
In the first half of the doubleheader, ENMU’s women defeated Southwestern Oklahoma 4-0 for their first win in three outings.
The Hounds were ranked as high as a tie for 17th last year, but lost senior standout Emerson Rodrigues to injury shortly after that and, combined with playing the meat of the schedule, they struggled the rest of the way.
“We weren’t very deep,” Munoz said. “This year, we’re a deeper team. The goals are more spread out on the team.”
WT (0-2), which had the only shot on goal in the first half, appeared to take the lead midway through the second stanza but Wayne Burton’s tally was nullified by an offsides penalty.
“Basically, I thought they were the better team for the first part of the second half, and then we leveled it off,” Munoz said.
He said sophomore midfielder Julian Roberts, who assisted on Herbert’s goal, and junior defender Michael Stewart had strong games.
The Buffs get a quick rematch — they host ENMU at 6 p.m. (MDT) on Friday. The Hounds are now 3-4-1 all-time at home against WT, but 0-7 at Canyon, Texas.
“It’ll be a different story over there,” Munoz said. “It’ll be a very tough game.”
Freshman forward Paola Loya had a goal and two assists to help the Zias (1-2) get into the victory column. ENMU scored two early goals, including freshman midfielder Alyssa Prinse’s tally less than 2 1/2 minutes in, and added its final two goals in the last eight minutes.
“We had a good performance,” first-year Zias coach Todd Padgett said. “We have to keep it in perspective. It’s only one game, and we have a long way to go to reach our goals.”
Padgett said the Zias have played well enough to win each of their matches, but absorbed one-goal losses in their previous outings.
“We’ve had the better of the possessions in every game so far,” he said. “Finally, against Southwestern Oklahoma, we were a little more ‘clinical.’”
Southwestern Oklahoma (1-2-1), a member of the LSC until this year, did not manage a shot on goal. Padgett singled out junior defender Emily Simon for her play against the Lady Bulldogs.
“Defensively, we are very, very strong,” he said.