Late equalizer denies women’s soccer win

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Scarlet & Gray Free Press Stock: UNLV women's soccer midfielder Jules Dominguez makes a pass for the Rebels in an earlier game in the 2022 season. Photo by Jordan Anders-McClain.

The UNLV women’s soccer team was denied a crucial win after a late goal by the Colorado College Tigers leveled the score to 1-1 on Thursday.

The win for the Rebels would have seen them match the Tigers’ conference record and put them within striking distance of the sixth and final spot for the Mountain West tournament. That spot is currently held by the Boise State Broncos. 

“We still pick up points, but now everything has to go our way,” head coach Jenny Ruiz-Williams said after the game.

Early on, both teams had their chances. The clearest one fell to the Tigers in the 15th minute when UNLV goalkeeper Riley Liebsack was forced into a save after Colorado College’s Gracie Huebner hit a powerful shot toward the bottom right of the goal. 

At the 37th-minute mark, the Rebels opened the scoring. Kaitlyn Kowalchuk found Savannah Nichols on the right wing and Nichols beat one defender and crossed the ball into the box for Mallie Ramirez to finish.

The Tigers upped the intensity of their attack in the final eight minutes of the first half, but the score remained 1-0 to UNLV at halftime.

In the second half, the Tigers continued to pile the pressure onto the Rebels. The Tigers had eight of their 13 shots in the second half.

The Rebels defended intensely, which was exhibited by their eight fouls in the second half compared to none by the Tigers.

It looked like the Rebels would take all three points with a win, but their defense faltered in the 89th minute. The Tigers snatched a late equalizer through Haley Williams to end the game at 1-1.

Ruiz-Williams was visibly upset following the conclusion of the game.

“So gutted right now,” Ruiz-Williams said. “We really needed to, like, maximize our points, so yeah I’m super gutted for the group and for just all of us.”

The Rebels (4-9-4, 2-3-4)  currently have 10 points, which means they are three points away from the final Mountain West tournament spot. The Tigers (6-5-5, 3-2-4) currently have 13 points and sit in a tie with Boise State for sixth place.  

Up next, the Rebels will play their final two games of the season at home. First, they take on the Air Force on Oct. 23. Then, the Rebels will finish off the season against rivals UNR on Thursday at 7 p.m.

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