UNLV women’s soccer loses close game to LMU

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Midfielder Michell Madrid is greeted by her teammates at pregame introductions at UNLV women's soccer game against LMU on Thursday. Photo by Jordan Anders-McClain.

UNLV women’s soccer lost to the Loyola Marymount University Lions 2-1 in a tightly contested game decided by a penalty.

The game started slowly with the Lions having the edge in possession.

The game picked up when LMU’s Sarah Murphy intercepted a pass and made a run down the right flank. UNLV’s defense cut off Murphy, but a shot eventually fell to LMU’s Makayla Demelo, who had her shot saved by UNLV goalkeeper Riley Liebsack.

The Rebels began to pick up the pace and forced a corner kick in the 9th minute. UNLV’s Viviana Cera got a shot from the corner that went wide left.

LMU responded and would have scored through Madison Werner, but she hit her shot straight at Liebsack for the save.

Werner made up for the miss by opening the scoring in the 25th minute. LMU’s Amber McCorkle made a great through pass to Werner to make it 1-0.

The Lions began to dominantly control possession, but the Rebels’ persistence paid off. In the 32nd minute, a corner kick for the Rebels resulted in a tap-in for Alysa Caso to level the score at 1-1.

As the first half came to an end, UNLV’s Kylie Camp received the only yellow card of the game, and a long spell of possession for the Rebels ended in an off-target shot by Haley Halbersma.  

The first half ended 1-1.

Despite the Rebels starting the second half stronger than the first, neither team seized the advantage early on.

An opportunity did fall to the Lions in the 62nd minute after they gained a corner kick. McCorkle saw her first shot blocked and the second easily saved by Liebsack.

The drama picked up in the 71st minute when the Lions were awarded a penalty for a foul in the box. Alice Santen stepped up to take the kick and scored to put the Lions up 2-1.

The Rebels reacted positively as they immediately pushed for an equalizer. Jules Dominguez had her shot saved by LMU goalkeeper Amanda Delgado.

The substitutions flooded in for both teams as the Rebels pushed for a goal and the Lions attempted to deny them.

A final flurry from the Rebels saw a shot from Cera saved, which ended the match at 2-1.

The loss for the Rebels drops their record to 1-5. However, a positive for the Rebels is they broke a strong Lions defense that had not conceded a goal this season.

The Rebels also received two pieces of good news before the game, the first being that Liebsack had won the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week.

Liebsack starred in the Rebels’ only win of the season against the Eastern Washington Eagles. She earned her fifth career shutout and saved all five of the Eagles’ shots on goal in a 2-0 victory.

The second piece of news was that the UNLV Rebels Soccer Foundation pledged $125,000 toward UNLV’s men’s and women’s soccer programs over the next three years.

“We’re very fortunate at UNLV to have passionate alumni and supporters who are earnest in their desire to create the best student-athlete experience,” UNLV Athletic Director Erick Harper said in a press release. “I want to acknowledge and thank the UNLV Soccer Foundation for their incredible support.”

The UNLV Rebels Soccer Foundation has a 40-year history of ensuring UNLV’s soccer programs remain competitive by having world-class facilities.

“We thank the UNLV Rebel Soccer Foundation for their continued outpouring of generosity and support for both programs,” UNLV women’s soccer head coach Jenny Ruiz-Williams said in a press release. “We’re excited to be able to add additional tools to improve analysis and performance.”

According to the press release, this donation will help towards acquiring items, equipment, and training tools that will enhance the student-athlete experience.

Up next, the Rebels will remain at home for their next two games against the Idaho State University Bengals on Sep. 11 at 1 p.m. and the California Golden Bears on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

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