Villanueva completes comeback against Wyoming with late goal

Haley Halbersma (30) prepares to deliever the ball ahead of her awaiting teammate on Sept. 3, 2023 at Peter Johann Soccer Field in Las Vegas, Nev. Photo by Kalin Sipes

The Rebels defeated Wyoming on the road 2-1 on Sept. 21 in a late comeback fueled by Cassie Villanueva and Mallie Ramirez to improve its record to 5-2-3.

The Rebels fell short just six minutes into the game with a low strike from Maddie Chance. However, the Rebels never gave up, and their efforts would lead to an equalizer 18 minutes into the second half. The Rebels scored the game-winner in the closing minutes with a pass from Trinity Buchanan to Cassie Villanueva. She sealed the ball away and secured a Rebel win on enemy territory. 

The duel in Wyoming would prove to be a great one, with a few players sticking out in the match. For Wyoming, Chance was a fantastic forward, being able to make quick runs into the attacking half of the field. Along with this, she had a deadly right foot, which constantly had the Rebels under pressure, and was able to find the net just six minutes into the game. Alyssa Glover was dangerous on the left side, constantly making runs down the wing and playing dangerous crosses into the box. 

As for the Rebels, some standout performers include forwards Villanueva and Ramirez, who were attacking powerhouses for the Rebels, with both having two shots on goal each and a goal each. And with them is playmaker Buchanan, who had two shots in the game and gave the assist for both of the goals. 

The game plan for UNLV would consist of trying to find its forwards, Ramirez and Villanueva. As for Wyoming, the team would have to test the Rebel defense and switch the field to create opportunities. 

The game would prove to be a rough one, with UNLV committing a total of 14 fouls while Wyoming committed 13. Along with this, UNLV received one yellow card on Kam Jalayer. Meanwhile, Wyoming received two yellow cards with Sydney Miller and Kylee Holstad both receiving a booking each. 

In the sixth minute of the game, Wyoming forward Maddi Chance stole the ball from UNLV and ran down the right side before hitting a low strike that would fly past goalkeeper Hanne Breur and put Wyoming up 1-0.

In the following play, Chance once again received the ball on the right side and struck a low volley to the near side but rattled the post.

The Rebels started to make noise on offense in the second half, with Ramirez striking a low center shot that was denied by Bartel in the 57th minute.

A minute later, Buchanan had a powerful strike that would shake the crossbar in a heartstopping moment for Wyoming.

In the 63rd minute, Buchanan played an excellent through ball on the ground that found the feet of teammate Ramirez, who chipped the ball over the goalkeeper Bartel and equalized the game for the Rebels 1-1.

The Rebels kept up its high pressure in search of a winner with a distance strike from UNLV captain Jules Dominguez in the 65th minute, who hit a powerful high shot that was saved by Bartel.

Two minutes later, Kaitlyn Kowalchuk tested Wyoming with a high shot that was once again crucially saved by Bartel to keep Wyoming in the game.

In the 81st minute of the game, Trinity Buchanan once again played a fantastic through ball, this time to teammate Villanueva, who outran the defense and slotted the ball past Bartel despite her efforts and put the Rebels in the lead 2-1.

With just 15 seconds of the game, Wyoming searched for a last-hope equalizer with a shot from Kiley Ballek into the low center but was saved by Guemes to secure a 2-1 victory for the Rebels.


The Rebels head to Fort Collins, Colorado to face Colorado State on Sept. 24 at 12 p.m. The game will be available to watch on the Mountain West Network.


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