Women’s soccer triumphs over rivals UNR in season finale

Freshman defender Gianna Newby gets ready to receiver the ball during an earlier UNLV women's soccer game. Photo by Jordan Anders-McClain.

The UNLV women’s soccer team finished off their season by defeating the UNR Wolf Pack 3-1 on senior night.

The Rebels displayed a ferocious attack that paid off with their most goals scored in a game and highest number of shots recorded with 26.

“I thought the team played amazing, they were electric,” head coach Jenny Ruiz-Williams said. “Every single player performed tonight.”

The Rebels began the game by attacking with several early shots. Less than two minutes in, forward Alysa Caso had her shot blocked and midfielder Michelle Madrid’s follow up fell into the hands of Nevada goalkeeper Jessica FitzWilliam.

Despite a dominating first 10 minutes from the Rebels, the Wolf Pack started to get into the game. Reno’s Luz Arreaga forced UNLV goalkeeper Riley Liebsack into her first save of the game.

In the 19th minute, Reno’s Gabby Brown committed a foul on the edge of the box that earned her a yellow card. The resulting free kick saw UNLV’s midfielder Jules Dominguez have one of her shots blocked and the other go wide left of the goal.

While the Rebels were attacking early, it was the Wolf Pack who broke the scoreless tie. Reno’s forward Emily Rich dribbled the ball from the halfway line to the goal, beating several defenders and slotting it past Liebsack to put the Wolf Pack up 1-0.

The Rebels picked up the pace after the goal, but Rich still gave them problems. Five minutes after the goal, Rich had another shot that went wide right.

In the 31st minute, the Rebels scored an equalizer. Forward Mallie Ramirez received the ball on the edge of the box, turned and beat three defenders to score. She sprinted to the bench to celebrate with her teammates after the goal. 

Before the end of the first half, the Rebels were awarded a penalty. Reno’s defender Hana Law fouled forward Mimi Mendoza and midfielder Taylie Liddell stepped up to take the penalty and scored to put UNLV up 2-1.

Going into the second half, the Rebels continued to pile the pressure on and scored again in the 56th minute. Cadence Whitley ran with the ball down the right wing and put a low cross into the box for Savannah Nichols to score.

Even though they were up two goals, the Rebels continued their ruthless attack throughout the second half, attempting 14 of their 26 shots. The game finished 3-1.

With the season now over, Ruiz-Williams is excited about the 2023 season and began planning it after a draw with the Air Force on Oct. 23 guaranteed the Rebels would not make the conference tournament. 

In her first normal season as the Rebels’ coach Ruiz-Williams is confident in the growth she made this season.

“When I look at the season as a whole, I think we made a lot of growth,” Ruiz-Williams said. “I think our seniors that are leaving us left such an impact and the number one thing that they are leaving is how to compete. They are fierce, so they’ve left that with the younger girls and we’re going to take that into 2023”

The Rebels finished the season with a 5-9-5 overall record and 3-3-5 in conference play. Nichols and Ramirez finished the season as joint top scorers for the Rebels with three goals each, and the Rebels ended the season on a four-game unbeaten streak.


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