Eastern freshman Leah Berry is knocked off the ball by a College of Southwest defender during Friday’s soccer match in Portales. Photo by Eric Kluth.
PORTALES — Travis McCorkle’s first-year Eastern New Mexico University women’s soccer team hoped to pull off a big win Friday in its first home match.
Defensively, they kept College of the Southwest in check — except for a couple of breakdowns. And that was just enough to do them in.
CSW (10-6) broke through for the game’s first goal midway through the opening half and went on to a 2-0 win before a crowd of about 250. It was the second victory over the Zias (2-6) for the Hobbs-based Lady Mustangs, who took the teams’ season opener 3-2 in late August in Alamosa, Colo.
“I’m disappointed,” McCorkle admitted afterwards. “I thought the girls were excited to play at home, but I think we had some nerves. We played a little bit tentative.”
CSW, an NAIA program which is currently 4-0 in the Red River Conference, took the lead with nearly 23 minutes elapsed when sophomore midfielder-forward Stacy McCorkle — no relation to the ENMU coach — punched a crossing pass from teammate Mindy Reinhardt into the net from point-blank range.
“We just didn’t see the run quick enough, and they snuck behind us,” Travis McCorkle said. “It was a good run on their part.”
The Lady Mustangs got an insurance goal in the 73rd minute when sophomore midfielder Sarah Lapchak drove a loose ball home from about 23 yards out, knocking it in just to the left of ENMU goalkeeper Carolyn Vincent.
The Lady Mustangs outshot Eastern 12-2.
“We played all right,” CSW coach Rob Fulton said. “In the first half I didn’t think we were sharp with our touch and passing, and I thought Eastern did a good job of winning most of the 50-50 balls. But we picked it up in the second half and pressured the ball a little better.
“It seems to me that both teams have improved. The first game both of us made a lot of defensive errors, but we’ve had a lot of time to get better.”
Eastern lost two players for stretches during the match — freshman forward Megan Dozier, who got the wind knocked out of her in a second-half collision with CSW’s Bracklin Mellum, and junior midfielder Nicole Johnson, who sustained a black eye from a stray elbow.
Travis McCorkle said both players should be ready when the Zias host West Texas A&M in a Lone Star Conference match at 2 p.m. Sunday.
“Today, we just didn’t have the chances (to score),” he said. “Game in and game out we’ve been improving on defense.
“Hopefully, on Sunday things will be different.”