After more than a month away from Logan, the Utah State soccer team dropped a pair of matches over the weekend. The Aggies lost 2-1 both Friday and Sunday, first to San Diego State and then to New Mexico.
The Aggies are now looking up in the Mountain West standings with a record of 1-3-0 in the conference.
“We have to find some grit,” head coach Heather Cairns said.
“I think everyone will tell you the same thing, we’re playing okay but it’s not good enough. We got to find those critical moments and tip the game in our favor. Gotta find some grit.”
Friday was the 300th match with Cairns as head coach. The Aggies and the Aztecs played a grueling first half against each other, with neither side mounting solid scoring chances. Freshman Ashley Cardozo had lined up a shot that seemed destined to find the net but had sailed just high and hit the crossbar.
“I thought it was going in for sure,” Cardozo said, “then I heard that ‘bink’ sound.”
The Aztecs scored both goals in a five-minute span, their second coming off a ball skied into the air that was just lucky enough to pass goalkeeper Sara Cobb. The Aggies mounted a comeback late in the second half, with Cardozo being fed a cross from forward Bailee Hammond, but Utah State still came up short.
For Cardozo, she is now tied for second place in most goals scored by a freshman with six.
Sunday’s matchup against the New Mexico Lobos came down to the very last minute. New Mexico scored in the 80th minute, as the ball had been fumbled around and scored by Alexa Kirton. The Aggies didn’t give up hope, and after the opposing goalie was drawn out on a loose ball, she attempted to clear it. Hammond prevented it though, blocking it with her body, and the ball found its way in the back of the net to tie the match.
Not twenty seconds later, however, the Lobos launched a counter and found themselves a game-winning goal. Cobb had deflected one shot but the ball bounced in front of New Mexico’s Claire Lynch, who capped off an exhilarating final minute of play.
Both Wesley Hamblin and coach Cairns said the team needs to find “grit” going forward in conference play.
“We dug ourselves in a hole, and we just need to come back from this,” Hamblin said.
The Aggies will host Colorado College on Friday at 3 p.m., and Air Force on Sunday at 1 p.m.