The CSU-Pueblo women’s soccer team put forth a quality team effort in a 5-1 plastering of New Mexico Highlands University on Sunday. Led by senior Marli Martin (Sr., West Jordan, Utah), the Pack scored early and never looked back in their 5-1 victory, which elevated their season record to 2-3-1.
The women certainly looked in control from the get go on Sunday. Everything went according to plan for the Pack, and they looked especially dangerous from corner kicks. Martin had a great chance to put the Thunderwolves up in the 7th minute when the ball fell to her feet at the edge of the box, but she blazed a shot just over the bar. Candice Duffy (Jr., Idaho Falls, Idaho) scored two minutes later, though, after some nice interplay between Martin and Beccah Drennan (Jr., Fountain, Colo.).
The Thunderwolves doubled their lead in the 33rd minute when Sydney Hase (Fr., Woodbury, Minn.) raced down the left channel and outfoxed the Highlands keeper to score her first collegiate goal. “That was special because my mom was here to see it,” said a delighted Hase.
Two minutes later, Martin rattled the crossbar from deep with a free kick, and Sheela Thompson (So., Denver, Colo.) almost headed in the rebound. Martin again troubled the Highlands keeper with a dangerous free kick five minutes later.
The women looked like they might run away with the game in the first half, but Highlands put a little run together just before the halftime break. Highlands let loose a fierce shot at the Thunderwolves’ goal, but Chrissy Mandarich (Sr., Pueblo, Colo.) was able to save the ball at full stretch. The visitors did manage to score from a corner kick about 90 seconds before the halftime whistle, making the score at the break 2-1.
Martin, who featured at forward for the first time ever on Sunday, was able to cap her performance with a goal about five minutes into the second half. “Coach told me he wanted me forward and wanted me to control the ball. I’m happy I scored, but I was lucky to hit the post on that free kick,” she said.
Drennan added to the Thunderwolves’ lead eight minutes later when she took a pass from Kara Morton (So., Thornton, Colo.) and sent a dipping shot to the left hand side of goal. Aubrielle Williams (So., Scottsdale, Ariz.) put the game totally out of reach with her first goal for the team in the 86th minute.
Morris was pleased with the win, and was quick to distribute praise to his goal scorers. Of Martin, he said, “Marli is a difference maker, and it's important that we get our difference makers in positions where they can take over the game. She really did that today.” He also felt that Williams goal “galvanized” the squad and will really help with his players’ confidence level.
“Our schedule has been tough,” said Morris. “We’ve also been playing better than I think a lot of people realize, and it’s nice to get some positive feedback on that kind of effort.” He also did not overlook the importance of the team’s next match, which is next Sunday against UCCS. “We’ll have to be ready for them,” he said.