Cowgirls click offensively, net six goals in victory over Nevada
LARAMIE -- With under two minutes to play in a soccer match between the University of Wyoming and Nevada, junior forward Haylee Rice maneuvered around a couple defenders and fired a shot on frame. The shot was barely saved amid a near sideline celebration from the Cowgirls.
To put in frankly, it’s surprising Wyoming had any elation left in their tank at that point in the game. That’s how joyous of a Sunday it was at the Madrid Sports Complex.
The Cowgirls dominated Nevada to the tune of a 6-1 victory. The win pushes Wyoming to 7-8-1 overall and 3-5-0 in Mountain West Conference play, while the loss drops the Wolf Pack to 3-10-2 overall and a 2-4-2 in league action.
“This team has been so close to a game like this the entire year,” head coach Colleen Corbin said. “The season is going to always have ebbs and flows, and you’re going to have ups and downs. The conversation we had with (the team) was about waking up on Sunday and being ready to win. I don’t care what you have to do, be ready to win.”
Whatever each individual player did, it worked. It was an entire team effort Sunday.
Six different Cowgirls found the back of the net. That collective attack led to the highest goal total in a single game for Wyoming since 2007.
“You hardly ever see that in soccer where six different people score,” sophomore forward Nikayla Copenhaver said. “It obviously shows the quality we have on the team, so that’s awesome to see.”
Copenhaver accounted for one of the goals in the 41st minute. It occurred off a free kick where she bent it around a three-player wall and past the goalkeeper, giving Wyoming a 4-1 advantage.
Copenhaver’s score was one of five goals scored off set pieces Sunday. Four of those were off a corner kick, as Wyoming feasted in an area they’ve been working on all year.
“We were lethal on set pieces today,” Corbin said. “We practice them all the time, so I’m really glad that clicked today … I’m super proud of them and really happy that they were able to get this type of reward.”
Freshman midfielder Eliza-Grace Smith accounted for the lone goal that wasn’t a byproduct of a set piece. She tallied the contest’s first goal on a shot from outside the goalie box that made it 1-0 in the 18th minute.
The initial goal was Smith’s second of the season. Senior defender Savannah Warner recorded her third goal of the season, scoring off a corner kick from redshirt-junior midfielder Jamie Tatum in the 23rd minute that made it 2-0.
Junior forward Sydney Miller made it 3-0 with a score in the 31st minute. She’s the 10th different Cowgirl to find the back of the net this season.
“To have a bunch of different goal scorers from all across the roster – different age groups, different positions – it speaks to the quality of our team and the exciting future we have ahead of us,” Corbin said. “Everyone is hungry, everyone wants to compete and everyone wants to score.
“Everyone wants to be a part of the success, and I’m happy and proud and feeling super lucky to lead this group.”
Nevada registered its lone goal during the 39th minute on a penalty kick. It was quickly erased by Copenhaver’s free kick a minute later.
Junior midfielder Hannah Hagen opened the second-half scoring. She netted a 54th-minute goal off another corner from Tatum.
That marked Hagen’s first score of the season, giving Wyoming 11 goal scorers. That number would increase to a dozen in a little over 15 minutes.
Tatum completed her hat trick of assists in the 71st minute. She sent another corner kick into the box that freshman midfielder Liz Stutzman redirected into the back of the net for the first goal of her career.
Redshirt-junior goalkeeper Alex Daws had a quietly solid game in goal for Wyoming. She made four saves and stopped half of the penalty kicks fired at her.
The Cowgirls ended the game with a 19-8 shot advantage. Warner owned a season-high four shots, while 12 of her teammates has at least one shot.
Wyoming takes to the road this upcoming week. The Cowgirls travel to Boise State on Thursday before a Sunday match at Utah State.
* UW press release
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