* University of Wyoming press release

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., – University of Wyoming soccer head coach Colleen Corbin has applauded her team time and again this season for being gritty and tough. Whether it was trialing late on several occasions or enduring an underwhelming non-conference performance, the Cowgirls persevered and always stayed the course.

That grit was necessary in Wyoming’s 1-0 victory over San Diego State on Wednesday at the UNM Soccer Complex in the semifinals of the Mountain West Conference Tournament. Top-seeded Wyoming played the final 18 minutes of the contest with 10 players and staved off the No. 5-seeded Aztecs.

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“San Diego State, they’re historically a very competitive, championship program,” Corbin said. “For us to solve problems, play with confidence, and dig our heels in and grind to make sure we didn’t give up one late, that’s the identity of our program.”

The victory marked Wyoming’s first in the tournament since 2014. The Cowgirls advance to championship and will battle the winner of the San Jose State-New Mexico match on Saturday at 6 p.m. at the UNM Soccer Complex.

Wyoming, which made a habit of rallying in matches this season, didn’t need to on Wednesday. The Cowgirls played from in front from nearly the outset.

Sophomore Maddi Chance scored during the eighth minute off a feed from Faith Joiner that staked the Cowgirls to the early advantage. It was a lead they wouldn’t relinquish in what was senior goalkeeper Miyuki Schoyen’s first shutout of the season.

“(The early goal) was huge,” Corbin said. “It was definitely going to game of momentum, and we knew there was going to be tides. The momentum was going to shift, and we were going to have to push and then absorb and push and then absorb. For us to make the first push and knock one in – a brilliant goal by Maddi Chance – was a game-changer.”

Wyoming finished the contest with 12 shots, and senior Jamie Tatum paced the team with four. Schoyen logged six saves, and many of those occurred the last 18 minutes.

In the 73rd minute, sophomore Taylor Brook received her second yellow card of the game, which disqualified her. The Aztecs, trailing and playing at full strength, understandably, controlled the ball for a majority of that time in the attacking third.

But San Diego State couldn’t put one across. And Wyoming advanced.

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