Broncos Topple Aztecs 2-0
Oct. 19, 2014
BRONCO WOMEN'S SOCCER
SAN DIEGO--Boise State wasted no time seizing the momentum Sunday, against San Diego State in a rematch of last season's Mountain West Championship title match. The Broncos used Kelli Drobney's seventh-minute goal to stake an early lead and go on to stun the Aztecs, 2-0 in San Diego as KT Clayton added an insurance goal in the 86th minute.
San Diego State (12-3-1, 7-1-0 MW) entered the match having won its last eight contests and unbeaten in Mountain West play. The Aztecs were receiving votes in the NSCAA Top 25 and sat at No. 21 in the Soccer America poll. The Broncos (6-8-3, 3-5-0 MW) were riding a two-match skid after dropping a 1-0 decision Friday, at New Mexico.
"This was a monumental win for us," said head coach Jim Thomas. "A win that provides a great example to our players not only what they're capable of, but why it's so important to prepare the right way throughout the week and stay together as a group, no matter the odds."
Drobney's early goal was her third of the season and second game winner in as many weeks. The Broncos won the ball back in the midfield area and Shannon Schueren quickly sent a ball over the top to find Drobney alone with the keeper. The sophomore forward took her last touch to line up a shot from 10 yards that she rifled into the back of the net.
Drobney has stepped up to big opportunities all season. She scored a game-tying goal in the 86th minute at Utah Valley to help the Broncos salvage a draw on the road. Then, Oct. 10, put away Fresno State on a game-winning goal with 14 seconds remaining.
"Kelli has been tireless both on the pitch and in her commitment to the team," said Thomas. "It is so great to see that hard work pay off."
Schueren received credit for the assist, giving her 41 points for her career. That moves the senior into third place all alone on the school's all-time points list.
With the advantage in tow, the focus shifted to stopping a San Diego State offense that was averaging three goals per match in conference play. Again, Boise State's defense was up to the task. Senior Mikhaila Bowden anchored the group, while freshman Jessie Vogel continued to flourish at her recently-appointed center back position."Mikhaila was a beast again today," said Thomas. "As was Jessie who matched up incredibly against arguably the best forward in the conference in Hannah Keane. We played really well as a team today and we can achieve anything if we stay that way."
Anything that did get through the stout back line, Janelle Flores was there to turn away. Flores made five saves to secure the third shutout of her freshman campaign. It is just the third time this season the Aztecs were blanked and the first time in 27 conference matches dating back to Oct. 16, 2011, also against Boise State.
The Aztecs responded with an aggressive attack the rest of the match, taking 16 shots to the Broncos' eight. Boise State did not back down, matching it with a physical defensive presence.
As the Aztecs committed more and more to the attack late in the second half, the Broncos struck again. In the 86th minute, Clayton found herself with just the keeper to beat. Her score from five yards out virtually iced the game and gives her four goals on the season.
San Diego State has lost just two home conference matches in the last six seasons. Both have come at the hands of Boise State.
Just more than three years ago to the day, Oct 16, 2011, a reeling Boise State team coming off consecutive shutout losses traveled to San Diego for the first meeting in series history during the Broncos' first season in the MW. Boise State came away with an improbable 1-0 victory, its first league win in its new conference. At the time it was San Diego State's first home conference loss since Oct. 31, 2008, against TCU. Fast forward three years and it remained the only such loss on the Aztecs' ledger until Sunday.
"San Diego State is a phenomenal team and Mike (Friesen) has coached superbly all year," said Thomas. "To find success against a program and a coach I respect so much is a bit of a signature moment."
The victory puts Boise State in a three-way tie for seventh in the MW with three matches to play. The top six teams will advance to the MW Championship in San Diego. The Broncos- along with Fresno State and UNLV- are just one point behind Air Force for the sixth spot in the field. San Diego State and Wyoming are now tied at the top and have both clinched berths in the conference tournament.
The Broncos host two of their final three matches, starting with a Friday tilt against Nevada (4-12-1, 1-7-0 MW). Boise State also has an Oct. 26 road game at UNLV (8-7-1, 3-5-0 MW) and an Oct. 31 home match against Utah State (9-5-2, 5-2-1 MW) to close the regular season.Thomas put it best: "We've opened an opportunity for ourselves. We must take it."
The Broncos begin the final stretch Friday, with a 4 p.m. kickoff at Boas Soccer Complex.
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