2-0 Win Clinches MW Tournament Bid
Oct. 23, 2016
RENO, Nev. - Boise State women's soccer clinched a spot in the Mountain West Championship Sunday, with a 2-0 win at Nevada. Janelle Flores made seven saves to deliver her league-leading fifth shutout of Mountain West play. Falon Miller scored the game winner in the 25th minute and Baylee Blaser added her second goal in as many matches in the 38th, while Raimee Sherle assisted on both tallies.
"It wasn't so long ago we were 1-7-1," said head coach Jim Thomas. "Since then we've gone 5-2-3, accumulated two more points in conference play than last year with still a game to go. We're into the tournament with still a game to go. It's a significant improvement over last year and to do that after the start we had is a testament to these players and this staff."
The Broncos (6-9-4, 5-2-3 MW) are tied for fourth with Utah State. Boise State hosts the Aggies Friday, in the regular-season finale. Utah State (10-8-0, 6-4-0 MW) lost to UNLV 1-0 in overtime Sunday, its fourth-straight road loss.
Boise State's fifth shutout in MW play is a school record for clean sheets in a conference season. Flores, who has played every minute of conference play, is the 10th goalkeeper in MW history to record five shutouts in a conference slate. She will have an opportunity to match the league record of six Friday.
In 26 career Mountain West matches, Flores has allowed just 21 goals (0.78 GAA) and recorded 10 shutouts. For her career in all matches she now has 14 clean sheets, tying Maddy McDevitt for second most in program history. Liz Ruiz holds the record with 17.
The Bronco goalkeeper was challenged immediately Friday, as Nevada took eight shots and one corner kick in the first 13 minutes of action.
The tide turned when Miller scored just 75 seconds after coming on as a substitute. Her second goal as a Bronco turned out to be her first game winner. While Sherle picked apart Nevada's defense dribbling through the midfield, Miller made a run down the center of the pitch toward the top of the box. Sherle slipped a pass to her between the Wolf Pack back line and Miller rolled it in the back of the net from 12 yards away to the right post.
Later in the half, Sherle took possession in the midfield again and turned toward goal. As she dribbled across the field, five Wolf Pack defenders converged. Sherle waited for the perfect moment to pass against the grain and through the box to Blaser who ripped a shot inside the far post.
Blaser put the Broncos ahead 2-0, the first time this season Boise State has scored twice in the first half of a match. The redshirt junior also notched the tying goal Friday, at UNLV.
"We're so happy for that kid to get the monkey off of her back a little bit," Thomas said of Blaser's four-point weekend. "She's been working so hard and she deserved way more than she had to show for the first 15 matches or so."
Sherle's first two assists of the year give her 14 points in Mountain West play, fourth most in the conference and the most by a freshman. She also took one shot Sunday, putting it on frame. It was Sherle's conference-leading 37th shot attempt in MW matches, tying the most by a freshman in league history.
"Raimee's ability to distribute is a big part of her game that we really haven't seen," said Thomas. "It's so hard to wrap your head around how good the kid is. She likes to take on the onus of scoring, but she's a really, really good sharer of the ball. Today, the pass was the right play and the plays she made were a direct application of what we worked on in Saturday training."
Sherle has recorded at least a point in six matches this season, soring herself in five of them. The Broncos are 6-0-0 in those matches. With a two-goal advantage Thomas and Boise State was able to conserve some energy following a double-overtime match Friday, and ahead of a stretch that could see the Broncos play as many as four matches in eight days. All 17 Broncos who took the field Sunday, played double-digit minutes and 15 played 40 or more.
"This game came down to focusing on yourselves," said Thomas. "We came out a little too calm, but got a couple goals against the run of play and that settled it down. From there out we managed it well. We gave up shots, but it was going to take something special from where they were shooting from. We didn't exert much energy once we were up 2-0 and that's going to help us down the line when it will come down to winning three matches in five days at the tournament."
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