By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
The Eastern New Mexico University women’s soccer team waited until the final five minutes or so to get its wake-up call on Friday.
As it turned out, that was almost enough time, but not quite.
Incarnate Word was cruising to victory when suddenly a foul on Cardinals goalkeeper Amy Menegaz gave ENMU a penalty kick. Sophomore Nicole Bregler scored off a rebound for the Zias, but Incarnate Word managed to hang on for a 2-1 win at the ENMU soccer field.
The Cardinals (2-1) led 1-0 at halftime when ENMU keeper Stephanie Sanchez bobbled the ball in front of the net and couldn’t control it, and Callye Lawrence punched in the opportunity from point-blank range. Amber Cole then found the left corner of the net in the 69th minute on a shot from about 20 yards out.
Although Incarnate dominated much of the match, the Zias (3-2) played well enough on defense to stay within striking range.
“I was pleased with my defenders in the back,” ENMU women’s coach Travis McCorkle said. “We were playing against a very good team, and I thought they did a good job. But our midfield defense today was not as good as it’s been.”
While Lawrence’s goal came on a bit of a fluke, the Cardinals finally converted after keeping the pressure on throughout the first part of the match.
“Ninety-five times out of 100, Stephanie holds that chance,” McCorkle said. “She just hit the ball into the ground and it popped out.”
McCorkle said the match shows how far the third-year Zias program has come.
“Last year they destroyed us 4-0, and it could’ve been much, much worse,” he said. “Seeing our improvement, it’s been a good thing.”
Incarnate coach Tina Patterson admitted things got a little dicey at the end, but said her team played relatively well.
“One thing I’ve always been impressed with about Eastern New Mexico is they play hard throughout the game,” Patterson said. “They don’t go up and down. We got a little flat (at the end) and they took advantage of it.
“I liked how we finished the game better than how we started.”
ENMU men fall — Incarnate Word opened defense of its Southwest Soccer Conference title in the second half of the doubleheader, scoring all its goals in the first 34 minutes for a 3-0 win over ENMU.
Senior forward Fernando Jorge scored the first and third goals for the Cardinals (1-2 overall), the first on a shot from close range to the lower left corner and the second on a shot from about 16 yards out.
Incarnate’s middle tally came on an “own goal” when ENMU’s Brian Swan chested a cross from Jorge into the right corner of the net.
Zias drop pair in volleyball — ENMU continued its early-season struggles, losing on Friday to Dallas Baptist 30-23, 32-30, 30-18 and to host St. Edward’s 30-25, 30-27, 30-21 in the Heartland/Lone Star Challenge at Austin, Texas.
ENMU (0-5) got nine kills from freshman outside hitter Rhea Wortman and six from senior middle blocker Lindsay Schiely against Dallas Baptist (3-9), while the Lady Patriots were led by 15 kills and nine digs from Jenny Pry.
Against St. Edward’s, Schiely had 11 kills and junior middle blocker Grace George added eight. The Hilltoppers (2-7) were led by 11 kills from Kristen Lozano and nine from Lindsey Douglas.
The Zias conclude play in the event today with a 2 p.m. clash against St. Mary’s.