CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Freshman forward Hannah Dozier tries to maneuver past Central Oklahoma’s Alli Miller during Friday’s Lone Star Conference women’s soccer match at the ENMU pitch.
By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
PORTALES — The Central Oklahoma women’s soccer team doesn’t like to take chances.
The Bronchos improved to 5-0 in the Lone Star Conference — all by shutout — and got two late goals from senior forward Carmen Davis Friday to beat Eastern New Mexico University 2-0 at the ENMU soccer pitch.
Central Oklahoma (11-3-1), ranked No. 22 in NCAA Division II, has won the last three LSC titles and five of the last six, and so far has shown no signs of letting go of its crown.
“We figure if we can shut (the opponent) out, we can usually score at least one goal,” said coach Mike Cook, who started the program at the school in 1998.
But the Zias didn’t make it easy. ENMU, which dropped 2-1 and 1-0 decisions to the Bronchos the last two years, kept the game scoreless until Davis split a couple of Zias defenders and then beat goalkeeper Stephanie Sanchez 1-on-1 with less than 17 minutes left in regulation.
She got another goal from right in front on a cross from junior forward Lacy Williams with about 1 1/2 minutes to go.
The Zias (8-6, 2-4 LSC) have lost four of five since a school-record seven-match winning streak, but prior to Friday had played six consecutive contests decided by a single goal.
“It means we’re getting competitive,” coach Travis McCorkle said. “I told the girls last week that we’re on the verge of becoming more than a mediocre team in the conference.”
ENMU had the brisk south breeze at its back in the first half, then held on for a long time after the break.
“Both of their goals were well-taken,” McCorkle said. “The cross on the second goal was just picture-perfect.
“The girls snuffed out so many chances early. (Central) had to pull out two special goals to beat us.”
The Zias nearly went on top early in the second half when junior Hillary Gintowt crossed the ball from the right side to senior forward Amy Wilcox, whose header from in close was stopped by Bronchos keeper Carly Fischer.
Cook said his team, which moves on to Canyon to face West Texas A&M on Sunday, was glad to get away with the win.
“Any win on the road is good,” he said. “Travis has done a great job with his team.”
He said he felt pretty good about his team’s chances going with the wind after halftime.
“I knew we were going to get some (scoring) chances,” he said. “It would be a matter of whether we could put them away.”