Lightning ends ENMU’s match early with Lions

Freedom New Mexico: Liliana Castillo Eastern New Mexico’s Michael James goes head to head against Missouri Southern State University’s Eddie Mulholland Friday during the matchup at the ENMU soccer pitch.

By Dave Wagner, Freedom New Mexico

Darkness was setting in, and both teams were trying to sneak in a goal.

Neither did, so Eastern New Mexico University and Missouri Southern settled for a scoreless tie in a weather-shortened Southwest Soccer Conference match at the ENMU pitch.

For the Lions (0-6-1, 0-1-1 SSC), the tie provided a bit of a lift.

“It was a good result for us,” Southern coach Kiley Cirillo said. “It’s been a tough year for us.”

ENMU coach Harold Munoz, whose team was beginning conference play, wasn’t quite as satisfied.

“Today, you can consider this as two points dropped,” he said, referring to the fact that a conference win is good for three points while a tie earns only one.

The teams battled on fairly even terms through the first half, at which point lightning in the area resulted in a delay that lasted about an hour and 10 minutes. Play resumed shortly after 6:30 p.m., and the teams managed to get in about 35 minutes before it was called due to darkness.

“Both teams had great opportunities,” Cirillo said. “It was just an even battle; it could’ve gone either way.

“I felt like we had some good things going toward halftime. Keeping (the players) focused on the bus (while waiting out the delay) is tough.”

ENMU (1-1-2, 0-0-1) had some solid thrusts in the second half, but Lions goalkeeper Jon Hansen made several quality saves to turn them away.

“Their goalie did a great job; he made some nice saves,” Munoz said. “Even in the first half, we played mostly in their end. Generally speaking, we were able to dictate the pace of play.”

The Hounds finish a season-opening five game homestand with a noon conference tilt on Sunday against Northeastern State.

ENMU women 1, Northwestern Oklahoma 0 — Earlier on Friday, junior forward Samantha Lawrence scored her team-leading seventh goal of the season in the second minute of the second half to lift the Zias past the Rangers.

Lawrence, whose 22 career goals rank her second in school history, took a pass from freshman forward Danielle Thurman on the right side and beat Rangers goalkeeper Kelsey Archer to break the scoreless deadlock.

ENMU (4-4), which improved to 4-0 at home, dominated play for the most part, posting nine shots on goal to one for the Rangers (1-4-1).

“We did a decent job of controlling possession, but we weren’t very efficient in the first half,” Zias coach Ray Nause said. “In the second half, the players did a nice job of adjusting and breaking down the defense.”

Nause said Northwestern emphasized defense, and once the Zias realized that they were able to mount some charges.

“We created a number of good scoring chances in the second half,” he said. “I thought we were a bit unlucky in not finishing them.”