By Michael Bradley
The Nevada women’s soccer team lost their home opener to the University of Montana last Friday night by a score of 1-0. Coming off a draw in the season opener against Gonzaga, the Wolf Pack was looking for their first win of the season. Montana came into the game with one win and one draw.
In the first minute of play, Montana’s Mackenzie Akins took a shot from outside the 18 box that hit the far post and broke past Nevada goalkeeper Kelsey Quintos.
“There’s not a lot you can do, but let those go,” Quintos said. “There were no real surprises with them, and that goal was just some individual magic.”
After giving up that early goal, Quintos adjusted to the Montana strikers and went on to finish with four saves for the game. Montana had control in the first half as they totaled six shots with four on goal, compared to Nevada’s four shots with two on goal.
Nevada became more aggressive in the second half by picking up their defensive intensity and taking more shots.
“Being a goal down, we came into the second half with a sense of urgency,” said senior forward Daisha Jones-Oglesby. “We were told we knew what we had to do by [Coach Price] and it was our job to get done.”
As the momentum began to pick up for Nevada, a promising cross was launched into the box in at the 70-minute mark. Jones-Oglesby headed the ball towards goal, but it was denied by the cross bar and sailed out of bounds.
“I thought it was in,” said Jones-Oglesby. “It felt good, looked good and that’s as close as it gets.”
That shot attempt was the greatest threat on Montana’s defense, but the Grizzlies stepped up and didn’t allow another shot on goal for the rest of the night. After the game, Nevada head coach Melissa Price noted that the lack of execution and fundamental errors were the difference makers in the game.
“We wanted to keep the ball a little more than we did and we had some trouble transitioning from defense to offense,” Price said. “There were quite a few errors that could have been avoided. During halftime, I talked about how about our defensive pressure needed to go up and how we needed to go after 50/50 balls more aggressively.”
The lack of execution and failure to convert on scoring opportunities doomed Nevada against the Grizzlies. Staying aggressive for the whole 90 minutes and converting shot opportunities will be key as Nevada tries to pick up their first win when they travel to UC Irvine this Friday.
Michael Bradley can be reached at neil@sagebrush. unr.edu or on Twitter @TheSagebrush or @SagebrushSports.