San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Women’s soccer corrals Cowgirls 5-1, ties scoring high to stay in first place

Sekimoto scored twice with an assist, along with goals from Blake, Utush and Savage in a wipeout win over Wyoming
Victor Nyden
San Diego State midfielder Alexys Ocampo readies to cross the ball against Wyoming on Thursday, Oct. 19 at the SDSU Sports Deck. SDSU knocked off the Cowgirls 5-1 to remain in first place in the Mountain West Conference.

It had been four nights since the San Diego State women’s soccer team first tasted defeat in Mountain West Conference play, but a loss 351 days prior served as added incentive.

The Aztecs controlled the match from the outset, dominating the Wyoming Cowgirls in a 5-1 win that avenged last season’s Mountain West Tournament semifinal loss and kept the Scarlet and Black atop the table on Thursday night at the SDSU Sports Deck.

“We had kind of a chip on our shoulder,” said midfielder Olivia Sekimoto. “We knew we had to come out fast and set the tone just to really make sure that we played the whole game through.”

Sekimoto, who made her first start in Mountain West play this season, keyed a relentless Aztec attack. She became the fourth SDSU (12-3-2, 7-1-1 Mountain West Conference) player to record a brace this season, while assisting on the match-opening goal.

The five goal outburst equalled the season scoring high — a 5-1 win at Fresno State on Sept. 21 — with four players scoring goals and eight players putting shots on frame.

“Where we’re best is when we’re sharing the ball,” said head coach Mike Friesen. “The more that we start playing on two touches and getting a lot of people involved in the build and into the final third, I think we’re really dangerous.”

San Diego State forced Wyoming goalkeeper Haley Bartel to make a pair of saves in the opening two minutes, en route to out-shooting the preseason conference favorite Cowgirls (6-8-4, 2-7-1) by a 26-14 margin in the match.

Midfielder Carlin Blake opened the account in the 11th minute after taking a feed from Sekimoto. She struck home along the ground to the left post for her first goal of the season, becoming the 11th player to score for SDSU in 2023.

“We also needed one of those games that we scored a lot in, because a lot of games have been really tight,” Blake said.“We’re not very individual, and we play in the right mindset so if someone’s open, we play it. If you have a shot, you take it.”

San Diego State defender Kiera Utush (16) reacts after scoring in the 40th minute against Wyoming on Thursday, Oct. 19 at the SDSU Sports Deck. It was her third goal of the season and first match-winner of the year. (Victor Nyden)

Wyoming equalized in the 33rd minute against the run of play when the Aztecs got out of formation up the pitch on an attacking set piece. Midfielder Alyssa Glover got played in free from 30 yards out and calmly finished in the box.

“The rest of the night we did a really good job of containing them,” Friesen said. “Most of their shots were from distance and didn’t really trouble (goalkeeper) Alexa (Madueno) too much.”

The stalemate was short-lived, as in the 40th minute forward Logan Nidy won a corner for the Aztecs. Blake delivered a cross into the box that defender Kiera Utush thumped home with a header at the near post for a 2-1 lead that held until halftime.

In the second half, forward Dori Savage netted her sixth goal of the season and first in Mountain West play off a nifty feed from midfielder Alexys Ocampo in the 54th minute.

Semikoto put her stamp on the match late with a pair of goals in a near seven minute stretch after cracking the post with a shot.

First, she won a battle for the ball off a corner in the box and scored in traffic in the 66th minute, then in the 72nd minute unleashed a shot from distance that deflected home off a Wyoming defender.

“This is one of our best teams — we all love each other and bring each other up,” Sekimoto said. “We know that anyone could step up when we need them.”

The win kept the Aztecs tied for first place with Boise State, who staged a second half comeback to win against Nevada. The Scarlet and Black hold the tiebreaker thanks to a 1-0 win over the Broncos on Oct. 5, as both sides are even with 22 points, one point ahead of third-place Utah State.

“It’s in our hands, we have the tiebreakers and we want to make sure that the work we’ve put in, specifically from January until now, is going to pay off,” Friesen said.

“This team has done such a good job of understanding what needs to happen to put ourselves in a position to win a championship.”

SDSU has two matches remaining: at fourth-place Colorado State at noon on Sunday, Oct. 22, then the regular season finale against New Mexico at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 26 at the SDSU Sports Deck.

“(Coach) always tells us to be road warriors,” Sekimoto said. “We just really have to lock in and keep our mindset that we’re going to put balls in the back of the net as soon as we start in the first five minutes, it sets a tone.”

About the Contributor
Eric Evelhoch
Eric Evelhoch, '23-24 Sports Editor
Eric Evelhoch (he/him/his) is a senior media studies major who was born outside of Detroit, Michigan, and lived in Ventura County, California, for a decade-plus. He is a returning college student and transfer from Santa Barbara City College, where he served as Sports Editor for The Channels. Evelhoch is also a Sports Director for KCR College Radio, where he restarted play-by-play coverage post-pandemic. Currently, he serves as the play-by-play broadcaster for the SDSU ACHA DI hockey team and has filled in on the call for Aztecs sports on the Mountain West Network. His prior freelance experience includes print, digital, online video and audio-only, and broadcast radio formats covering football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer and volleyball.