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 crowned regular season Mountain West champions with 2-0 win over New Mexico

The Aztecs clinched the No. 1 seed, their first Mountain West title since the 2019 regular season
Christie Yeung
The San Diego State women’s soccer team celebrates with the 2023 Mountain West regular season championship trophy on Thursday, Oct. 26 at the SDSU Sports Deck. The Aztecs beat New Mexico 2-0 to claim their sixth Mountain West regular season title in program history.

It was a memorable night for the San Diego State women’s soccer team as they clinched the 2023 Mountain West regular season championship with a 2-0 win over New Mexico on Thursday night at the SDSU Sports Deck.

Emotions were high after the seniors were introduced to the crowd, accompanied by their loved ones as part of senior night celebrations before the match.

Those emotions carried onto the field as the team seemed unsettled during the first 12 minutes of the match, allowing New Mexico to take charge offensively.

“I think (it was) just a little bit of nerves coming into a championship environment — doing that at home and there was a lot of emotion — trying to keep them amped up to play the game, but trying to calm them down to just do our jobs,” head coach Mike Friesen said.

“I think just the first little bit of the game is getting that emotion out of there and a little bit of that energy, once we did that, we settled down and played well.”

That was exactly what happened, as the match was more balanced with both teams exchanging possessions and attempting a similar number of shots at goal, six for the Aztecs and five for the Lobos.

However, neither team was able to get on the scoreboard before the first half ended.

It was a different story for the Aztecs in the second half as they came out of the locker room hunting for that goal, which happened in the 50th minute from a corner kick.

Midfielder Carlin Blake bent the ball just inside the 6-yard box and defender Kiera Utush got in front of her defender to head the ball into the far side of the net, giving the Aztecs a 1-0 lead.

“It was an amazing feeling,” Utush said. “We practiced a lot in those moments. Those high-pressure moments. And I think it was just everyone did their part and Carlin (Blake) just had to get it there and I had to finish it. It was just all together. It was a team win all around.”

The Aztecs never looked back from that point on. The momentum shifted to their favor and they piled on wave after wave of attacks, trying to get a second goal to secure the win. The Scarlet and Black outshot the Lobos 15-6 in the second half.

The Aztecs found the next goal to seal this match in the 89th minute. Blake was able to find midfielder Denise Castro, who was open just past the halfway line. Castro dribbled past a defender once and the goalkeeper twice before she took her shot outside of the 18-yard box that found the back of the net.

With the 2-0 win, the Aztecs locked down the No. 1 seed in the conference and were crowned with the regular season title.

Up next is the Mountain West Soccer Championship in Laramie, Wyoming on Sunday, Oct. 29. The Aztecs will have to wait to find out who their next opponent will be — either No. 4 Colorado State or No. 5 Fresno State.

SDSU defeated Fresno State back in September (5-1) and they also won against Colorado State recently (3-2) on Oct. 22.

Friesen said that fitness has been key to their success this season, being able to outrun their opposition leading to breaking down defenses has been crucial.

Aside from recovering from the fatigue, one of the concerns he had was the high elevation. But more importantly, is preparing the team with the right mindset.

“It’s about mentality and we have two games to win,” Friesen said. “We’re going to have a lot of challenges with weather, with maybe the surface not being quite as easy as ours to move the ball on… but it’s more about mentality and to just find a way to get things done.”

The Aztecs next match will be in the second Mountain West Conference semifinal on Wednesday, Nov. 1 at 1 p.m.

About the Contributor
Christie Yeung, '24-25 News Editor
Born in Hong Kong, Christie Yeung is a first-generation transfer student who majors in journalism at San Diego State University. Prior to arriving at SDSU, she served as the Gaming/Tech Editor, Features Editor and Managing Editor of SAC Media at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California where she was placed in on-the-spot competitions such as fourth in News photo, second in Portrait photo, first in Sports photo, first in Social Media and second in News writing, along with a meritorious mention in the Enterprise News Story/Series category from Journalism Association of Community Colleges. She was also awarded second in Best Breaking News Stories by the California College Media Association. During her free time, she likes to watch European soccer games, read, listen to Cantonese-pop music and play video games and Dungeons & Dragons with her online friends. She also has a sweet tooth and cannot turn away anything with Nutella in it.