LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Behind Haley Curtis' free kick strike in the 108th minute, Utah Valley University grabbed a 2-1, double overtime victory at New Mexico State on Friday. It is the second time in the last three contests that Curtis has scored the golden goal in extra time.
Behind Kristen Bailey-Yoo's late equalizer, UVU (9-8-1, 7-3-1 WAC) forced NM State (4-12-2, 1-8-1 WAC) into overtime for the second time this season. While the first match was settled at a 2-2 draw, the Wolverines found the winning formula in the second go-around.
"New Mexico State played a great game," head coach Brent Anderson said. "They put us on our heels in the first half and we played a bit too defensive. We made some adjustments at halftime and started to play with a bit more urgency, getting ourselves into good scoring positions. We had a lot of confidence going into OT and that led us into drawing a foul in a dangerous spot where Haley stepped up."
UVU fired two shots on goal during the first OT period, and one more in the second, before Curtis stepped behind the ball for a free kick opportunity in the 108th minute. An Aggie foul near the penalty area allowed for the set piece, and Curtis handled it all herself, bending a hard, right-footed shot into the side netting to settle the final score line.
Curtis now has seven goals on the season, tying teammate and fellow senior Natalie Baker for the team lead. More importantly, Curtis has tallied the golden goal in each of the Wolverines' last two overtime victories as the Yakima, Wash., native also scored the game-winner in UVU's 3-2 overtime defeat of Idaho two weeks ago.
Utah Valley outshot NM State, 18-11, in the win, including a 10-7 advantage in shots on goal. The Wolverines also earned nine corner kicks Friday, a figure that paid dividends on Bailey-Yoo's equalizer in the 77th minute.
Trailing 1-0, midfielder McKell Salmon's driven corner kick was met by a leaping Bailey-Yoo. The header flew past NM State keeper Tayler Hammack to pull things level.
Bailey-Yoo's second goal of the season, the tally erased the Aggies' opening score from Layla Todd in the 21st minute.
"We had talked about capitalizing on our set piece opportunities," Anderson said. "The girls really stepped up on that today, getting two goals in those situations."
Goalkeeper Lauren Sack made six stops in the match, including one crucial save in the second overtime period. She improves to 7-7-1 this year.
Utah Valley closes the 2013 regular season Sunday with a rematch at Kansas City at 12:30 p.m. MT. The Wolverines can secure the second-place spot in the WAC standings with either a win or a tie on Sunday. Meanwhile, UMKC, just a point back of UVU in the league table, can grab second place with a victory.
No matter the outcome, UVU and UMKC are already guaranteed to face one another in the quarterfinals of the WAC Tournament next weekend in Las Cruces. That matchup will come in the tournament's two-seed versus three-seed game.
Kellen Hiser is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.