After a 15 minute delay, the UNLV women’s soccer team beat San Diego State in an overtime thriller led by Hevani Haunga with the game-winning goal in the last thirty seconds.
The game started out fast-paced with sophomore Lourdes Bosch scoring within the first two minutes. San Diego returned the swiftness with a goal right back in the fifth minute.
The Rebels and Aztecs kept the pace going with a goal at the 52:06 mark with Samantha Bailey taking the lead for UNLV, only for San Diego to tie the game at the 83:42 mark.
Haunguna ended San Diego State’s dreams, with an amazing shot in overtime with 25 seconds to go sealing the game beautifully for UNLV’s senior night.
"We are an overtime team!” Team Captain Robin Pollard said. “We won our last game in overtime in the exact same position, we have the exact same picture of us flooding the field and dog piling in that exact same corner, home-field advantage we were super pumped to go in and finish them off in the first overtime.”
Both teams demonstrated their offensive aggressiveness throughout the game with UNLV having 22 shots while San Diego only had 19 shots. Goalie Emberly Sevilla showed composure with her eight saves and outperformed San Diego’s goalie who had seven saves.
After previously losing to the Aztecs, the Rebels seemed determined to secure the victory, especially for the seniors on the team with their last home game.
"The difference was this- being home- we have the energy,” Head Coach Jenny Ruiz-Williams said. “That’s the difference is we have all of our people together, it’s great.”
Tonight was very emotional as it honored all the seniors on the team including Elly Reynada, Jozee Decunzo, Citlalli Alonso, Alyssa Granados, Samantha Bailey, and Robin Pollard as they wind down their career as a UNLV Rebel.
"They’re amazing,” Coach Ruiz-Williams said. “This win was because of them, they literally rallied together and said let’s do it for the seniors, I’m just grateful for all of them.”
The Rebels can’t stop yet as they prepare for their final two more games left in the regular season. The next battle will be at UNR on April 9 at 6:30 p.m. followed by a contest at Boise State on April 11 at noon.
"We are going to have to prepare for UNR, it’s exciting cuz it’s our last travel,” Coach Ruiz-Williams said. “We have to win out, we have to win everything, every game is a final for us right now like this was a final… that’s why we celebrated it like a final and we’ll celebrate Friday like it's a final and Sunday like it's a final because it is.”