UNLV women’s soccer kick off the season on home turf with a matchup against Dixie State as it hosts the Las Vegas Invitational at Peter Johann Memorial Field. The Rebels fell short to the Trailblazers, losing in the last two minutes with a final score of 1-2.
The 2021 campaign marks head coach Jenny Ruiz-Williams’ second season at the helm of the Rebel women’s soccer program.
"It’s always special to open up on our home field,” Ruiz-Williams said. “I think the girls did a great job. We really wanted to focus on attacking and we did. We just need to get those final little touches of how we finish the game off.”
Dixie State switched to a D1 school last season, but this was the first time the two teams faced off. This allowed the Rebels and Trailblazers to learn each other's style of play as the game continued.
Five minutes into the game, Kalea Woodyatt knocked a goal in for the Trailblazers. This woke the Rebels up for a more offensive game.
UNLV managed to keep control for the majority of the remainder of the game. Alyssa Xaso hit from the left corner of the box twenty minutes in, tying the game 1-1.
Even with a strong offensive effort throughout the game, Dixie stole the ball for Whitley Griffiths to score the winning goal (1-2), assisted by Woodyatt.
Sophomore Riley Liebsack started for UNLV as the last line of defense. This was her first game playing at the college level and made one save out of the three shots on goal Dixie gave her.
"It was a little nerve-wracking at first, but my teammates definitely helped pick up my spirits and gave me confidence. They helped a lot,” Liebsack said. “I hope on Saturday we can get a result as a team because I felt like today we had so many chances to put it away and score, so I hope next game we can finish with a clean sheet.”
The Rebels had 17 shots throughout the game with seven of those being on goal but were only able to get one past Dixie’s goaltender, Adelle Brown.
After a devastating loss, the Rebels return to the field Saturday at 4:30 pm to take on UC Davis in hopes of improving their ability to offensively attack as a team.
UC Davis won their first game of the tournament (1-0) against New Mexico leading them to Saturday’s game with the same number of goals as UNLV.
Fans can follow the game through the live stats link on UNLVRebels.com and in-game updates via Twitter on the official team account @UNLVwSoccer.