Aztecs Beat Utah State, Clinch MW Regular-Season Title
Oct. 27, 2013
LOGAN, Utah -
SDSU secured its third-ever MW regular-season crown as a result of its 16th regular-season conference road win in its last 17 tries and New Mexico's 2-1 overtime loss at Boise State. The back-to-back league titles marks the first time the Aztecs have won back-to-back championships since winning the WAC title in 1998 before capturing the Mountain West crown in 1999.
"I'm so proud of this team for what they have accomplished to this point," head coach Mike Friesen said. "We have played our best soccer over the last few weeks and feel like we are peaking at the right time. Each championship brings a different challenge and it is exciting to see this group achieve one of their goals."
Reaching one of their goals was attainable once Haley Palmer broke a scoreless tie in the 18th minute. The senior split two USU defenders, got into the box and blasted a shot that tickled the twine. The goal from the left side was the preseason All-American's first of the season.
Carrying a 1-0 lead into the second half, Palmer made sure the Aztecs were leaving Logan with the conference prize as she scored once again in the 54th minute. The Windsor, Calif., native scored off a set piece from 18 yards out, which gave the visitors a two-goal cushion with 36 minutes to play.
San Diego State was able to play out the rest of the second half without allowing a goal as Melanie Vaughn picked up her eighth shutout of 2013. The goalkeeper was untested for a majority of the match after she was forced to make just one save.
The backline in front of Vaughn, which included Palmer, limited the Aggies to six shots. Offensively, SDSU attempted 21 with 14 of those coming on net. The Aztecs also attempted six corner kicks while allowing only three.
Palmer and Hannah Keane led all players with four shots and three shots on goal apiece. Victoria Barba and Kelsey Booth, meanwhile, each attempted three. Booth put all three on net and Barba had two come on target.
As a result of winning the regular-season championship, the Aztecs earned the league's No. 1 seed in the Mountain West tournament and will play host to the conference tournament in 2014.
San Diego State closes out its regular-season slate on Friday, Nov. 1, when it plays at New Mexico. The finale will be streamed online via the Mountain West Network at 5 p.m. MT.