Zias clinch program’s second LSC soccer tournament bid

Freedom New Mexico

Eastern New Mexico University wrapped up its second Lone Star Conference tournament berth in the nine-year history of the program on Friday, erupting for three second-half goals in a 4-1 victory over Incarnate Word at the ENMU soccer pitch.

The Zias (7-5-3, 5-3-3 LSC) moved into third place in the conference, pending the outcome of Texas A&M-Commerce’s home match later Friday against Midwestern State. ENMU cannot finish lower than sixth in the eight-team LSC, and the top six advance to the tournament scheduled for Nov. 3-6.

The Zias’ only previous berth in the tournament came in the 2006 season.

It also marked the first time in 10 matches, dating to a 2-1 win over West Texas A&M on Sept. 13, that the Zias have scored more than one goal. Despite that, they had gone 4-3-3 in that stretch.

Leading 1-0 at halftime, junior midfielder Kimberly Luna scored her third goal of the season less than three minutes into the second half, and freshman forward Alysia Carrasco followed by punching in a cross pass from senior midfielder Andrea Elizondo for her third goal of the year with just over nine minutes gone in the half for a 3-0 lead over the Cardinals (4-7-4, 2-7-3).

Freshman midfielder Mika Willis took a through pass from junior defender Mackenzie Morris in the 85th minute for her first goal. UIW’s Amanda Watkins broke up the shutout about a minute later, punching in a deflection off the cross bar.

Elizondo scored about 12 minutes into the match off a corner kick from freshman midfielder Angela Sandoval.

The Zias, with three matches left in the regular season, play their home finale at 1 p.m. Sunday against Angelo State.