LAS VEGAS — New Mexico's Terryn Granados scored in the second minute of the game and the Lobos made it stand in the 1-0 upset win over top-seeded Utah in the semifinal game of the Mountain West Conference's Soccer Championship Thursday.
With the win the Lobos will make their second visit to the MWC Championship game.
New Mexico improves to 8-6-4, while Utah falls to 14-6-1.
The Lobos got on the board with help from a misplayed ball by Utah's keeper, Ashley Mason. UNM's Katelyn Ley was credited with an assist as her throw-in from the right side bounced out of Mason's hands and dropped to the ground. Granados was the lucky recipient of the error and quickly deposited the ball into the back of the net.
"I never thought we would have to defend for 80 minutes," said New Mexico coach Kit Vela. "I didn't think it was going to be a one-goal game. The last time we played (Oct. 8) it was a 3-2 game. It was a great game. When we scored a minute and a half into the game I just thought it was going to be a long game. These girls (UNM) played with heart and soul."
The UNM victory pushed its winning streak to four games and snapped Utah's consecutive nine-game unbeaten streak. The Utes had not lost since an Oct. 2 match at Loyola Marymount (1-0).
Utah's best scoring opportunity occurred in the 83rd minute when Melissa Wayman directed a shot toward the left corner of the net. A Lobo defender stepped in front of the scoring chance and cleared it away from the goal. The Utes registered nine shots in the match with seven coming in the second half.
"First of all, give credit to New Mexico," said Utah head coach Rich Manning. "They were terrific. They beat us to the ball consistently most of the night. They were very organized and disciplined in what they were trying to do. They proved too tough for us to score on. I was proud of the fact that we rallied in the second half and worked hard. It shows a good sign of character in the team."
New Mexico dominated the first half by holding an 8-2 edge in shots, while Utah had a 7-1 advantage in the second. Each squad closed out the match with nine shots. New Mexico's Winters made five saves, while her counterpart, Mason, tallied four.
With the win, New Mexico advances to play the winner of the No. 2 UNLV and No. 6 San Diego State game at noon Saturday.