Sept. 23, 2016
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BOISE, Idaho - The Broncos are 1-0. After a challenging nonconference run, Boise State women's soccer started Mountain West play with a 1-0 win against Wyoming Friday, at Boas Soccer Complex. Janelle Flores delivered the Broncos' first shutout of the season in the face of 16 shots to make Raimee Sherle's first-half goal stand up for the victory.
"Really proud of us winning a game like that," said head coach Jim Thomas. "That's not us at all. That wasn't a great game for us and we found a way to win. More than anything, that's the element we've lacked. We've played medium, played well, played poor and not found a way to win. We found a way today."
Boise State (2-7-1, 1-0-0 MW) was the aggressor in the first half. The Broncos ripped off nine shots in the period, putting three on target. Sherle was the most active in the attack, playing just underneath the forwards and wreaking havoc on the Cowgirls defense.
In the 21st minute she made them pay. With the back line pressing up, Sherle timed a perfect run forward as Kayla Tucker delivered a ball over the top. Sherle outran the defense to the free ball bounding toward the top of the box. Wyoming goalkeeper Georgia Rowntree charged out as Sherle left her feet to deliver a leaping volley over Rowntree's head and into the back of the net.
It is Sherle's second goal of the season. She is the only Bronco to score in the first half of a match this season, with her first coming in the 36th minute of the season opener against Idaho State (Aug. 19). Tucker's brilliant long ball resulted in the 13th assist of her career, putting her in sole possession of second place for career assists at Boise State.
"We were really good in the first half," said Thomas. "The goal itself was a gem. Beautiful goal from front to back. It's something we've worked on. When you pull off a training-field goal in a match, that always feels good."
Wyoming (4-4-1, 0-1-0 MW) dominated possession in the second half. The Cowgirls took 10 shots and six corner kicks in the final stanza. The Broncos did not attempt a corner kick in the match and had just two shots in the second half.
Flores, making her first start since Aug. 28, organized a Bronco defense that dealt with constant pressure. Of the 10 shots taken in the half, Flores was only forced to save one. Seven were blocked by a Boise State field player before reaching the keeper. Flores also came out to clear a number of crosses and corner kicks, rising high above the crowded box on multiple occasions.
"Janelle was an absolute warrior today," said Thomas. "I felt like we defended for 45 minutes, and what defending it was. Brilliant. There was one, maybe two shooters that we let free. Otherwise we were all over it, blocking shots left and right. That was a true collective effort for us."
The shutout is Boise State's first since securing a 1-0 win las season at Colorado State (Oct. 25, 2015). It is the 10th clean sheet of Flores' career, moving her into sole possession of No. 4 on the school's all-time list.
Boise State has now started Mountain West play with a win in consecutive seasons. Last year the Broncos opened the conference slate knocking off San Diego State. It was the first time since joining the league Boise State had started the conference season on a victory.
The Broncos will look to build on the momentum Sunday, when Colorado State comes to town. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. MT at Boas Soccer Complex. The Rams (2-6-1, 0-1-0 MW) dropped their conference opener Friday, 3-1 at Utah State.