LAS CRUCES, N.M. - A coaching career that started in 1992 reached yet another milestone on Friday afternoon, as University of Denver women's soccer head coach Jeff Hooker earned his 300th DU win and his 280th DU women's soccer win in the 24th-ranked Pioneers 3-0 victory over New Mexico State at NMSU Soccer Complex.
"There was a lot of enthusiasm around the team on this trip before we even got to the match today, and that aspect really carried over into today's game," Hooker said. "We played with a lot of purpose straight away. I think we knew this was going to be a physical game, but we rose to the occasion in that aspect of the match. For us, a 2-0 halftime lead put us in a great position to be able to keep players fresh."
Junior forward Kristen Hamilton (Littleton, Colo.) snagged the breakthrough in the 26th minute off an assist from senior forward Kalie Vaughn (Fort Collins, Colo.). Junior centerback Jessy Battelli (Golden, Colo.) played a ball to Vaughn on the wing to start the scoring chance. Vaughn cut into the middle of the field and faked her shot before sliding a pass to Hamilton. The WAC's leading scorer turned her defender, and fired a rocket from 12 yards out to give DU the advantage.
Denver (10-1-4, 2-0-2 WAC, 8 pts) didn't sit on its one-goal lead, as Hamilton doubled the margin in the 31st minute on her 10th goal of the season. Junior midfielder Stephanie Woo (San Mateo, Calif.) volleyed a bouncing ball in the midfield over top the Aggies' backline. Hamilton beat her defender to Woo's lob, chested it down and struck her half-volley past a charging Mikaela Bitner to give DU the two-goal cushion.
Senior midfielder Katy Van Lieshout (Boulder, Colo.) made it 3-0 in the 56th minute off buildup play from the left flank. Vaughn dribbled the ball down the left side before playing a low cross to Hamilton in the middle of the box. Hamilton laid a one-touch pass back to Van Lieshout who found the back of the net from 15-yards out.
The Pioneers outshot New Mexico State (1-10-3, 0-3-1 WAC, 1 pt.) 13-8, and held a 6-3 edge in corners.
With Hamilton's five-point afternoon, the Pioneer junior moved into sixth-place on DU's all-time points list (86) and seventh place on the Pioneers all-time goals list (33).
Hooker is Denver's longest-tenured active coach, earning his 300th win today in his 21st women's season. The Pioneer head coach also managed two seasons with the DU men's program from 1996-97.
"It's (the 300th win) indicative of the program, and the support that it gets from the top all the way down: from the Chancellor to (Vice Chancellor for Athletics and Recreation) Peg Bradley-Doppes to (Assistant Vice Chancellor/Senior Associate Athletics Director) Ron Grahame and all the way down," Hooker said. "We've been fortunate enough to continue to recruit smart, skilled and focused players, and winning has become contagious from class to class that has come through this program."
After its second consecutive idle Sunday, DU returns to CIBER Field at the University of Denver Soccer Stadium next Friday, as the Pioneers host UTSA at 6 p.m. MT.
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