When college soccer became a contact sport

This day in football history

On 5 November 2009, top-seeded Brigham Young University defeated fourth seed New Mexico 1–0 in the semifinals of the Mountain West Conference Women’s Soccer Tournament. The match made international headlines because of the actions of New Mexico defender Elizabeth Lambert.

After BYU took a 1–0 lead with a 31st-minute header from forward Carlee Payne, cameras caught Lambert engaging in aggressive play with Payne and her fellow BYU forward, Kassidy Shumway. At one point, Lambert elbowed Payne in the back. She later pulled Shumway to the ground by her ponytail. Surprisingly, none of those actions drew any attention from the referee, though Lambert received a late yellow card for a trip.

The story went viral after a video of Lambert was shown on ESPN. She went on to receive severe criticism and, reportedly, one marriage proposal.

Following the game, Lambert apologized for her actions and was suspended for two games. She returned to the team in 2010 as New Mexico captured the MWC championship.