Why did BYU’s soccer game with ‘ponytail girl’ go viral in 2009

Note: This story is part of the Deseret News Sports Team Flashback Friday series, which revisits unforgettable moments with the participation of Utah teams.

The highlights of NCAA women’s football rarely appear on national athletic programs, but the November 5, 2009, match between the University of BP and New Mexico was stymied by a proliferation of violent things on the field.

Videos shared in broadcasts – then replayed over and over again Youtube By unbelievable sports fans – young Elizabeth Lambert of New Mexico was shown handling, kicking and hitting her BYU opponents. She even pulled one player, Cassidy Shamway, to the ground by her ponytail.

“What started as a physical — and sometimes grueling — women’s soccer match between top seed BYU and fourth seed New Mexico in the Mountain West Conference semi-finals on Thursday exploded into a national story on Friday due to Lobo Junior’s defensive performance Elizabeth Lambert,” the Deseret News I mentioned at the time.

To be clear, Lambert wasn’t the only one playing sloppy, but in the match videos, she was shown like a sore thumb. As a result, she became the subject of online petitions and on Facebook pages, calling for her to be banned from college football.

“I think the way the video came out made me look like a monster. That’s not the kind of player I am now,” Lambert said. New York times In her first post-match interview.

She explained in the same interview that some of the comments on the match had a sexual nature.

“I definitely feel feminine,” Lambert said. “It brought in a lot more attention than if a man was doing it.” “Men are more expected to go out there and be tough.”

In addition to criticizing Lambert for her aggressive tactics, commentators have questioned why her coach and referees failed to intervene.

“How could (Joe) Pimentel, a referee from some local stand-up, stand idly by while such horrific and premeditated absurdities were in full swing? He issued one yellow card a game, perhaps for Lambert’s least foul, trip on (UBC’s Carly). Payne. No action was taken against Lambert’s teammate who kicked the ball in Payne’s face in the same incident.” New York times mentioned.

Payne, who scored the game’s only goal, told Deseret News in 2009 that both teams wanted to win so badly.

“It was a very tough and very physical match,” she said. “They wanted it as badly as we did but we managed to hit the target.”

With the win, BYU advanced to the Conference Championship against San Diego State. They lost that match 1-0, according to Deseret News coverage.

Lambert was eventually suspended for two games for her conduct during the semi-final match, and was not eligible to return to the field until the fall of 2010, according to Associated Press.

In a 2014 article about other controversies related to New Mexico’s women’s soccer program, Equalizer He noted that Lambert’s first season didn’t go as well as he had expected before the infamous hair-raising game.

“During her first season, Lambert played a total of 98 minutes – which equates to just over one full game, when in 2009 she played in all 21 games and led her teammates in minutes played,”