El Paso, TX — Redshirt-freshman MF Aleah Davis scored her first career goal (11:47) to help UTEP forge a 1-1 tie with Abilene Christian in front of 424 fans at University Field Sunday afternoon. The Miners (2-1-1) led 1-0 at the break but the Wildcats’ (2-0-1) Andrea Carpenter provided the equalizer at 57:22. UTEP dominated possession and play after conceding the tally but it was unable to light up the scoreboard again despite a plethora of chances.
The Miners outshot ACU, 18-8, including 7-2 in attempts on goal. UTEP also had some bad luck, with two headers besting Wildcats’ GK Sydney Newton only to be denied by the crossbar and post. Nicole Lindsay, who assisted on Davis’ tally, set her up again in the 78th minute with a service on a free kick. Her header streaked over Newton before clanking cruelly off the part of the goal where the crossbar and post intersect. In the second OT session, senior Azia Nicholson’s header clanked off the far right post.
UTEP played both of its keepers, with redshirt-freshman Keighton Allen replacing Sarah Dilling at the half. Allen was credited with the Miners’ lone save in the contest, denying ACU’s Emily Sumrall at 61:12. The Wildcats also utilized a pair of netminders, with Newton making five of the squad’s six saves.
“The soccer god’s weren’t particularly good to us and we weren’t particularly good,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “We gave them one good chance, and they took advantage by scoring a goal. We need to work on finishing and being sharper in the box.”
Both sides were content with a slow style of soccer to start the match, with play being contested primarily in the neutral portion of the pitch.
The first legitimate opportunity was for the Miners at the 10th minute, with Jade Babock picking up a ball at midfield. She raced up the pitch before unleashing a blast from just outside the area that whistled wide. The aggressive attack loosened up the ACU defense, which led to the first goal of the game.
Lindsay played a ball to Davis, who had the first shot blocked by the defense. She stayed with it, and finished the point-blank try with a solid left-footed strike.
UTEP continued to pressure after the redshirt-freshman’s tally. Tayler O’Hayre’s shot seemed destined for the back of the net but it narrowly missed wide at 17:08 while Soto’s strike from the far right post was gobbled up by Dombrowski at 21:22.
Possession was weighted heavily in favor of the home side for the remainder of period. The Orange and Blue were unable to add to their cushion before the break, but they did not permit a shot on goal in the stanza.
Allen was inserted at the half to replace Dilling. She communicated well as ACU intensified its attack, with Sumrall blasting a pair of shots off the mark in the opening 10 minutes of the stanza. She also did well to come off her line and pick off a couple of promising thru balls into space.
The Wildcats finally connected on a long pass, with Jacey Ferrara playing a quality ball to a cutting Carpenter. Allen left her line to cut off the angle only to have Carpenter sneak the shot under her as she slid for the equalizer.
UTEP started to adjust to the more assertive style of soccer by the Wildcats after conceding the goal. Tori Martyn one-timed a shot from the center portion of the box which forced Newton to make a diving stop at 58:26.
Seven minutes later it was Lauren Katada testing the keeper, who once again was up to the task. Momentum stayed with the Orange and Blue, with a quality cross setting up Lindsay in the box. She settled it and rifled the shot, which was corralled by Newton at 74:07.
Davis nearly netted her second strike of the contest in the 78th minute. Lindsay served a ball into the box off a free kick, and Davis elevated to hammer a header that just wouldn’t go home.
The Orange and Blue defense did its job in the final minute of the period to clear away a service off an ACU corner kick.
UTEP controlled both overtime sessions, evidenced by a 4-0 advantage in shots. Babcock fired two shots high in the first extra session while Davis was denied 21 seconds into the second OT period. Nicholson’s header seemed as if it would serve as the golden goal before the ball ricocheted off the post.