POSTED: Friday, September 30, 2011 - 11:29pm
UPDATED: Friday, September 30, 2011 - 11:43pm
Junior Tess Hall scored her team-high fifth goal of the year while freshman goalkeeper Sarah Dilling made a career-best-tying nine saves but the UTEP soccer team ultimately came up short at No. 25 UCF, 4-1, Friday evening.
The match was scoreless through the first 40 minutes only to have the Knights’ (7-2-2, 2-1-0 C-USA) Stacie Hubbard score twice off free kicks from distance late in the first half to put the home side up, 2-0, at the break.
The Miners (8-3-1, 2-1-0 C-USA) struck back, though, with Hall converting on a penalty kick at 60:10 to slice the deficit to one. UTEP vied to find the equalizer as momentum was firmly on its side over the next several minutes, with a corner kick and shots from Hall and Brittany Kindzierski, but it was not to be.
Instead, the Knights received much-needed insurance goals from Nicolette Radovcic (79:09) and Tishia Jewell (89:47) to hold on for the victory.
UCF netminder Aline Reis was credited with five stops for the Knights, who withstood five UTEP corner kicks as well.
At the onset of the match the Miners wasted little time in establishing their offensive rhythm, with senior Katie Dorman’s shot being blocked out of bounds to set up a corner kick at 2:58. The service into the area was knocked over the end line by the Knights, resulting in another corner kick. UTEP couldn’t convert, though.
Two minutes later Brittany Kindzierski found some space to work with and ripped a shot on net but Reis was up to the task.
The home side started to get its attack going in the 17th minute with Jewell testing Dilling. She delivered a brilliant save, coercing the ball out of play. On the ensuing corner kick, the Miners’ defense blocked a shot by Kayla Darden.
The Orange and Blue then put together a couple of chances but could not find paydirt. Reis denied Mackenzie German at 19:20 while a Kindzierski shot sailed high at 21:58. Hall’s shot was cleanly collected by Reis at 25:29.
The two teams went back-and-forth the next several minutes with good marking from each preventing any true opportunities. That changed in the 38th minute when Dilling came through in a big way. She robbed Jennifer Martin on a header at 38:38 and then somehow saved her rebound shot.
The Knights finally broke through late in the period. Hubbard bested Dilling with a shot into the top, right corner off a free kick from 35 yards out at 41:33. Less than two minutes later another UTEP foul set up a free kick from a similar distance, Hubbard’s cannon shot found the back of the net.
Dilling did her part early in the second stanza to keep her squad within striking distance, stoning Radovcic twice (48:21, 51:15) and Kristina Trujic (52:04).
The Miners regrouped after the big push from the Knights, and began to play their style of soccer. They were rewarded for this approach in the form of a foul on UCF in the box, resulting in a penalty kick. Hall buried the golden opportunity to slice the UCF lead in half (2-1) with 30 minutes to play.
The rally would not come to fruition, though, with the Miners’ push coming up just shy before the Knights found the aforementioned insurance strikes. UTEP will look to bounce back when it plays at Southern Miss at 12 p.m. MT Sunday.