POSTED: Sunday, October 9, 2011 - 3:49pm
UPDATED: Sunday, October 9, 2011 - 7:48pm
The UTEP soccer team preserved its unbeaten mark at home in 2011 after playing Rice to a 2-2 tie at University Field Sunday afternoon.
Brittany Kindzierski found the back of the net twice (23:18, 30:44) to the lead the way for the Miners (10-3-2, 4-1-1 C-USA), who moved to 8-0-1 in El Paso this year. The Owls (8-4-2, 3-2-1 C-USA) received tallies from Alex Burton (3:52) and Jessica Howard (87:31), with an unlucky bounce setting up the latter strike to force the extra session and eventual deadlock.
Katie Dorman, who hit the crossbar on a shot that would have afforded the home side a 3-1 lead at 68:58, picked up an assist on the initial Kindzierski tally while Azia Nicholson registered a helper on the second. The soccer gods repaid the Orange and Blue for the close call on Dorman’s shot, though, with an attempt by Rice’s Hope Ward deflecting off the post at 105:06 in the second OT period.
UTEP outshot Rice, 20-13, including 4-3 in overtime. Freshman netminder Sarah Dilling recorded three saves while Owls’ GK Amy Czyz was credited with four stops.
Rice struck first with a tally off a set piece. Ward laced a ball into the area, where it was redirected on goal by Burton. The ball snuck past Dilling, bouncing off the far post and into the back of net to afford the visiting side a 1-0 edge at 3:08.
The Miners regrouped, however, patiently probing the very stingy Owls’ defense, which had only allowed more than one goal once entering this contest. After four shots were either blocked or wide over the next 18 minutes, the Orange and Blue broke through for the equalizer.
Dorman played a beautiful ball to the far wing, which was controlled by Kindzierski. She composed herself, took one dribble and then put away a chance by rocketing the ball into the lower right, corner to tie the tilt at 23:18.
The tally firmly swung the momentum to the Miners, who would capitalize again seven minutes later. Off a throw in, Nicholson used her body to shield the defender. She then turned and split the defense with a cross to the far side, where Kindzierski had snuck in alone. The junior blistered a shot past a helpless Czyz, vaulting the Miners ahead (2-1) at 30:44.
UTEP continued to dominate possession and play the remainder of the period, but would have to settle for the 2-1 advantage heading into the half. Kenah Linger was denied by Czyz at 32:42 and then again at 41:56.
Solid marking by both teams made the tension palpable from the onset of the second stanza. The Owls mustered the first opportunity of the period on a shot by Lauren LaGro, which was gobbled up by Dilling at 49:50. RU registered another shot a few minutes later, but this time the Orange and Blue defense blocked it before it could get on goal.
LaGro tested Dilling again in the 63rd minute, and once again she was up to the task. The Miners then picked up their energy and worked the ball down the pitch to earn one of their seven corner kicks in the game. They could not finish, though, with the Owls sending the ball out of harms’ way.
Two minutes later UTEP looked poised to pad its cushion. A nifty move by Dorman gave her room to work with, but her shot cruelly clanked off the crossbar. As the period wore on the Owls began sending players forward in a desperate attempt to tie the tilt.
The visiting side would manage to do just that, after a clearing attempt by UTEP took a bad hop. The ball bounced down to the foot of Howard, who got just enough on it to lift it over the head of Dilling before it trickled into the net.
The Miners regrouped immediately, and nearly broke the tie. A nice service into the area found the head of Nicholson, but her redirect attempt sailed just wide.
UTEP controlled the first extra session, registering a corner kick and a shot with nine seconds left by Jade Babcock, but Czyz was there to make the stop. The Miners continued to play hard in the final OT period, but couldn’t get a shot to stay on target. Rice’s lone chance came in the aforementioned try that was denied by the post.