East Carolina Walks the Plank, UTEP defeats the Pirates, 3-2
POSTED: Sunday, September 25, 2011 - 5:24pm
UPDATED: Sunday, September 25, 2011 - 8:17pm
The UTEP soccer team extended its unbeaten streak to six with a 3-2 lightning-delayed victory against East Carolina at University Field Sunday afternoon. The match was tied (1-1) in the 63rd minute before the Miners (8-2-1, 2-0-0) stunned the Pirates (5-3-1, 0-2-0 C-USA) with two goals in a span of one-minute and 39 seconds.
Azia Nicholson started the stretch by one-timing home a pass from Tess Hall at 62:31, and then Hall set up senior Katie Dorman’s header for the eventual match-winning strike at 64:10. Dorman’s tally made it 3-1 in favor of the home side, but there was plenty of drama left in the tilt.
ECU fought back and trimmed the UTEP advantage to one (3-2) after Amanda Malkiewicz put away a chance at 80:12. Freshman netminder Sarah Dilling, who finished with five saves, would not let the Pirates pull even.
She punched a shot by Caty Bulter over the bar at 84:58 before cleanly saving respective shots from Kimmy Cummings (85:31) and Malkiewicz (86:51). Bad weather then came into the area, with lightning forcing a delay of just shy of an hour.
The match would resume with a little more than three minutes to play in regulation, and the Orange and Blue would prevail. The lone chance for the Pirates was wiped away on an offside call at 89:24.
UTEP improves to 7-0-0 on the year at home, and it has outscored the opposition by a count of 18-2 in those contests. Additionally the Miners are now 5-0-1 over their past six games, including 4-0-0 in the Sun City.
The Pirates established a quick tempo at the onset of the match. They worked the ball down the pitch off the kickoff and earned a corner kick. The service was lifted into the area and Leah Bagonis ripped a low shot in on net, but Dilling was well positioned for the save. The rebound then was cleared away by the Miners’ stop troops.
UTEP asserted itself after the close call, earning a corner kick of its own. It did not convert, but the Miners’ attack would persist. Dorman won a ball in space and then threaded the needle with a pass into space for Brittany Kindzierski.
The junior took a couple of dribbles, deked past ECU netminder Christian Cordero, and calmly tapped the ball into the empty net. Her second strike of the season afforded the Orange and Blue a 1-0 advantage at 7:09.
The Pirates looked to counter following the tally, but Dilling alertly broke up a pair of promising chances by coming off her line. She intercepted a long through ball by snatching it off the bounce the 16th minute before doing so with a laser in the air in the 25th minute. The native of Calgary, Alberta, did so one more time in the period, using a slide in the 32nd minute.
At the other end of the pitch the Miners were methodical with their approach, patiently probing the ECU defense. They could not get a shot on goal but the solid possession allowed them to carry the 1-0 lead into the break.
A foul a few yards outside the area afforded the Pirates a good look on a set piece in the 48th minute. UTEP’s back line was up to the task, though, sending it away.
ECU continued to maintain some possession deep in Orange and Blue territory, and it would find the equalizer a few minutes later. Off a corner kick the ball was deflected, and Butler managed to redirect the loose ball home with a header at 51:56.
The first strike against the home side in 2011 stunned it, but only momentarily. UTEP would regroup and respond, blitzing ECU for two goals in less than two minutes.
The Pirates made things interesting down the stretch, but the Orange and Blue would come away with the triumph.