German’s Golden Goal Propels UTEP Past Abilene Christian
El Paso, TX — Senior Mackenzie German finished a feed from sophomore Bri Barreiro at 97:26 to send UTEP to a 1-0 road overtime win against Abilene Christian at a hot Shotwell Field Sunday afternoon. On the game-winning sequence Barreiro did well to fend off the Wildcat (0-2-0) defense before finding German, who bested GK Sydney Newton to cap an unblemished opening weekend for the Miners (1-0-1).
Senior Sarah Dilling recorded three saves, including a brilliant stop in the first minute of overtime, to post her second straight and 14th career shutout. Shots were even at 13, but UTEP held significant advantages in both shots on goal (9-3) and corner kicks (6-3). It was smart, disciplined soccer by the Miners, evidenced by all five offside infractions in the contest going against ACU.
“I am super proud of the girls,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “We have been working so hard for that goal, and Mack (Mackenzie German) came through. That was a big win, as ACU tied us last year at home. It was tough conditions today as well. My staff did a great job preparing for this game.”
UTEP showed some good energy early on, creating a couple opportunities. A try by sophomore Aleah Davis whistled high at 4:30 while German was stoned by Newton at 6:59. German was also turned away at 13:30.
Dilling was called upon for the first time in the match when ACU’s Lindsey Jones got some space to work with in the 28th minute. She sent a shot in on target, which was handled by the senior at 27:50. The Miners then went back on the offensive, where once again German was turned away by Newton at 32:07.
There was a sense of urgency for the Orange and Blue to start the second half, and it continued throughout the rest of the match.
German’s shot was blocked at 53:14 but her relentless motor allowed her to win the loose ball. She nailed a shot that forced a save by Newton but ACU couldn’t clear. The ball eventually ended up on the foot of Barreiro who beat Newton only to have it hit the post at 54:07.
UTEP earned a corner kick at 55:29 but the service was cleared by ACU. The visitors regained control and were knocking on the door in the 60th minute. Sophomore Hannah Nicholson produced a well-struck ball that Newton managed to keep out but it did go over the end line for a corner kick. Tayler O’Hayre’s booming service into the box was sent away by the ACU defense.
The Wildcats managed to get another look for Jones, who once again was denied by Dilling at 62:30. UTEP regrouped and quickly re-established tempo and control in the contest for the remainder of the second half. Freshman Margaret Hadley was stopped by Newton in the 69th minute while sophomore Nicole Lindsay was turned away eight minutes later.
Junior Angela Cutaia unleashed a wicked shot that forced another save and set up a UTEP corner kick, but once again ACU survived the sequence. The Miners earned a corner kick with 50 seconds to play but were unable to capitalize, sending the match to OT.
It was a frenetic start to the sudden-victory period, with Dilling robbing Jones at 90:41. On the ensuing corner the ball was controlled by ACU, but the UTEP defense stepped up to block respective shots by Chantal Kinsey (91:20) and Katie Lane (91:58). The back line eventually got a clear. Five minutes later it was German finally besting Newton, after a fine feed from Barreiro.
UTEP can’t rest on its laurels, though, with a busy week of soccer ahead. The Miners will renew the FirstLight Federal Credit Union Battle of I-10 against NM State at 7 p.m. Wednesday before playing host to Incarnate Word (7 p.m. Friday) and Houston Baptist (1 p.m., Aug. 31). The latter two matches will be a part of the Fifth-Annual Border Bash.
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