Soto’s golden goal gives UTEP 2-1 Battle of I-10 win in OT

College Sports

EL PASO, Texas – El Pasoan Jackie Soto scored twice, including a golden goal, to lift the UTEP soccer team to an exhilarating 2-1 victory over NM State in the “Battle of I-10” at University Field Thursday evening. The victory improves the Miners to 10-1 all time against the Aggies.

NM State struck nine minutes into contest on a tally from Bianca Chacon, but UTEP kept its composure and would rally. The Orange and Blue found the equalizer from Soto in the 73rd minute, with Vanessa Cabello and Molly Sutherland picking up assists on the play. She then delivered the match winner on a wild sequence in the box in the 96th minute. Vic Bohdan and Kam Fisher earned assists.

Freshman Luisa Palmen recorded two saves for the victory. The Miners outshot NM State 11-9, including 6-3 for shots on goal.

“I’m just super proud of the 90+ minute effort” Balogun said. “I think this is the first game that we’ve put together both defense and offense. We had some really good combination play in the second half and into overtime. We had some solid performances against some really good players from the Aggies. Overall, it was just a really good performance.”

UTEP pressured immediately, with Emerson Kidd firing a chance from just past midfield that forced NM State GK Makenna Gottschalk to make the save. Palmen then was called upon in the eighth minute, making a diving save that led to an Aggie corner. The Miners cleared away the service, but NM State roared back up the pitch where Chacon put away the chance.

UTEP regrouped and headed back on attack, with a try by Bohdan clanking cruelly off the crossbar. Palmen kept it a one-goal deficit with a stop on a shot by Corey Kizer (23’). UTEP generated two chances down the stretch, but both were turned away by Gottschalk. She tracked the chance by Kidd in the 39th minute while turning away Ayana Noel with five seconds remaining in the stanza.

Fisher appeared to have pulled her squad even in the 61st minute only to have a brilliant stop by Gottschalk keep the ball out of the back of the net. UTEP was unable to capitalize on the ensuing corner kick, one of three it earned in the contest.

It proved to be a moot point with the Miners stringing together a good sequence of soccer to set up Soto from the top of the box. She unleashed a right-footed blast that Gottschalk managed to get her hands on, but the try had enough force that it still tickled the twine. UTEP went in search of the match winner in the waning minutes, but a header from Kidd was errant.

The Miners did get it done in the first overtime period. Bohdan laced a ball into the area that was touched down by Fisher to Soto, who buried it past a helpless Gottschalk. UTEP will play host to Rice in its C-USA opener at 7 p.m. MT on Sept. 16. The Aggies now head to the Sin City to take on UNLV on Sunday, Sept. 12, at 2 p.m. (MT).

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