Wildcats hold Miners to a 1-1 draw

Aaron J. Montes / The Prospector


Aaron Montes

Aleah Davis scores in the 12' minute to put the Miners up by 1. UTEP tied Abilene Christian 1-1.

Edwin Delgado, Sports Editor

With goals early in each half, the UTEP Miners and the Abilene Christian Wildcats tied at 1-1 on Sunday at University Field.

“I think we rose to the occasion today, there are some things that we need to improve on,” said Casey Wilson, Abilene Christian head coach. “UTEP is a tremendously athletic team and they played at a high level, but we played well and adapted to their style of play and I’m proud of the way we stuck it out.”

Despite a slow start, the Miners were able to push the Wildcats back. In the 11th minute, senior Jade Babcock stole the ball from a Wildcats defender but saw her effort go wide of the mark.

Just one minute later, freshman Nicole Lindsay served a ball to the middle of the box, but it was deflected falling in the path of midfielder Aleah Davis on the left. Davis shot to the near post to score and put the Miners up 1-0.

“I got the ball and I didn’t have a good angle but took the shot anyways,” Davis said. “At first I didn’t think I had scored, but with a little luck I was able to.”

In the 19th minute after a corner was cleared by the Wildcats defense, defender Tayler O’Hayre took a shot from outside the box but it went just wide right of the post. Five minutes later, Babcock again found some space between three defenders. Her first attempt was blocked and the second shot sailed over the bar.

“There are always ups and downs in soccer games, I think today we should’ve controlled the game a little better,” said senior midfielder Azia Nicholson. “There were times that we were able to get to the line and get crosses into the box but we need to do it more often.”

The first important chance for the Wildcats came in the 51st minute, when junior midfielder Emily Sumrall took a shot that went just wide of the goal.

In the 57th minute, Abilene Christian got the ball inside the box. The Miners were unable to clear the ball away and senior forward Andrea Carpenter found the ball and managed to dribble UTEP defender Kenah Linger, whose slide challenge wasn’t enough to stop Carpenter, and with a soft shot on the near post managed to beat freshman goalkeeper Keighton Allen.

After having a slow start for the second half the Miners pushed back the Wildcats and created several chances. In the 78th minute senior midfielder Tori Martyn won a header in the penalty area but it struck the crossbar.

Six minutes later, Babcock was unable to control the ball in the far post with the goalie out of position.

“Soccer is a cruel game and it just goes to show that in any given day any team can play at your level,” Babcock said. “We didn’t play our game today, we could’ve done things differently, tactically and there are things we need to improve on, but the effort of the team is always there.”

After 90 minutes of regulation, the game went to overtime. UTEP had most of the possession but couldn’t create opportunities until the last couple of minutes. With less than two minutes remaining, senior midfielder Azia Nicholson headed a cross from junior midfielder Mackenzie German that hit the post and missed the last chance to grab the win.

“We just weren’t playing our game, we didn’t play at our level and didn’t finish our chances,” Cross said. “ We played as if the game was going to be handed to us and it wasn’t. (Abilene Christian) put up a good fight.”

With the tie, the UTEP Miners are 2-1-1 in the season, and will host UC Riverside on Friday and Stephen F. Austin on Sept. 8 at University Field.

Edwin Delgado may be reached at [email protected]