Mustangs Get Key Home Win Over UTEP, 3-0
Sept. 28, 2012
DALLAS (SMU) - If penalty kicks are the most exciting plays in soccer, then SMU's 3-0 home win over UTEP on Friday night was a thriller.
The Mustangs scored two goals off of penalty kicks in a span of less than two minutes in the second half. Just before the 51st minute, UTEP was charged with a foul in the box that gave Mallory Baum a penalty kick. Baum tucked the ball in just inside the left post to give SMU a 1-0 lead.
Following suit, Olivia Elliott was rewarded a penalty kick after UTEP committed a hand ball inside the box. Elliott also found space inside the left post to give the Mustangs a quick 2-0 lead.
Five minutes later, Rikki Clarke put the game away for the Mustangs as Elliott and Shelby Redman were able to get UTEP goalkeeper Sarah Dilling out of position off near the right post. Clarke received the ball from point-blank range in front of the goal and scored her second goal of the season.
SMU seemed to be off to a slow start in the first half, as UTEP outshot the Mustangs 8-4. SMU couldn't get its passing game going, something which Head Coach Chris Petrucelli credited partially to the wet conditions at Westcott Field. Rain poured heavily leading right up to kickoff.
"It was hard to get a hold of the ball," Petrucelli said. "We like to pass the ball. We struggled really in our passing game. Part of that was us, part of that was their pressure, and part of that was the conditions."
The Mustangs came out of halftime energized, however, and outshot the Miners 11-5 in the period. SMU's ball pressure was up, which not only led to the decisive penalty kicks, but also to seven corner kick opportunities.
"We changed our shape; we put an extra player forward," Petrucelli said of his team's changed tactics after halftime. "We put Rikki (Clarke) way up high. It put a little pressure in their center backs, which we weren't getting in the first half."
Freshman Shannon Moroney made her second-career start in goal for SMU, and tallied her first shutout. She made three saves, and cut off numerous passes into the box. Elliott picked up an assist on Clarke's goal, as did Shelby Redman, who is now tied with Kenzie Scovill for the team lead in points with 14.
With the win, the Mustangs improve to 5-5-1 (1-1-1 C-USA) on the season. SMU will take on Colorado College on Sunday for a 2 p.m. afternoon affair. Petrucelli noted that a win like this goes a long way in helping the team moving forward against a quality opponent like the Tigers.
"Confidence is a big thing in this game," Petrucell said. "This game will certainly help us. We were able to rest people too, and that will help us on Sunday as well."
Tickets for Sunday's game, as well as any Mustangs home game, can be purchased online at www.smumustangs.com/tickets or by calling 214-SMU-GAME.