SMU Tops UTEP 2-1 On The Road
Oct. 23, 2011
EL PASO, Texas (SMU) - Freshman Briana Gaines led the charge in the second half as the SMU women's soccer team rallied from behind to pick up a crucial 2-1 victory over UTEP at University Field. With the win, the Mustangs move to 10-7-1 on the year, and 6-3-1 in Conference USA , while the Miners drop to 10-6-3 overall and 4-4-2 in conference play.
UTEP broke the first half deadlock in the 34th minute as Azia Nicholson scored the match's opening goal. Mackenzie German got down the right flank and crossed a dangerous ball into the Mustang box. Nicholson held off an SMU defender as the pass came in and chipped the shot over Courtney Webb.
With the shot total even at 3-3 at the end of the half, and none on goal for SMU, the Mustangs picked up the attack in the second 45 minutes.
Freshman Briana Gaines leveled the game in the 57th minute with a shot to the corner of the goal past Miner goalkeeper Sarah Dilling. It was the Mustangs first shot on goal of the match. Jessica Bartol and Olivia Elliott were credited with assists on the play.
The goal seemingly gave life to SMU as the team picked up its pressure. The Ponies nearly found the go-ahead goal in the 76th minute as Courtney Smith ripped a free kick from just outside the right corner of the penalty box that Dilling had to knock away before it found the inside of the near post. Five minutes later, Smith sent a cross into the box that Ryanne Lewis got on the end of. The junior's header was corralled by the Miner keeper on goal line.
The constant pressure paid off in the 88th minute as Gaines picked up her second goal of the match. After UTEP was flagged for being offside, Smith sent a long free kick into the Miner end. Bartol got a shot off that was saved by Dilling, but Gaines was there to put the rebound in for the game-winning goal. It was the freshman's third tally of season and first game-winner.
SMU dominated the second half, outshooting UTEP 12-5 while putting eight shots on goal to the Miners' two. Gaines led the Mustang offense with four shots, three on goal, while Webb had three saves on the day, including one less than minute prior to Gaines' goal in which a Miner attacker got a clean shot off from six yards out. Bartol tallied assists on both goals.
With the win, the Ponies assured themselves a spot in the Conference USA tournament with one match left to play.
The Mustangs will head to Tulsa for the regular season finale on Oct. 28. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at Hurricane Stadium.