EL PASO, Texas - Senior all-America Andrea Carpenter's game-tying goal in the 58th minute combined with a stellar defensive effort earned the Abilene Christian soccer team a 1-1 tie with UTEP Sunday at University Field.
Today's match was the Wildcats' first against a NCAA Division I school as they remain unbeaten on the season at 2-0-1. The Miners, meanwhile, will enter their third weekend of play at 2-1-1 after starting the year at 2-0. UTEP fell to Utah State Friday, 1-0, after starting its season with consecutive home wins over Utah Valley and Nebraska-Omaha.
"UTEP is a very good and athletic team that holds an outstanding home record," said head coach Casey Wilson. "I will give our ladies credit today for their effort and heart. They adapted well and held their own in a physical game."
The Miners largely controlled the pace of play in the first half and took a 1-0 lead near the end of the 12th minute when Aleah Davis hammered one past ACU freshman goalkeeper Kelsey Dombrowski off a blocked shot. Nicole Lindsay was credited with the assist.
UTEP peppered the ACU goal afterward with several more attempts, but entered the break up by one goal despite outshooting the Wildcats 8-1.
ACU intensified its attack at the start of the second half and received its equalizer 13 minutes later from Carpenter on a partial breakaway with the assist coming from Jacey Ferrara. Carpenter's goal - past UTEP goalkeeper Keighton Allen - was her second of the season and 45th of her prestigious career. The goal also lifted her program record and career point total to 101 points.
The Wildcats' second half goalkeeper Sydney Newton persevered the tie through the end of regulation with four saves. ACU also caught a break when a header by Davis ricocheted off the crossbar/post intersection in the 78th minute.
The Wildcats would not allow another shot in regulation and surrendered only four attempts through 20 minutes of overtime. Newton caught a Davis header at the start of the 101st minute for her fifth and final save of the match.
Davis and teammate Jade Babcock led the Miners with four shots each. ACU's Emily Sumrall led her team with five as the Wildcats were outshot 18-8.
Wilson undoubtedly left the match impressed by his defenders' performances, especially that of senior Whitley Lindholm, who he referred to as an 'animal.'
"She (Whitley) was our player of the game," he said. "She was all over the field today playing holding mid, and we know she was going to be key today being the athlete that she is ... having that ability to run players down and win balls in the middle. Brie Buschman also had another great game anchoring the defensive line.
"It was a team effort today," he continued. "We used a lot of players and was nice to see some step up."
The Wildcats return to action Friday at John Brown University for the continuation of their five-match road trip that also includes Drury, Midwestern State and Wayland Baptist.