ABILENE – Senior Alyssa Palacios made seven saves and the Miners produced eight shots on goal but Abilene Christian spoiled UTEP’s hot start to the season, 1-0, in double overtime on Sunday.
Christina Arteaga (103’) scored for the Wildcats (1-0) on a shot from just outside the box.
“The loss in double overtime was very unfortunate and felt like a punch to the gut,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “We give credit to Abilene Christian for always battling us year-after-year. We will learn from this game, as we are still a very young team. We are excited to play at home on Friday night.”
The Miners registered 12 total shots, with eight of those on target. Lauren Crenshaw led the team with four shots, forcing the Wildcat keeper Rachel Johnson to make three saves. Sophomore Vic Bohdan added to the attack with two total shots, with both of those being on target.
Sophomore Anna Jimmerson got her squad off to a quick start, putting the Wildcats under pressure with a shot in the third minute of the game. Crenshaw followed that with a shot from just outside the box, requiring Johnson to make a save in the 12th minute. Palacios notched three saves in the opening half, with one coming off a cross into the box that was shot from right in front of the goal.
Early in the second half sophomore Jackie Soto (48’) shot from outside the box, forcing Johnson to make a quick save. Bohdan followed up with a volley from a cross by April Pate that was saved by Johnson in the 50th minute.
Redshirt-freshman Nicole Pugsley got into the action by taking a chance from 20-yards out, but she put the ball just barely over the net in the 67th minute.
Palacios showed her talent in the final five minutes of regulation. She kept the match scoreless by making consecutive saves in the 88th and 89th minute, pushing the game to overtime.
The Miners were unable to take a shot in both overtime periods. Palacios once again stepped up to the challenge, making a crucial save in the 96th minute.
Abilene Christian broke the deadlock in the 103rd minute with a long ball recovered by Arteaga that was finished from 20-yards out.
UTEP will return to University Field on Friday against Idaho State at 7 p.m. MT, the first game of a four-game homestand. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids.