Senior Brittany Kindzierski scored early in the second half (48’) but Utah State received goals from Natlie Norris (76’) and Kyle Dibb (88’) to topple UTEP, 2-1, Sunday afternoon.
The Miners (1-1) struck first with Kindzierski and Schultz teaming up for a brilliant give and go. Kindzierski bested the Wolverines’ (2-0) Jeannie Woller for her 22nd career goal, putting the senior 10th all time at UTEP.
The lead would not stand up, however, with the defending Western Athletic Conference champions managing a pair of goals over the final 14 minutes.
Norris found the equalizer for UVU only after Miner GK Sarah Dilling had made a pair of saves in a wild sequence following a corner. Dilling nearly came up with the save on the shot by Dibb, which ultimately deflected off the right post and trickled over the line.
Both sides finished with six shots on goal, and the Miners generated a trio of corner kicks.
It was a quick pace of play from the opening whistle. UTEP pressured immediately but a shot by Mackenzie German was blocked by the UVU defense. The Aggies generated their first chance a in the fourth minute, earning a corner kick. Dilling asserted herself well by punching away the service.
A foul at midfield on UVU led to a long service to Tess Hall, who managed to redirect it on target but Woller corralled it at 5:43. It was a much cleaner look for Kindzierski at 12:31, who rifled a low, hard shot that forced Woller to push it wide. UTEP couldn’t convert on the ensuing corner.
Schultz used a good dribble to separate from the defense only to have her shot soar over the net in the 20th minute.
The Miners’ stop troops rose to the occasion minutes later. A header by USU’s Norris was cleared away near the line by a UTEP header at 24:12. Dilling then calmly collected a shot by Mari Miyashiro at 26:53.
Defensive marking picked up by both sides, with neither creating much of an offensive threat for the remainder of the first half.
That all changed quickly at onset of the second stanza, thanks to Kindzierski and Schultz. Kindzierski took the feed from Schultz and buried it into the bottom right corner from 20 yards out.
The Aggies kept things together, earning a corner three minutes after giving up the strike. UTEP had great marking, easily winning the service to preserve the 1-0 edge. It then went back on the attack, stringing together a couple of passes in a promising sequence. Kindzierski vied for her second tally of the tilt, but this time Woller was up to the challenge in the 63rd minute.
A foul on USU just outside the area provided a chance for the Miners to notch an insurance tally in the 70th minute. Hall skillfully curved the shot over the wall only to have Woller react well to make the save.
Action quickly switched to the other end of the pitch, where Miyashiro managed to escape a couple of Miner defenders. She registered a shot which Dilling watch trickle wide.
The Wolverines stayed aggressive, tying the match after a wild sequence off a corner kick in the 76th minute. Dilling denied Libby Lundquist and then Kendra Pemberton, but the ball remained loose. Norris gathered it and coerced the shot into the upper right hand corner.
After the two teams traded offensive runs, a deflected pass allowed Dibb to capitalize in the waning minutes.
The Miners tried to counter with a shot off a free kick in the final minute but they couldn’t put it away.
UTEP will now turn its focus to playing host to the 13th-annual Border Shootout. The tournament will commence with the Miners’ home opener against Texas State at University Field at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
There will be a free tailgate, thanks to UTEP Alumni Association & UTEP Life Skills, from 5-7 p.m. where select fans can win prizes and receive free tickets to the tilt.