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Miners overcome offensive struggles to down Sam Houston 1-0

UTEP was not going to get many goals on a defensive-minded Sam Houston State but they felt they could have had more. The Miners registered 21 shots on the Bearkats, including 10 on goal, and UTEP squeezed by Sam Houston State with a 1-0 victory Sunday at University Field to win the third-annual Border Bash.

Of the 10 shots on goal the Miners (now 6-2 on the season and 4-0 at home) had, their only goal happened to not even be their best opportunity at the net.

Mackenzie German scored the lone goal of the game when she took a pass from Azia Nicholson on an attempted give-and-go play but missed on the cross back to Nicholson. However, her pass sailed over Nicholson, took a bounce in front of the goal, hit the opposite post and found the back of the net.

It was German's third goal of the season and her second in the past two games. She also scored on a breakaway in Friday's victory against Weber State. The assist was Nicholson's third of the season for her 11th point of the season.

The Miners also had opportunities multiple times in the second half, including one attempt with three different shots on goals. In the first 17 minutes of the second half, UTEP had five total shots on goal.

Sam Houston State's goaltender, Kyle Hambleton, came up big for her team with saves in point-blank range against Skye Schultz in the 51st minute and on Brittany Kindzierski in that three-shot-on-goal sequence in the 61st minute. During that phase, Tess Hall crossed to Skye Schultz but missed her and found Kindzierski for that save. Hall then received the rebound and kicked just over the crossbar to keep the game tied at one.

The Miners also had their opportunities on free kicks and ironically, not from their free-kick specialist, Hall. Kenah Linger and Taylor O'Hare had free kicks following fouls in the second half near mid-field that nearly resulted in goals. Linger's just missed Nicholson's foot once and O'Hare had a shot bounce in front of the goal and hit the post.

The Bearkats, who had allowed five goals all season heading into the game, made their defense evident throughout the first half. On the far right side, head coach Kevin Cross had Brittany Kindzierski and Amanda Pak waiting for the long cross, which connected a few times but was immediately met by a Sam Houston State defender.

The Bearkats were also playing their defenders high, which resulted in two offsides when UTEP looked to threaten with that cross.

Up next for the Miners is NMSU Wednesday in Las Cruces.