@HerdWSoccer Takes Down UTEP 1-0
Ashley Seltzer’s early strike sealed the win for the Herd
Box Score (PDF)
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -The Thundering Herd women’s soccer team (5-7-4, 3-4-2) defeated the UTEP Miners (11-5-2, 4-4-0), 1-0, on Thursday evening at Hoops Family Field to grab its third win in Conference USA play.
Marshall had the best start imaginable when minute sophomore Ashley Seltzer took the ball in the midfield, drove past several UTEP defenders and fired a shot off the post, which bounced in the net for a goal in the second minute of action. It was Seltzer’s first goal of the season and the fastest goal Marshall has scored all season.
The rest of the first half was back and forth, with not much to separate the two squads. Marshall did not record another shot on goal the rest of the half. UTEP recorded four shots on goal in the half, but none of which threatened Marshall’s lead.
The Herd finished the first half trailing in shots, 7-5, while Marshall finished with four saves.
In the second half, Marshall picked up the pace with four shots on goal in the first 16 minutes of play. Freshman Jordan Sackaris and senior Sydney Arnold each had two shots on goals within the time frame. Sophomore Shontelle Smith’s free kick that found Metz Gonzalez’s head in the box nearly doubled Marshall’s advantage, but it was stopped by the Miners’ goalkeeper.
UTEP’s best opportunity to equalize came in the 71st minute when Bri Thomas had a one-on-one chance with freshman goalkeeper Emily Bonelli, but Bonelli parried the ball away safely.
UTEP threw numbers forward at the end, but Marshall’s defense held its ground for the 1-0 victory.
Marshall ended with 15 shots with five of the chances on goal. UTEP had 12 shots with four of the attempts on target.
Bonelli also finished with her shutout of the season.
Head Coach Kevin Long’s general thoughts on win over UTEP
“Our backs are against the wall for the Conference USA tournament. We’re not excluded yet. We knew a loss would exclude us at this point. We are still dependent on some others teams. Motivation is at an all-time high. It’s win or go home at this point. We had two good weeks of training. We didn’t get the results we wanted down in Florida, but we saw a different style of play that was pretty effective for us. That combined with the urgency, and being better in the first 15 minutes set the tone.”
On defending after scoring early goal
“When you score in the first two minutes, your job is probably one of the toughest jobs in any sports: having to hold off your opponent for 88 minutes. UTEP is good, they’re athletic, they’re fast, they want to win the aerial battle and they win the defensive battle. Those are the things we stepped up in today.”
On the young team’s performance
“I think tonight, for the first time this season, we saw a little bit of what we could be. What we should be looking like when we’re not a bunch of freshmen on a roller coaster ride. I would’ve liked to see that more, not just one game.”
On second half defense
“First half, our one-on-one defending was not great. Our season is almost over. We told them to commit to defending properly in the second half and that helped in the second half.”
On goalie Megan Bonelli’s play
“I thought she recovered well from her injury last week and she played well tonight. She came off her line several times, she played fantastic and did not give up after coming off her line. She came up with the exceptional saves tonight.”