The Wildcats were on the road last week for a double-header against New Mexico State and UTEP.
ACU played New Mexico State Thursday night, where they fell to the Aggies 2-1 in overtime.
The game started out slow, where the first half went scoreless. Just a few minutes into the second half, New Mexico State scored on a corner kick. Not even 10 minutes later, senior forward Christina Arteaga took control of the ball and passed it to junior midfielder Natalie Jones. Jones dribbled the ball down the middle of the field, finding a hole on the left side of the net, sinking it for a goal. This tied the game, 1-1, with 13 minutes left.
“We needed to fix some things,” head coach Casey Wilson said. “But overall, Arteaga and Jones, the two of them together did a great job, especially in the later part on Thursday and the middle part on Sunday.”
The Wildcats went into overtime with a solid mindset, but New Mexico State came out on top by scoring within the first 2 minutes. The Aggies dominated in shot attempts, 16-4, and shots on goal, 10-2. Yet, ACU held 7 saves, with 5 made by sophomore goalkeeper Lily Foster.
“We weren’t using our midfield like we wanted to or like we were supposed to do,” Wilson said. “That was suffocating us with having the right kind of offense we needed, and we are working those problems out to prepare us for Sunday.”
While staying on the road, ACU took on UTEP Sunday afternoon, securing a win, 1-0.
The Wildcats bounced back from Thursday’s game by starting off strong. Jones went in through the middle of the box, taking the shot, which was reflected off the goalkeeper. She then gathered the ball, sinking it on the left side of the net. ACU took the lead, then the eventual win, 1-0.
“Jones is consistent on frame, and we love how she competes and what she is able to do,” Wilson said. “So I think we will see a lot of consistency from her this season.”
Foster made six saves throughout the game, resulting in her first career shutout. The Wildcats led UTEP in shot attempts, 15-13, and split shots on goal, 6-6.
“Lily had a year under her belt last year to acclimate herself to college soccer, so she is doing great,” Wilson said. “We also expect some of the freshman to come and make an impact as Taylor and Macie have done. We are excited for what they will accomplish.”
The series led ACU with a season starting record of 1-1. With a strong defense and rushing offense, ACU was put back on track, ready for the season.
Now the Wildcats will stay on the road as the head to Lubbock to play Texas Tech. The Sunday night game starts at 7 p.m. and will air on ESPN+.