Sixteen minutes is all it took for sophomore forward Chayse Thorn and the Wildcats (1-1) to open scoring in a 4-0 home opener win against the University of Texas-El Paso Miners (0-2) on a drizzly Sunday afternoon.
Nine minutes later, Thorn found herself on a breakaway and used her speed to double her team’s lead. Five minutes after Thorn’s solo goal, the Miners dug their hole deeper with a handball in the penalty area. Senior midfielder Natalie Jones then tucked away the penalty kick to push the lead to 3-0. The emphatic start saw the Wildcats head to halftime with a comfortable 3-0 lead.
“Well, I was just honestly, I was always open,” Thorn said. “The first one, I was like, I’m going to just try and shoot this and try to make the most of it. And the second one, I just had all that space and no one was really pressing me. So I was like, I’m going to just take it until I have that space. So I just took the shot because I was there and that was it.”
Goals continued for ACU with junior defender Sami Brown finding her way onto the scoresheet with a solo goal in the 82nd minute. Brown’s second half goal was the first of her career. Her goal along with Thorn’s first half brace and Jones’ penalty spot goal led the Wildcats to a 4-0 win.
“It was nice, we love playing at home,” said head coach Casey Wilson. “The weather was a little humid today, but it was great. And like I said, the team really put a few pieces of work together and really played well tonight.”
ACU has been dominant against the Miners in recent memory, winning the last five matches dating all the way back to 2015. The 4-0 win is the largest margin of victory between the two with Sunday being the first time either team has won by more than one goal.
“For us it just means so much,” Thorn said. “ I feel like we’ve been working really, really hard this week to try and get a win and play for our team and play for ourselves. So to get this win is just really big for us. It’s really a lift for us and it feels good.”
Redshirt-sophomore goalkeeper Lily Foster did not see action on Sunday with an apparent injury giving freshman Lili Ross the start in goal. Ross earned her first clean sheet of the season with two saves.
Prior to Sunday’s win against UTEP, ACU found themselves in a cagey affair at the University of North Texas on Aug. 18. ACU took the lead 28 minutes in following a goal from freshman midfielder Hannah Vetromile. However, the Mean Green roared back scoring five in a 5-1 win.
“Well, you know not that we’re off to a slow start,” Wilson said. “But again we’ve kind of got fed some lunch here in the last couple of weeks. So playing tough teams like we did really made us examine our weak spots and it was good to see them respond like they did today and that was awesome.”
Next up for Wilson and the Wildcats is a road trip to face the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (1-1) at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 26.