Lone goal enough for Thundering Herd Victory

The Marshall University women’s soccer team was victorious against the University of El Paso at Texas. This improves the overall record to 5-7-4 and conference record to 3-4-2.

“The one area we wanted to be better at today was in the first fifteen minutes,” head coach Kevin Long said. “So many games we’ve been fighting to come back because we’ve given away the first fifteen minutes, and we can’t afford to do that.”

Rainy weather drenched Hoops Family Field within an hour of the start of the contest, making the turf slippery, but both teams adjusted to the slick field. The difficulty was adjusting to the humid-laden environment after the downpour. While conditioning was tested for both squads, the real effects were known on spot kicks. Both goal keepers struggled to clear the midline stripe on goal kicks and punts.

UTEP controlled the opening kick, but the opening play rolled out of bounds for a goal kick. Marshall moved the ball down the field on the resume of play, but a clearance sent the ball to the backline, where Marshall University’s Ashley Seltzer took over.

After some initials moves, Seltzer navigated to open field, outwitting potential UTEP defenders. Seltzer dribbled the ball through the open field, allowing play to develop around her. After more jukes were made around the outside of the box, Seltzer pounded a shot toward goal.

The ball initially bounced off the inside of the post, beating Miners goal keeper Alyssa Palacios. While the shot appeared to go in on its own, the ball deflected off the diving keeper into the net, removing any doubt of the scored goal.

“We have been working in practice on outside backs, taking the ball all the way forward,” Seltzer said, describing her goal. “Usually in practice I shank it, or pass it, but Kevin keeps telling me just shoot it.”

The rest of the first half was close to even in terms of possession. UTEP effectively controlled possession and tested Thundering Herd goal keeper Megan Bonelli. Bonelli made four saves in the first half.

The second half saw the Thundering Herd defense lock down their side of the pitch. The defense allowed only one shot on goal, which Bonelli saved. That situation, a precarious position at best, left Bonelli one-on-one with Bri Thomas of UTEP. The only factor helping Bonelli was the poor angle of the attacking player and Bonelli’s perfect positioning.

Bonelli made the initial save to the shot on goal, but kept the ball in play. The retreating Thundering Herd defense gained position to assist Bonelli, but it was ultimately unnecessary as the follow up shot attempt sailed over the goal.

For the remainder of the second half, the lockdown tightened as Marshall applied more pressure to the Miners. The Miners notched a few more shots, but none that required saving. Marshall ran out the clock on UTEP, securing the victory and keeping post season hopes alive.

The final regular season game scheduled for the Thundering Herd is a home game against Charlotte. It is scheduled to be played Oct. 28 with kickoff to be taken at 7 p.m.

Joseph Ashley can be reached at [email protected] and on twitter @Joseph_AshleyMU.