CEDAR CITY – The Utah Valley University soccer team clawed back from a 2-0 deficit, earning a 2-2 draw against Southern Utah Saturday afternoon at Thunderbird Soccer Field.
The Wolverines (1-4-1) and Thunderbirds (0-4-1) battled to a similar result last year, a 3-3 tie at Clyde Field in Orem.
"Our matches with SUU are usually pretty tight and both teams were very competitive today," UVU head soccer coach Brent Anderson said. "We started off a bit sluggish, but found a way to get ourselves back into the game. I thought our attack was much more effective today in terms of creating great scoring chances."
UVU appeared to have the upper hand offensively early on in the match, but it was SUU that struck first when Sabrina Hernandez tapped home a Savannah Spere pass at 23:15.
The 1-0 deficit doubled in the blink of an eye when the Thunderbirds scored again only 17 seconds later. This time Stacey Brinkman fired a rebound shot off the crossbar and in.
The sudden two-goal deficit kicked the UVU offense into gear as it unleashed a deluge of shots at the SUU goal over the next 66 minutes.
Those efforts were not in vain, though, as the Wolverines finally broke through at 38:55 off an SUU own goal. With the score now 2-1, the Thunderbird miscue kept UVU within striking distance heading into halftime.
The Wolverines continued to create chances as the second half rolled along, nearly equalizing when freshman Lexi Felis' shot ricocheted off the crossbar.
After UVU's first six shots of the half sailed off target, Lexi Dunn and Benson combined for the goal the Wolverines had been looking for. Dunn sent a dangerous free kick into the box that was deflected by Booth. Benson gathered the deflection in the box and tucked her shot away for her second goal of the year, leveling the match at 2-2.
Benson nearly struck again five minutes later when her shot from distance banged off the crossbar; the third shot for the Wolverines in the game to catch woodwork.
From the time of SUU's last goal in the 24th minute of the first half, the Wolverines outshot the Thunderbirds 20-4 in regulation. Despite the offensive onslaught, UVU could not find the go-ahead goal as the match extended into what would be a scoreless overtime.
Forwards Baker and Benson combined to take 13 of the Wolverines' 25 shots in the contest, and goalkeeper Lauren Sack notched four saves.
UVU returns home next week to face its third consecutive opponent from the Big Sky Conference. The Wolverines will host Idaho State at 7:30 Thursday night at Clyde Field. Last year, UVU defeated the Bengals 5-1 in Pocatello.
Kellen Hiser is sports information assistant at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company