BOONE, N.C. – Freshman Quiqui Hita (Phoenix, Ariz./Xavier College Prep) saved her first collegiate goal for a big moment as her 76th-minute tally earned UNCG a hard earned road point Friday night in a road match at Appalachian State.
The draw didn’t come easy. The Spartans had to fend off some wet and foggy conditions as well as a feisty Mountaineer squad to come away with a result at the Appalachian Soccer Stadium.
“It was very tough out there with a very quick surface,” said head coach Michael Coll. “App State usually wins up here so we fought some very tough adversity tonight and did very well with it.”
Though both sides created some dangerous situations in the first half, neither team was able to grab an advantage. The Spartans had the better of play in the first 45 minutes, outshooting ASU 9-3 in the period and forcing keeper Lauren Burke to make five saves.
The Mountaineers, however, started to turn the tides in the second half and took the lead on an Ava Dawson goal past Aiyanah Tyler-Cooper (Charlottesville, Va./Albamarle) and into the lower right corner.
Rather then feel dejected, the Spartans picked up the fight and in the 76th minute Emily Jensen (Nelson, New Zealand/Santa Clara) and Hita linked up for the equalizer. Jensen delivered a perfectly weighted bending through ball past the App State back line and right in stride to Hita, who lofted the shot past the charging keeper and into the net.
“Emily’s ball was a fantastically textured pass,” said Coll. “It really went against the grain of how the game was going, it was pretty direct with final balls, but this ball was kind of bent perfectly onto the run. Then the composure from Quiqui was fantastic to finish that.”
With nothing decided after 90 minutes, the two teams headed to overtime. The first 19 minutes or so of extra time didn’t produce too much excitement but in the 119th minute Hita came within inches of a game-winning brace. The freshman once again was able to flick a cheeky shot past the goalkeeper but Jessica Easley laid it all out on the line to clear the ball off the line, crashing into the post. Thankfully Easley was unharmed and the Spartans could do nothing but tip their caps.
“That was probably the greatest save from a field player that I have ever seen in my career,” stated Coll.
UNCG returns to action on Monday, making the short trip across the Triad to battle High Point at 7:00 p.m. ET.