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Aggie Soccer Plays To 1-1 Draw With Northern Arizona | bleedCrimson.net :: Your Source for NMSU Aggies Sports News

Aggie Soccer Plays To 1-1 Draw With Northern Arizona

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Yolanda McMillionThe Aggie soccer team nearly pulled out a victory on Sunday afternoon against Northern Arizona but settled for the 1-1 tie. The Aggies went into halftime trailing 1-0 after NAU's Carolyn Savage scored with just 15 seconds remaining in the first half. Kristi Andreassen was credited with the assist and it was Savage's first goal of the season. "It was a good game. We played very well in the first half and gave up an unfortunate goal there on a free kick," said Coach Needham. "We didn't do a good job of tracking that player running through the box and they scored. Good for them. For them to steal a goal was very important for them because we were all over them. That breathed some life into them and made it a better soccer game."

The score remained 1-0 when in the 65th minute, Crystal Burns found Yolanda McMillion on the right side and McMillion put the ball over the goal keeper's head and into the back of the net knotting the game at 1-1. "It was a good goal and it's not just the goal, the setup was good," said Coach Needham. "Yollie is a good athlete, she can get behind people. We played a good pass and she got ahold of it."

Coach Needham was also pleased with the team's offensive play overall, "The important thing for me on that goal was yeah, it went in and she hit a a good shot in the top corner but it was also the number of players that we had committed getting into the box. Yollie could have very easily have crossed that and if she had laid it across the front of the goal someone else would have scored easily as well. Great goal by Yollie but even moreso we're really starting to buy into committing numbers into the box and trying to really attack people and that's really encouraging going forward."

With time winding down in regulation, it appeared as though the two teams would be headed for a certain overtime but the Aggies broke loose on offense and nearly ended the game. Crystal Burns found Yolanda McMillion again but McMillion missed a wide open shot in front of the net. The shot hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced back and a shot by Mary Kate Koziol on the rebound was saved by NAU's goal keeper Lauren Weaver. "Yeah, again, great soccer. Crystal slips across their back four, gets in behind and gets the ball," said Coach Needham. "I went to Crystal afterwards and said, "That was some of the best soccer you've played, that was super unselfish. She could have shot that, the right thing to do was to pass it, beat the goal keeper and let somebody else do it.""

For McMillion, who leads the Aggies with six goals scored this season, it was a rare miss. "Yollie scores that nine out of ten times, that's just unlucky, you're right in front of the goal and there's a lot of stuff going on. It's real unfortunate to hit the bar and come out," said Coach Needham. "To make that chance late, that just says a lot about our team.

In overtime, neither team would find the back of the net. The Aggies' Nina Yanes was given a yellow card in the 97th minute which was her second of the game and was ejected from the game. That put the Aggies in a 10-on-11 situation for the remainder of the contest. NAU outshot the Aggies 6-0 in the two overtime periods. "The part that changed overtime obviously was when Nina got the second yellow card so that gets you a red card and you go down a player. When you go down a player against a team that's good, NAU was in the NCAA tournament the last two years, they're a good team, credit to our back four and our midfielders who came on. Lauren Cope came on and gave us a lot of energy and won a couple of important tackles. It was a collective effort to preserve a tie," said Coach Needham. "I'm very very happy with that effort, it's easy to fold at that point and we didn't."

Crystal Burns led the Aggies in shots with four and was one of four Aggies with two shots on goal. Yolanda McMillion added to her goal tally this season with her sixth goal of the season which doubles her mark from last year.

Goal keeper Mikaela Bitner was once again solid in the victory and was credited with seven saves including two in the second overtime period and freshman Kristen Powers was very strong for the Aggies as well defending. "Powers is an athlete. She is a feisty competitor. She's a forward that is versatile enough to play in the back and in our system it's important for the back to attack," said Coach Needham. "I was very happy with her in both games this weekend."

With the tie the Aggies move to 2-1-2 on the season. "When you go down a player and you have to deal with that for 15 minutes, it's pretty challenging," said Coach Needham. "I thought we handled that challenge real well."