Phoenix, AZ - After two tough losses to begin the season, Arizona Christian outlasted College of Idaho 1-0 on Saturday. Freshman Veronica Cruz scored 15 minutes in and the score did not change in the final 75 minutes.
The opening ten minutes of play was back and forth action as the Yotes (0-2) outshot the Firestorm (1-2) 3-2. Sophomore Marisa Ortiz hit the first two shots for ACU.
Freshman Irene Ledezma, making her collegiate debut, sent a shot wide 11 minutes into the contest.
In the 14th minute of play, Cruz had a shot saved. However, a minute later, Cruz did not miss. Ortiz collected a ball in the top right corner of the box and connected with Cruz in the middle who sent the ball on the ground into the lower left corner of the goal.
ACU controlled the action for the better part of the final 30 minutes in the first half allowing just one more shot before the break. Sophomore Kylie Neafus and Freshman Hanna Perez cracked shots that required saves.
Half number two began with Ledezma striking a shot just to the right of the goal.
About three minutes into the half, Freshman Sarahie Torres chipped a shot from 6-8 yards out that had eyes for the goal but at the last split second a COI defender cleared the ball off the line.
The Firestorm fired off 14 shots in the second half but could not again solve COI's goalkeeper Brittany Houghton. Houghton kept the Coyotes in the match with four big saves in the final 45 minutes including an impressive power dive to her right to deflect away a shot headed for the upper left corner.
Meanwhile, College of Idaho dialed up the offensive pressure in the closing minutes and missed a golden opportunity in the 81st minute. After a handball in the box, the ensuing penalty kick for COI was sent high over the right side of the goal.
Despite the late rush, Freshman goalkeeper Tahlia Miears earned her first collegiate shutout thanks to five saves including two from close range.
Head Coach Alan Berrios offered these thoughts, "Team had a great week of preparation for this game. Worked hard which resulted in us connecting two quality halves today and earning a tough win. We have created a ton of opportunities in the attacking third over three games. We have to do a better job of finishing our chances. We are on the right track. Super happy for the girls on their first win of the season."
On Thursday, the Firestorm will hit the road for the first time in 2017 as they travel to Riverview Park in Mesa to go head-to-head with Benedictine-Mesa at 6:00 pm.