Midwestern State has been searching for the spark to turn around one of the toughest and most frustrating starts to a season in the program's 18-year history.
Maybe, just maybe, the Mustangs found that moment when Maddie Fraser's side volley found the back of the net in the 66th minute of a 1-1 draw with Abilene Christian Wednesday night at the MSU Soccer Field.
"We'd been scrapping and battling around the box and haven't gotten barely anything this year," MSU coach Jeff Trimble said. "We came back from a crushing defeat (to Eastern New Mexico) on Sunday. We'd put a lot of pressure and a lot of shots up and just couldn't score. The big thing about that goal was how it was scored, when it was scored and who scored it."
Abilene Christian's goal invoked a flashback to Sunday as the Mustangs once again had the tough luck of deflecting away a cross pass that would land at the feet of Morgan Turner, who found an empty net at the far post to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead in the 62nd minute.
It was ACU's first shot on goal after the Mustangs dominated the run of play over the previous 59 minutes dominating by a 14-3 margin in shots to that point.
Then the Abilene Christian defense cracked following a corner kick when a defender attempted to clear the ball through the scrum. Fraser brilliantly played the ball with a volley directly into the net from 15 yards out.
"Maddie has been firing away and having her finish that ball was great. It's good for her confidence and it's good for the team," Trimble said. "She has had a stretch of four games in a row where I've seen her play the best soccer she's played."
Fraser narrowly missed a pair of shots in the second half. Both were from 20 yards out and both missed tucking under the crossbar by a combined distance of less than a foot.
The Mustangs survived a barrage of Abilene Christian shots in the final five minutes of regulation before re-asserting control over the run of play in overtime largely due to early pressure and the play of junior midfielder Mickey Brown.
"Mickey played phenomenal at right mid. She played with high energy and won every ball she could win," Trimble said. "The forward played very well and that's going to give us a lot of flexibility with so many talented players up top."
The Mustangs' best chance in the extended period resulted off of early pressure by freshman Stevie Harris. She trapped the ball, served forward through Alex Edwards and Morgan Hannon before knocking the ball high on an open look from just inside the box five minutes into the first overtime period.
"We created really good chances," Trimble said. "It was hard tying that game, but I was proud of the way we came back. We've got to build and put three games together."
The Mustangs (1-6-2, 1-2-2) hit the road to face Texas A&M-Commerce on Friday before finishing the weekend against Texas Woman's Sunday in Denton.
Abilene Christian moved to 3-5-1 on the season and to 1-3-1 in league play.
Midwestern State is ranked 11th for the third consecutive week in the NCAA Division II Cross Country Rankings released Wednesday afternoon by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association.
The Mustangs claimed their second meet win of the season Saturday at Texas Wesleyan's Third Annual Ram Ramble in Fort Worth.
Senior Nadia Majed led MSU's second travel group to victory claiming third-place individual finish by covering the 5K course in 20:08.61 followed by sophomore Cara Mack (4th/20:10.19), senior Heather Owens (9th/20:49.49), freshman Carrie Finson (12th/21:21.45) and freshman Danielle Androes (16th/21:55.15).
The Mustangs are one of five teams from the strong South Central Region to receive mention in the poll joining No. 2 Adams State (Colo.), No. 4 Western State (Colo.), No. 20 Colorado Mines and No. 30 Colorado-Colorado Springs.
Midwestern competes in the 6K Kansas Invitational Saturday morning in Lawrence.