Jojo Ngongo found the back of the net and Mariah Scott recorded four saves for the clean sheet as UTEP (1-4) knocked off UIW (0-4), 1-0, on the road to pick up its first win of the season Friday evening.
“It was good to get our first win with a solid shutout performance defensively,” UTEP head coach Kathryn Balogun said. “I’m proud of the team’s resilience to keep battling and finding success in the final third with a solid cross by Lily and gritty goal by Jojo.”
It marked the fifth straight game to be decided by one goal, but this time the Miners would come out victorious. It was the combination of solid goalkeeping and good team defense, plus a timely tally in the 80t minute.
UTEP pressured almost immediately, but had its first opportunity wiped out by an offsides call (2’). UIW had its best chance of the stanza in the 14th minute when a shot by Hannah Walsh hit the crossbar. The Miners then cleared the loose change.
UTEP’s defense stayed stout the rest of the stanza, limiting the Cardinals to just one shot on goal in the frame. It came in the 37th minute, with Scott denying Lauren Miller on a low, hard shot.
The Miners looked to get things going offensively in the second half, but Jackie Soto’s shot three minutes in missed the mark. Scott then did her part, scooping up the shot from Keeley Ayala in the 56th minute.
Twelve minutes later Vic Bohdan got one on target only to have Makenzie Hall come up with the save.
UTEP kept pressing forward, which paid dividends in the 80th minute. Ngongo bested Hall with a shot to the lower, right wing to give the Miners the lead with a little less than 11 minutes remaining in regulation. As it turned out, that’s all that the Orange and Blue would need as the defense stifled homestanding UIW down the stretch.
“Sunday is a quick turnaround against a very good team. Our ability to compete for two 90 minute games will be tested this weekend in preparation for the first conference weekend against Rice and UNT.