FILE: #20 Jojo Ngongo (40′) and Lauren Crenshaw (3′) provided the offense in the 2-0 win.
MIAMI, Fl. – The UTEP soccer team opened league play with a dominating 2-0 win at FIU with goals from Lauren Crenshaw (3′) and Jojo Ngongo (40′) on Sunday afternoon.
“I am really proud of UTEP soccer getting a shutout on the road which is very tough to do in C-USA,” head coach Kevin Cross said. “FIU has a lot of athleticism and dangerous players with international experience, so getting a shutout was great. We did a great job playing as a team today. This young group learned a lot this week. We need El Paso’s support on Thursday when we play a tough Marshall team at home.”
The Miners dominated possession of the ball early in the first half, registering three corner kicks in the opening three minutes of the game. Nicole Pugsley nearly found the back of the net off a header that was put just wide of the post.
On the fourth corner of the game for UTEP, Carleigh Simmons played the ball into the box where Crenshaw connected from point-blank range to give the Miners an early lead. The junior leads the team with four goals on the season.
FIU registered four shots in the opening half, forcing senior GK Alyssa Palacios to make one save in the 20th minute. Palacios recorded two saves on the day to become the school record holder in shutouts (21). She passes Sarah Dilling (2011-14) with 10 games remaining in the 2018 regular season.
The Miners kept the momentum after the first goal, attempting seven shots at goal and earning six corner kicks. With five minutes before the break, sophomore Vic Bohdan played a well-placed pass to Ngongo. The freshman scored a sensational goal, her second of the season.
UTEP added nine more shots at goal in the second half, totaling 16 in the game. The Miners came inches away from extending their lead when Crenshaw took a crack at goal, forcing FIU’s Christin Velazquez to make a fingertip save in the 60th minute.
In the 75th minute, Ngongo tried to double her tally in the game with a shot that she put over the crossbar from just outside the penalty area. With 10 minutes left in regulation, Bohdan sent her second shot of the game wide of the post.
The Miners will host a four-game homestand starting on Thursday, Sept. 20, against Marshall at 7 p.m. MT, before turning their attention to 2018 FirstLight Federal Credit Union Battle of I-10 against NM State on Sunday, Sept. 23. at 6 p.m.
Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids and may be purchased by calling (915) 747-5234.