Junior Alyssa Palacios recording a career-high tying 10 saves but visiting New Mexico received a golden goal from Jill Olguin (93’) to hand UTEP a 1-0 overtime loss at University Field Sunday afternoon.
It marked the first time in program history that the Miners (0-4) have gone to overtime in four straight contests to start a year. Overall it is the initial occasion since 2014 and third time ever that UTEP has played four consecutive OT games.
“This is about as a cruel as a soccer season to go through,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “The defensive side of things is pretty strong. We’ve got to start generating opportunities and putting away the ones we’ve had. The first three games we clearly had opportunities to win; not as much today. That’s where we need to grow in that area.”
The Lobos (2-2) outshot UTEP, 23-7, including 11-2 for shots on goal while corner kicks were 8-5 for UNM.
In the eighth minute there was outstanding sustained pressure by the Miners to garner four straight corner kicks but UNM fended them all off.
There was a good sequence of soccer for UTEP in the 20th minute but play was whistled dead from an offside call.
In the 24th minute UNM’s Eileen Zendejas had a point-blank shot but there was an outstanding save from Palacios, who went to her knees to make the save, almost like a hockey GK.
UTEP had a good chance off a free kick in the 29th minute but UNM was able to clear it away before the Miners got a shot. Ten minutes later there was a nice little flurry for the Miners with a long run by Lauren Crenshaw eventually leading to a corner kick. UTEP then created two shots off the sequence but to its credit the UNM defense was able to block both chances away before getting on frame.
Five minutes into the second half there was a spin-around shot with the left foot by Kennadie Chaudhary but the UNM GK wasn’t fooled and made the save.
In the 57th minute there was a sensational diving save by Palacios on another Zendejas shot. UNM got a corner kick as result but UTEP defended it well and couldn’t generate anything as result. In the 65th minute she was called upon again, delivering a pair of saves within the span of a minute. The saves came on respective shots by Casey Murphy and Zendejas.
There was good positioning and touch on a header by Danielle Carreon but the UNM GK was ready and made the save. UNM then launched a counter attack with Cami Floth firing a shot but Palacios made the save. In the 79th minute Palacios came up a stop off a header in the box. It was her 10th of the contest, which matched her career high at that point.
The Miners had an outstanding chance off a free kick in the 85th minute but the shot from Carleigh Simmons whistled just high of the frame.
In OT Olguin was fed a ball by Zendejas. She took one touch and fired a low, hard shot that Palacios got her gloves on but couldn’t quite corral.
The Miners will look to bounce back when they open up a two-game road swing at Wyoming at 4:30 p.m. MT Friday.
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