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Home | Tag Archives: UTEP Soccer (page 10)

Tag Archives: UTEP Soccer

Rally Lifts UTEP Over UTSA 3-2

Trailing 2-1 early in the second half the UTEP soccer team dug deep to rally past UTSA for a crucial 3-2 win in front of 502 fans at University Field Friday evening.

Bri Barreiro (60’) and Bri Thomas (73’) each scored in an impressive 13-minute span to fuel the comeback for the Miners (10-4-2, 3-3-0 Conference USA). Kennadie Chaudhary (5’) also found the back of the net in the game to help knock off the Roadrunners (6-9-0, 2-4-0 Conference USA), who had entered the match with confidence flying high after knocking off preseason league favorite North Texas last time out.

UTSA didn’t make it easy, though, riding goals from Marianne Hernandez (36’) Katieann Lochte (49’) to snag the aforementioned 2-1 lead. The Miners regrouped and rallied back for the important victory.

Aleah Davis made her presence felt with a pair of assists, in addition to helping UTEP control tempo. Thomas, Jeanna Mullen and Nicole Lindsay were also credited with helpers. Sophomore Alyssa Palacios made five saves, including a couple of highlight-reel stops, to pick up the win in net for the Orange and Blue.

“That was a huge win and character win,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “The team showed what they were made of tonight. I challenged the team and they stepped up big. Usually if you practice well, you’re going to play well.”

UTEP came out with plenty of intensity, pouncing on the visitors just five minutes into the match. Mullen threaded the needle with a pass to Chaudhary, who had timed the run perfectly to streak in alone on net. She took a dribble to compose herself before finishing in style to put UTEP up 1-0.

The Miners looked to make it 2-0 after a free kick gave them a good look but the blast (11’) by Davis was high.

Palacios made what was perhaps her best save (23’) of the season, diving to her left and extending every inch of her body to rob Alexis Alaniz. UTEP then took care of business and defended the ensuing corner kick.

The Roadrunners managed to find the equalizer late in the frame, taking advantage of an unlucky hand ball call to set up a free kick right at the top of the 18-yard box. Hernandez had an excellent shot to lift the ball over the wall and sneak it under the crossbar.

Five minutes later stalwart defender Payton Ross was knocked to the ground on a 50/50 ball but the call went against her (received yellow) and UTSA had a free kick from the almost identical position. This time Palacios managed to make the save to keep the match tied (1-1) heading into halftime.

UTEP started the second half with a blur, winning a corner kick just 30 seconds in. The Miners got the ball into the box on a good ball by Carleigh Simmons. Davis settled it and rifled a shot (49’) only to have UTSA clear it off the line.

The close call stung a bit more when just four minutes later Lochte made a run through the Orange and Blue defense and used a brilliant blast to best Palacios. The goal energized the Roadrunners, but UTEP also elevated its effort.

Davis made a run to the left portion of the pitch, won the ball from a UTSA player and sent it up to Thomas on the left wing. Thomas then crossed it Barreiro, who had jumped into the play to provide the equalizer.

UTEP pulled ahead 13 minutes later, this time off a corner. Lindsay put the ball on Davis’s head from about two yards out. UTSA managed to block the shot but Thomas pounced on the rebound and buried it for her team-leading sixth goal of the year.

The Miners played with incredible composure down the stretch, controlling possession and wisely sending the ball to the corners to eat up valuable time. UTSA was held to one shot after falling behind, which was high.

UTEP will have a quick turnaround, playing at Middle Tennessee at 1 p.m. MDT Sunday.

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Rice Blanks UTEP 3-0

Sophomore goalkeeper Alyssa Palacios made a career-high tying 10 saves but UTEP was unable to make enough plays offensively in a 3-0 setback to Rice Sunday afternoon. The Owls (7-4-1, 4-2 C-USA) received goals from Nia Stallings (23’), Marissa Topolski (41’) and Annie Walker (63’) to spoil the day for the Miners (9-4-2, 2-3 C-USA).

UTEP generated 18 shots, including seven on goal, but Rice netminder Samantha Colley was in top form. The Owls took 19 shots, including 13 on frame, while holding an 8-4 edge in corner kicks.

“We were just not playing our game, not up tight on them and working as hard away from the ball as we needed to (in first half),” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “All the games in our league are tough, and I can’t wait for Friday (vs. UTSA) to get here. We have to work harder for each other, be tighter on our marks, possess better and play are game”

Buoyed by the wind, Rice played a very strong first half. The Owls, who held a 13-4 cushion in shots and 5-0 advantage on corners in the frame, pressured almost immediately. Alexa Bain played perfect defense on the end line to win a goal kick (2’) for the Miners, as opposed to conceding a corner kick.

Palacios was called upon for the first time on a shot (3’) by Erin Mikeska from the left wing. She tracked it well and gobbled it up cleanly. Rice then earned its first corner kick of the game and a quality ball was dropped into play at the six yard box. There was a scramble before Walker blasted it (7’) but Palacios was ready.  Three minutes later Aliza Wolfe had some space to work with, but Palacios calmly made the save.

In the 16th minute there was a foul against UTEP in a dangerous spot but the Orange and Blue wall did good work by the wall to block the shot. Rice managed to get on the board after a Palacios denied Topolski’s shot but Stallings buried the rebound.

UTEP looked to find the equalizer with a long throw-in by Aleah Davis was tracked down by Kennadie Chaudhary. The junior then laced a cross but no one was home for the opportunity at the goal. After Rice cleared the Miners went back to work, with a cross finding Natalie Valentine on the far wing but her shot was saved by Colley.

The visitors managed to extend their lead late in the half. Colley boomed the ball through the air, which was settled down and then played ahead. Topolski had a good angle from the right side before her shot bested Palacios.

UTEP had an outstanding opportunity with the seconds counting down at the end of the period but Valentine’s shot sailed high.

Armed with the advantage of the win in the second half, UTEP played much better across the board. The Miners out-shot Rice, 14-6, in the period and had much better possession and nearly got back into the game.

Chaudhary hammered a header (57’) that Colley did well to fight off. Bri Thomas then made a solid run and lasered a shot (63’) that Colley again turned away. Rice launched a counter attack with a cross from Wolfe being one-timed home by Annie Walker.

The Orange and Blue continued to play hard down the stretch but Colley and company had an answer to every attack.

UTEP will look to get back on track in its annual “Kick For The Cure” game against UTSA at 7 p.m. Friday. All fans who wear pink will get in free while also raising awareness for the battle against breast cancer.

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UTEP’s Comeback Falls Short; UNT wins 1-0

Visiting North Texas got an early goal from Hailey Sutton (3’) and managed to hold off UTEP’s comeback bid in an entertaining 1-0 affair at University Field Friday evening.

The Miners (9-3-2, 2-2-0 C-USA) recorded 11 shots, including one that hit the crossbar and another that was denied by the post, and the Mean Green (9-3-1, 4-0 C-USA) escaped El Paso with the win. Sophomore GK Alyssa Palacios was stellar by recording eight saves.

UNT netminder Miranda Schoening was credited with three stops, including a sensational effort to rob Bri Barreiro on a header (88’) late in the contest. Schoening was bested twice earlier in the game but in a cruel break Carleigh Simmons’s shot (4’) hit the post and a skillful shot (13’) from Barreiro clanked off the crossbar.

“They are the top team in the conference and the game could have gone either way today,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “Soccer can be cruel like that (close calls) at times.”

The Mean Green struck early with Sutton shooting (3’) home a rebound off Marchelle Davis’s shot. Palacios had made a diving save to her left but UTEP couldn’t control the rebound and Sutton put it into the upper left corner.

UTEP regrouped immediately, and nearly found the equalizer less than a minute later. Simmons used some nice one-on-one skills to get some open space. She lofted a shot that got past the outstretched arms of Schoening only to hit the upper corner of the post and somehow bounce out.

Three minutes later the Miners earned their first of seven corner kicks in the contest but UNT handled the service.

UTEP continued to possess, and Aleah Davis played a great ball (12’) into the area. Schoening left her line aggressively and punched it away. The ball was cleared momentarily but Barreiro won a 50/50 ball in space and headed up with steam. She unleashed a beautiful rip (13’) that bested Schoening only to cruelly clank off the crossbar.

Bri Thomas threaded the needle with a pass into the area that was headed away to set up a UTEP corner kick (19’). The home side was not able to finish though. Three minutes later there was a bouncing ball just outside the 18-yard line. There was nice coordination by Kennadie Chaudhary to rip it in on net but Schoning gobbled it up.

Four minutes later Chaudhary was showing off her passing skills with an outstanding thru ball to Jeanna Mullen, who timed her run perfectly to beat the offside trap. She took a couple of dribbles but her shot blistered inches wide of the frame.

UNT had aspirations of extending its lead but Palacios spoiled the occasion. She made a brilliant save to punch a lightning-quick blast from gifted UNT striker Rachel Holden.

Early in the second frame the Orange and Blue earned a corner kick (48’) but the UNT defense cleared it away. Sutton had a sneaky shot (58’) but Palacios was well positioned to make the save. Two minutes later Katie Gernsbacher blasted a shot that seemed destined for the back of the net but Palacios made a nice punch to keep it out.

There was an outstanding individual effort by Nicole Lindsay to help the Orange and Blue earn a corner kick (71’) but they couldn’t convert. UNT put together a counter attack but Palacios made a textbook save on a wicked shot by Holden.

Palacios boomed a ball through the wind to get UTEP back deep into the Mean Green’s territory. Lindsay unleashed a shot (75’) that was screaming in on net but it was blocked away by the UNT defense. Palacios was called up one more time, this time staring down a shot from Davis to make a clean stop.

UTEP refused to go down without a fight, with an outstanding look on a header (88’) by Barreiro but somehow Schoening made the save. On the corner Simmons sent the ball to Chaudhary who had her shot blocked. Simmons scrambled to track down the loose ball but her shot went wide.

UTEP will now turn its attention to Sunday’s 12 p.m. match-up with Rice. It will be the “BBQ with the Miners” game, with Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q providing free food (while supplies last).

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UTEP Soccer Returns Home To Battle North Texas And Rice

Riding a two-game win streak, the UTEP soccer team is back home this weekend with match-ups against Conference USA leader North Texas (7 p.m. MDT Friday) and Rice (12 p.m. MDT Sunday).

The Miners (9-2-2, 2-1-0 C-USA) will have their annual “Blackout Game” vs. the Mean Green (8-3-1, 3-0-0 C-USA), with anyone wearing black receiving free admission. There will be special promotional t-shirts (while supplies last) given away at the gate. Fans can also enjoy free food (while supplies last) courtesy of Avila’s Mexican Food restaurant prior to the match as part of the “Fiesta Night” promotion.

The match-up with the Owls (5-4-1, 2-2-0 C-USA) is the “BBQ with the Miners” game, with Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q providing free food (while supplies last).

“UTEP Soccer is very excited to be playing at home in front of our great fans after a long road trip to start Conference USA play,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “We are playing the best in the conference this weekend as North Texas and Rice were picked as #1 and 2 in the pre-season polls. Both teams are very talented and well coached. We will need to be at our very best to win these games. We have lots of great promotions for our fans with free food and free admission. We need our fans’ support this weekend, and are really looking forward to these games.”

Return To The Regional Rankings

After going 2-0 on the road (W, 4-3 at #10 central region Charlotte, Sept. 30 & W, 2-0, at Old Dominion, Oct. 2), UTEP broke back into the NSCAA Central Region poll. The Miners checked in 10th in this week’s poll, marking the fourth time this season that they have been among the top-10 squads in the region.

UTEP can’t relax, though, with North Texas (ranked sixth) coming to town Friday. The Miners are also slated to play host to Rice on Sunday and FAU on Oct. 23. Rice was ranked 10th for three straight weeks (Aug. 23, Aug. 30, Sept. 6) while FAU placed seventh on Aug. 23 and eighth on Aug. 30.

Scouting North Texas

Preseason league favorite North Texas has lived up to that billing thus far in 2016. The Mean Green are 8-3-1 overall, including a perfect 3-0-0 in C-USA play (only unbeaten team in league games). All three losses came on the road to power-conference programs.

Rachel Holden (eight goals-second C-USA/29th nation) and Marchelle Davis (five goals-tied ninth C-USA) have half (13-of-26) of the team’s goals on the year. UNT has shown an uncanny ability to earn penalty kicks (five). While the Mean Green have committed fewer fouls (111) than opponents (127), they have nearly double the amount of yellow cards (13-7), with Holden being issued four yellow cards (second C-USA/fifth nation).

Series History With North Texas

North Texas has a 4-1 series lead against the Miners, but the games have been extremely competitive throughout the years. All five match-ups between UTEP and the Mean Green have been decided by one goal, including UNT’s 1-0 overtime win in El Paso in the most-recent match-up on Oct. 3, 2014.

Scouting Rice

Rice, which was tabbed second in the C-USA preseason poll, enters the weekend at 5-4-1, 2-2 Conference USA. The Owls dropped their season opener on the road (L, 4-1, at #8 Texas A&M on Aug. 21), but they are 2-0 in hostile territory since. Rice features a balanced attack, with 13 different players scoring at least one goal.

Aliza Wolfe paces the team with three goals while Samantha Chaiken, Jenny Fichera and Darcy Mickalow all have scored twice. Fichera, Nia Stallings and Annie Walker all have four assists to account for 12 of the team’s 15 helpers on the year. Rice has a +5 scoring margin (9-4) in the first half of games and is +1 (11-10) in the second stanza.

Series History With Rice

Rice has a 10-6-2 advantage in the all-time series with UTEP, but the Miners picked up a 1-0 overtime victory on Oct. 5, 2014, in the most-recent meeting. Expect a competitive match Sunday, as the last 10 match-ups have featured two ties and eight one-goal games.

Historic Road Trip

UTEP posted a 4-3 win at Charlotte on Sept. 30 and a 2-0 victory at Old Dominion on Oct. 2 to cap its three-game road swing on a very high note. It marked the first time since 2007 (W, 6-0 at Houston-11/2 & W, 1-0 at Rice-11/4) and second occasion in program that the Miners won both road games of the weekend in conference play

Home Games Galore

UTEP, which is 5-0-0 at home this year, will play five of its remaining seven Conference USA contests within the friendly confines of University Field. The stretch starts this week by welcoming North Texas (7 p.m. MDT Friday) and Rice (12 p.m. MDT Sunday) to town. Other home tilts on the slate are UTSA (7 p.m., Oct. 14), Florida Atlantic (12 p.m., Oct. 23) and Southern Miss (7 p.m., Oct. 28).

Getting It Done On The Road

The Miners are 20-9-5 on the road since 2013, including a mark of 4-2-2 this year. That effort has UTEP on the cusp of securing its school-record fourth straight year with a winning road record. The Miners have two road games (at Marshall, Oct. 20 and at Middle Tennessee, Oct. 23) left in the regular season.

Shutout City

UTEP has recorded nine shutouts on the year, including a 2-0 blanking at Old Dominion on Oct. 2 last time out. That figure rates tied for second on the program’s single-season records. The school standard (11) was set in 2006 while the 2014 squad also registered nine shutouts.

Defense Does It

UTEP has registered more shutouts (nine) than goals allowed (eight) on the year. UTEP tops C-USA and is ranked among the national leaders for save percentage (.908-sixth)-aided by two team saves- goals against average (0.59-19th) and shutout percentage (.692-seventh)

Palacios Up To The Task

Sophomore GK Alyssa Palacios has emerged as an elite keeper, with simply sensational numbers. She tops Conference USA and is among the nation’s leaders in save percentage (.906-seventh), total saves (77-12th), GK minutes played (1219:43-12th) and goals against average (0.59-25th). She has made at least seven saves in seven contests, including a season-high nine in the 4-3 win at Charlotte on Sept. 30.

Balanced Attack In League Play

Five Miners have helped account for six goals since the start of Conference USA action. Jeanna Mullen

(twice) leads the way while Bri Barreiro, Kennadie Chaudhary, Yesenia Contreras and Aleah Davis each have one goal. Additionally, four different Miners (Barreiro, Chaudhary, Lauren Crenshaw and Thomas), have one assist each.

Thomas Still Applying Pressure

Bri Thomas, who shares the team lead for overall goals with Aleah Davis at five (tied ninth C-USA/144th nation), has still been putting the opposition on its heels in C-USA play. She has recorded a squad-best seven shots in the three league games, and her pressure has opened up the field for other Miners to step up.

Finish Strong

While UTEP has gotten its offense going early on of late, it has still done most of its damage in the second half of contests this year. The Miners have tallied 17 of their 22 goals on the year in the second half. Overall UTEP has a +14 goal margin (22-5), with a +3 differential (5-2) in the first half and a +12 advantage (17-5) over the final 45 minutes.

Sharing Is Caring

UTEP has been credited with 23 assists (tied second C-USA/37th nation) on its 22 total goals (sixth C-USA/67th nation) this year. Ten different Miners have recorded at least one helper on the season while 10 players have scored at least once. The last time the Orange and Blue concluded a campaign with more assists than goals was in 2014 (34 assists, 29 goals). The only other such occurrence at UTEP was in 2008 (39 assists, 35 goals).                                           

Conference Recognition

UTEP has claimed three Conference USA Players of the Week in 2016, with sophomore Alyssa Palacios netting the C-USA Goalkeeper of the Week twice (Sept. 6 and Sept. 19) and freshman Lauren Crenshaw securing the C-USA Defensive Player of the Week (Sept. 6). Palacios is the first Miner GK to earn multiple weekly honors from the league office since Chandra Morden did so in 2010.

Getting It Done Out Of Conference

UTEP compiled a mark of 7-1-2 during non-conference action to improve to 106-29-9 before league play since the start of the 2002 season. The Miners have now posted a winning record in non-conference action for 15 straight seasons.

The Basic Facts

UTEP is in its 21st season as a program, boasting an all-time record of 235-151-30, including 9-2-2 this year. The Miners are under the direction of 16th-year head coach Kevin Cross, who sports a mark of 193-103-23 in that timeframe. He is assisted by two former Miners (Heather Clark and Jessie Pettit). UTEP returned 12 letter winners, including nine starters, from last year’s team (11-7-2, 4-4-2 C-USA).

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UTEP Impresses With 2-0 Win At Old Dominion

NORFOLK, Va. – Powered by goals from Jeanna Mullen (23’) and Bri Barreiro (51’) and eight saves by Alyssa Palacios, UTEP capped a perfect weekend on the road with a 2-0 win at Old Dominion Sunday afternoon.

Bri Thomas (Mullen’s goal) and Kennadie Chaudhary (Barreiro’s goal) were credited with assists for the Miners (9-2-2, 2-1-1 Conference USA), who picked up their second road victory in three days. It is the first time since 2007 (W, 6-0 at Houston-11/2 & W, 1-0 at Rice-11/4) and second occasion in program that UTEP won both road contests of the weekend in conference play.

The Lady Monarchs (4-8-0, 2-2-0 C-USA) received an outstanding effort by goalkeeper Krista Moisio (five saves) but UTEP’s consistency at both ends of the pitch proved to be too much for the home side.

It is the ninth shutout on the year by the Orange and Blue, which already rates tied for second on the program’s single-season records. The school standard (11) was set in 2006 while the 2014 squad also registered nine shutouts.

“We had one of the best road trips in program history,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “Today we played a complete game and attacked and defended well. The girls showed what type of team UTEP really is. The girls all had each other’s backs; they all had a ‘wingman’.”

There was a foul (4’) against the Miners deep in their portion of the pitch to give ODU a good opportunity early on off a free kick but the defense did well to block the shot by Natalie Johnson.

UTEP created its first good look of the match when brilliant thru ball was run onto by Chaudhary. She took one dribble before her shot (10’) was blocked to set up a corner kick. Off the service Chaudhary got some space to work with but Moisio made the save.

After the Miners fought off a corner kick (12’) a beautiful counter attack was formed to set up Barreiro. She nailed a shot (14’) only to have Moisio record a fantastic stop. ODU then went back on the offensive, taking advantage of a giveaway in the midfield, but Palacios was well positioned to turn away a heavy shot (18’) by Iris Achterhof.

UTEP then secured its third corner kick (21’) of the match. Carleigh Simmons sent an accurate ball to Aleah Davis. The senior elevated and hammered a header that screamed in on net only to have an ODU defender head it away off the line for the team save.

The Orange and Blue broke through two minutes later with Thomas making a run up the right wing. She sucked in the defense before showing nice touch to find a wide-open Mullen. Mullen, who also had a goal in the Miners’ thrilling 4-3 win at Charlotte Friday, blasted home the shot (23’) to give the Miners the lead.

UTEP looked poise to pad its advantage with a thru ball into space that speedy freshman Natalie Valentine ran onto. Moisio cut down her angle and made a breathtaking stop (31’). The ball bounced free but Thomas’s follow-up shot was blocked.

ODU had aspirations of finding an equalizer before halftime but Palacios made two stops. She calmly collected the shot (37’) by Talia Tapper before tracking a left-footed blast (40’) with good pace and a nasty spin by Thyla Peterson.

UTEP pounced on ODU early in the second half, with Chaudhary navigating through space before playing a pass toward Barreiro. The senior controlled the ball in stride and lifted a shot over the outstretched arms of Moisio.

ODU really amped up its offensive intensity after falling behind 2-0 but the Orange and Blue were up to the challenge. There was a brilliant slide tackle in a one-on-one situation by a Miner defender in the 55th minute. Palacios did her part as well, recording three saves in the final 15 minutes of action.

UTEP applied plenty of pressure also, and were it not for Moisio, the Miners could have easily scored a couple of more goals. The ODU GK robbed Kobi McNutt, who rifled a shot (67’) on a partial breakaway. Yesenia Contreras tracked the rebound but sailed the rebound shot high. Mullen nearly had her second goal of the game but her shot (85’) on a complete breakaway was somehow stopped by Moisio.

The close calls proved to be a moot point, though, with UTEP’s defense making the lead stand up.

UTEP will return to the friendly confines of University Field to play host to North Texas (7 p.m. MDT, Friday) and Rice (12 p.m. MDT Oct. 9). The games mark the start of three straight at home for the Miners, who are 5-0-0 in El Paso on the year. It will be “Black Out Night” vs. North Texas, with fans who wear black receiving free admission. For Rice, there will be a pre-game barbeque courtesy of Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q while supplies last.

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Chaudhary’s Goal With 19 Seconds Left Lifts UTEP To 4-3 Win At Charlotte

Junior Kennadie Chaudhary scored with 19 seconds remaining in regulation to lift UTEP to a thrilling 4-3 win at Charlotte Friday evening.

The Miners (8-2-2, 1-1-0 Conference USA) received goals from Jeanna Mullen (6’), Aleah Davis (51’), Yesenia Contreras (68’) and Chaudhary (89’) and a season-high nine saves from Alyssa Palacios to hand the 49ers (6-5, 2-1-1 C-USA) their first home (4-1) and league loss of the year. Bri Barreiro and Lauren Crenshaw were credited with helpers for UTEP.

Charlotte’s offense was fueled by two goals from Martha Thomas (52’, 69’) and Rebecca Beatty (59’) but UTEP kept its composure to pick up a huge road victory. Shots (19-8), shots on goal (12-6) and corner kicks (7-1) favored the home side but the Orange and Blue came through in the clutch in the most crucial moments.

“What a game tonight to have seven goals and score the game winner with 19 seconds left,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “Charlotte is an excellent team with a great attack, and very well coached. We had a great team effort tonight, and stayed positive and composed all game long. The game changers made a huge difference tonight.”

The 49ers produced the first opportunity of the game but there was good pressure by the Miners’ defense that forced Truelove’s shot (3’) to be errant.

UTEP then methodically worked the ball up the pitch and into the area. Mullen won a loose ball at the six-yard line before using a slow poke to sneak the ball just inside the left post while GK Anna Shelden was still down.

Charlotte regrouped nicely and earned its first corner kick (11’) of the game. It was a sneaky try by Riley Orr whose service forced Palacios to make a save. The 49ers earned another corner kick (15’) with Orr sending the ball into the mixer. After a shot was blocked, Charlotte reset and played a cross to Megan Greene whose header (16’) was denied by Palacios.

The home side really then started to dial up its pressure but good marking by the defense and play by Palacios kept them off the board. The sophomore GK turned away Truelove (18’, 26’) twice in addition to delivering a stop against Katie Oneill (20’).

The Miners then started to possess a bit better, slowing the Charlotte pace of play in the process. They limited the 49ers to one shot over the final 19 minutes, but it was their best look of the stanza. Thomas turned on the dime at the 18-yard line and rocketed a shot (36’) that Palacios pushed high to set up a corner kick. UTEP defended the service well.

The Orange and Blue nearly padded their lead late in the half after Shelden got caught out of position. Contreras was very alert and unleashed a long range shot that had enough pace but unfortunately was off target.

Early in the second half a foul on the 49ers gave the Miners a free kick in prime position. Barreiro played a perfect ball to Davis, whose header best Shelden. The goal afforded UTEP a 2-0 lead, but the home side got its high-octane offense in gear.

Charlotte scored twice in the next eight minutes but the Miners didn’t flinch. Rather they regrouped and went back to work. Palacios did her part by making a quality save on Greene’s shot (63’).

UTEP then regained the lead with Crenshaw playing a good ball toward Contreras, who used tremendous skill to flick the ball over the keeper’s header from about 25 yards out.

Unfazed Charlotte ran a designed play off the kickoff that led to a cross and header goal for Thomas. The tally came officially 10 seconds after UTEP’s go-ahead goal.

The two sides went back-and-forth from that point on, with the match seemingly destined for overtime. Chaudhary had other intentions, though, spinning, turning and blasting home a shot from the top of the 18-yard box.

UTEP will look to make it a perfect weekend by playing at Old Dominion at 10:30 a.m. MDT Sunday.

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UTEP Soccer Wraps Up Road Swing At Charlotte And ODU

The UTEP soccer team will look to cap off a three-game road swing on a high note when it plays at Charlotte (5 p.m. MDT Friday) and at Old Dominion (10:30 a.m. MDT Sunday).

The Miners’ (7-2-2, 0-1-0 Conference USA) match against the 49ers (6-4-0, 2-0-0 Conference USA) can be watched here (subscription required) while the tilt against the Lady Monarchs (3-7-0, 1-2-0 Conference USA) can be viewed here (subscription required).

“This weekend will be one of the hardest of the season playing two excellent sides on the road on the east coast,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “We will have to be in top form to get positive results with all 22 players united together and very focused.”

On The Road Again

The games at Charlotte and Old Dominion will wrap up the longest road trip (three in a row) to start Conference USA play since 2012 (four straight road games). The Miners are 18-9-5 on the road since 2013, including a mark of 2-2-2 this year. Four road contests remain on the docket, including Friday’s match-up at Charlotte (4-0 at home) and Sunday’s tilt at ODU (3-3 at home).

Regionally-Ranked Foes Ahead

While UTEP bowed out of the NSCAA Central Region Poll after a three-week stay, the Miners will have a chance to make statement with schedule over the next couple of weeks. UTEP will play at Charlotte-rated 10th in this week’s poll- Friday while playing host to North Texas-ranked sixth in the current poll- in their Conference USA home opener on Oct. 7.

The Miners also are slated to play host to Rice on Oct. 9 and FAU on Oct. 23. Rice was ranked 10th for three straight weeks (Aug. 23, Aug. 30, Sept. 6) while FAU placed seventh on Aug. 23 and eighth on Aug. 30.

Scouting Charlotte

Charlotte is 6-4 on the year, including a perfect 4-0 at home with a +7 goal differential (11-4) in those contests. It is off to a 2-0 start in Conference USA play after downing ODU at home, 2-1, on Sept. 18 and picking up a 4-0 road win at FIU on Sept. 23. The 49ers have a prolific attack with 2.4 goals per game while holding big advantages in total shots (165-108), shots on goal (83-53) and corner kicks (55-34). Charlotte has scored 16 of its 24 goals in the second half.

Aside from road shutouts at nationally-ranked powers #9 North Carolina (L,0-3,Aug. 21) and at #22 South Carolina (L, 0-3, Sept. 5), Charlotte has tallied at least two goals in every other contest. Megan Greene (seven goals-third C-USA) and Julia Grainda (five goals-tied seventh C-USA) have accounted for half of Charlotte’s tallies this year. Martha Thomas (three), Emily Truelove (two) and Mary Manser (two) also have multiple goals.

Series History With Charlotte

Friday’s match at Charlotte is the third between the programs, with the 49ers holding a 1-0-1 edge thus far. The squads played to a 2-2 draw at UTEP on Oct. 11, 2013, while Charlotte handed UTEP a rare home setback (2-1) last year on Oct. 23.

Scouting Old Dominion

Old Dominion is 3-7 overall on the year, including 1-2 within Conference USA play, but that record has been hurt by challenges on the road. ODU is 0-4 away from home with a -8 goal differential (3-11), but it is a solid 3-3 at home with a +2 scoring margin (10-8). The Lady Monarchs have played a difficult schedule, allowing a combined 10 goals in losses at #4 Virginia (Aug. 28, L, 0-4), at Wake Forest (L, 1-3, Sept. 9) and vs. #17 USF (L, 1-3, Sept. 25); they have yielded a total of nine goals in the other seven contests.

While ODU has been held to one goal or less in eight of its 10 games, it has shown flashes of being an explosive squad offensively.

The Lady Monarchs routed East Carolina, 5-1, on Sept. 4 while also putting up a pair of goals in a 2-1 win vs. Richmond on Aug. 21. Iris Achterhof (three goals), Madison Hogan (two goals), Alex Davidson (two goals) and Kathryn Hill (two goals) have produced 10 of the team’s 13 goals. ODU has been especially active in the first half, with eight goals compared to five tallies after the break.

Series History With Old Dominion

UTEP is 1-0-1 all-time against Old Dominion. The Miners played to a scoreless draw at ODU on Oct. 30, 2014, while posting a 3-0 win in El Paso last year on Oct. 25.

Shutout City

UTEP has posted eight shutouts on the year, with that figure already tying as the third most in a single season in program history. The program record is 11 (2006), followed by nine (2014). This year’s team shares third with the 1997 and 2005 Miners.

Defense Does It

UTEP has registered more shutouts (eight) than goals allowed (five) on the year. The Miners have given up four goals in regulation (two off PK or PK rebound) and one in overtime. UTEP tops C-USA and is ranked among the national leaders for save percentage (.925)-aided by two team saves- goals against average (0.43-10th) and shutout percentage (.727-sixth).

Whistles Galore

UTEP is a well-coached team that competes hard throughout the entire match but it has run into trouble with fouls. The Miners have been tagged with 11.2 fouls per game, which puts them 14th in C-USA and 300th nationally (rankings based on fewest to most fouls/game). Fortunately with a few small tweaks by Coach Cross and company, the issue can become a distant memory.

Palacios Up To The Task

Sophomore GK Alyssa Palacios has emerged as an elite keeper, with simply sensational numbers. She tops Conference USA and is among the nation’s leaders in goals against average (0.43-15th), total saves (60-30th), save percentage (.923-fourth) and GK minutes played (1039:43-21st)

Thomas And Davis Leading Offense

Seniors Bri Thomas and Aleah Davis have keyed the offense by combining for nine of the team’s 16 goals on the year. Thomas has five goals (tied seventh C-USA/111th nation) while Davis has put away four chances (tied 13th C-USA), all of which have served as match winners (first C-USA/fourth nation). Davis has also been an impact player with passing, tallying five assists (tied third C-USA/30th nation). Overall Davis has 13 points (tied fifth C-USA/106th nation) while Thomas has 11 points (tied 11th C-USA).

Sharing Is Caring

UTEP has been credited with 19 assists (third C-USA/32th nation) on its 16 total goals (seventh C-USA/128th nation) this year. Ten different Miners have recorded at least one helper on the season while eight players have scored. The last time the Orange and Blue concluded a campaign with more assists than goals was in 2014 (34 assists, 29 goals). The only other such occurrence at UTEP was in 2008 (39 assists, 35 goals).

Conference Recognition

UTEP has claimed three Conference USA Players of the Week in 2016, with sophomore Alyssa Palacios netting the C-USA Goalkeeper of the Week twice (Sept. 6 and Sept. 19) and freshman Lauren Crenshaw securing the C-USA Defensive Player of the Week (Sept. 6). Palacios is the first Miner GK to earn multiple weekly honors from the league office since Chandra Morden did so in 2010.

Getting It Done Out Of Conference

UTEP compiled a mark of 7-1-2 during non-conference action to improve to 106-29-9 before league play since the start of the 2002 season. The Miners have now posted a winning record in non-conference action for 15 straight seasons.

The Basic Facts

UTEP is in its 21st season as a program, boasting an all-time record of 233-151-30, including 7-2-2 this year. The Miners are under the direction of 16th-year head coach Kevin Cross, who sports a mark of 191-103-23 in that timeframe. He is assisted by two former Miners (Heather Clark and Jessie Pettit). UTEP returned 12 letter winners, including nine starters, from last year’s team (11-7-2, 4-4-2 C-USA).

Going Back In Time

UTEP battled hard only to suffer a 1-0 double-overtime loss at UAB in nearly 100° temperatures on Sept. 25. It was the lone game of the week for the Miners, who conceded a golden goal (108’) by Megan Hudgens. She buried the rebound off Rachel Green’s original shot that was turned away by Miners’ goalkeeper Alyssa Palacios.

The sophomore GK was credited with seven saves in the match. Blazer GK Kelsey Daugherty made four saves, including two sensational stops to flat out rob Jeanna Mullen (59’, 85’) on a pair of occasions. UTEP also had two extremely promising scoring threats wiped out on offside (74’, 88’) calls.

Looking Ahead To Next Weekend

UTEP will return to the friendly confines of University Field to play host to North Texas (7 p.m. MDT, Oct. 7) and Rice (12 p.m. MDT Oct. 9). The games mark the start of three straight at home for the Miners, who are 5-0-0 in El Paso on the year.

It will be “Black Out Night” vs. North Texas, with fans who wear black receiving free admission. For Rice, there will be a pre-game barbeque courtesy of Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q while supplies last.

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Miners Fall In Double Overtime At UAB, 1-0

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The UTEP soccer team battled hard only to suffer a 1-0 double-overtime loss at UAB in nearly 100° temperaturesSunday afternoon.

The Blazers (4-5-0, 1-1-0 Conference USA) produced the golden goal (108’) late in the second overtime, with Megan Hudgens burying the rebound off Rachel Green’s original shot that was turned away by Miners’ (7-2-2, 0-1-0 C-USA) goalkeeper Alyssa Palacios.

Palacios was credited with seven saves in the match to give her squad a chance but UTEP was unable to capitalize on its many scoring opportunities. Senior Bri Thomas was responsible for five of the Miners’ 11 shots in the game, including a rocket (64’) that cruelly clanked off the crossbar midway through the second half.

Blazer GK Kelsey Daugherty made four saves, including two sensational stops to flat out rob Jeanna Mullen (59’, 85’) on a pair of occasions. UTEP also had two extremely promising scoring threats wiped out on offside (74’, 88’) calls.

“We were very disappointed to give up a goal with 1:35 left in double overtime,” head coach Kevin Cross said. “We will learn from this game, and be ready for next week.”

UAB generated some good pressure early in the match with back-to-back corner kicks (4’) but the defense was ready. The Miners then immediately launched a counter attack to earn a corner kick (5’) of their own only to have Nicole Lindsay’s service not connect with anyone.

Aleah Davis unleashed one of her patented throw-ins that was headed away by the UAB defense to give UTEP its second corner kick (13’) of the game. To their credit, though, the Blazers regrouped to defend the sequence well.

There was a brief break for water midway through the stanza, with temperatures nearly hitting triple digits. Upon resumption of play, UAB had a tremendous opportunity after a foul in the box against the Miners gave the home side a penalty kick (31’). Palacios stared down the shot by Amy Brewer which went wide.

UTEP then went back on the attack with a loft into the box finding Thomas who headed (34’) a shot just wide. A minute later Natalie Valentine gained possession of the ball and used a quality touch to create some space to work with but her left-foot shot was off target.

The Blazers then had a couple of tries but Palacios collected a header shot (36’) by Courtney Carraway and a long-distance shot (37’) from Brewer.

UAB earned consecutive corner kicks early in the second half but Davis and the rest of the stop troops defended the sequence wonderfully. UTEP then bolted up the pitch on a counter attack; there was a great feed to Mullen who one-timed a shot (59’) but somehow Daugherty made the save.

A minute later Thomas used a sneaky turnaround left-foot shot that inched just wide of the frame. Thomas then had her shot that seemed destined for the back of the net but it hit the bar.

Palacios made her fifth and final save of regulation after Megan Hudgens laced a low shot (65’) on target.

Late in the second half the Miners did everything right, but just couldn’t finish. Daugherty pushed Mullen’s header high over the bar and then was spared by the second offside call.

UTEP controlled the first overtime period, accounting for two of the three shots in the frame. Daugherty was up to the task, though, denying Davis on a shot (91’) from long range and then gobbling up Kennadie Chaudhary’s shot (95’). Hudgens had a tough-angle shot (97’) that Palacios saved.

UTEP had a couple of chances in the second overtime. Off a long throw by Davis, the ball was sent into the box but the header went errant. Davis then tried a shot (105’) but it had too much on it and sailed over the frame.

With time winding down, UAB accounted for the golden goal on one final rush up the pitch. Palacios turned away the original shot by Green but the Orange and Blue were unable to clear the loose change.

The Miners will look to bounce back while also wrapping up a stretch of three straight league road games by venturing to the Eastern Time Zone to lock up with Charlotte (5 p.m. MDT, Friday) and Old Dominion (10:30 a.m. MDT, Oct. 2).

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UTEP Kicks Off Conference USA Play At UAB Sunday

The UTEP soccer team will kick off its 10-game Conference USA slate by playing at UAB at 12 p.m. MDT Sunday. The Miners’ (7-1-2, 0-0-0 C-USA) contest against the Blazers (3-5-0, 0-1-0 C-USA) will be streamed through its website (subscription required).

“I am proud of UTEP Soccer’s non-conference season,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “We were successful, but now the real fun begins. We are very excited to start Conference USA play. We have a tough road test against UAB who play very good soccer at home, and are very well coached. We are going to have to play our best game of the season in order to get a positive result on Sunday.”

Kicking Off League Play

UTEP is 6-3-1 in league openers since joining Conference USA, aided by road victories in both 2015 (W, 2-1, at FAU) and 2014 (W, 1-0, OT, at Middle Tennessee). The Miners are kicking off league play on the road for the third straight year and fourth time in past five seasons. The game is the first of three straight away from home to start C-USA play, something the Miners haven’t done since 2012 (four in a row).

Getting It Done Out Of Conference

UTEP compiled a mark of 7-1-2 during non-conference action to improve to 106-29-9 before league play since the start of the 2002 season. The Miners have now posted a winning record in non-conference action for 15 straight seasons.

Regional Recognition

For the third straight week, UTEP is ranked in the NSCAA Central Region Poll. The Miners, ninth the past two weeks, now sit 10th after posting consecutive shutout wins against Nevada (W, 2-0, Sept. 16) and vs. UTRGV (W, 1-0, Sept. 18). UTEP and North Texas (eighth) are the only squads from C-USA to crack the central-region Top-10 poll with the other eight spots coming from the Big 12 Conference. UTEP is no stranger to the attention, having now been regionally ranked for part of the season in 11 of the past 13 seasons.

Conference Recognition

Sophomore Alyssa Palacios was selected as the Conference USA Women’s Soccer Goalkeeper of the Week, as announced by the league office on Sept. 19. It is the second time this season that she has been so distinguished. Palacios helped the Miners (7-1-2) post consecutive shutout victories against Nevada (W, 2-0, Sept. 16) and UTRGV (W, 1-0, Sept. 18), making four saves in each contest. The last Miner GK to earn multiple weekly honors from the league office was Chandra Morden in 2010. Overall UTEP has now had three C-USA Players of the Week in 2016 (Palacios, 9/6/16, 9/19/16; Lauren Crenshaw-Defensive Player of the Week, 9/6/19).

Scouting UAB

UAB is 3-5-0 on the year, including 0-1-0 in Conference USA play. That overall record has been hindered by going a combined 0-4 (0-3 on road, 0-1 neutral site) away from home with a -13 (2-15) goal differential in those contests. UAB has been very tough in Birmingham, with a 3-1 record and +8 goal differential (12-4) in those games. Overall the Blazers have dropped three straight games, including a 4-2 outcome last time out in their C-USA opener at Middle Tennessee on Sept. 18.

After losing its season opener at home (L, 2-1, vs. Austin Peay, Aug. 19), UAB won its next three games in Birmingham by a combined score of 11-2. Jessica Do (four) Caroline Kehrer (three) and Sarah Morris (two) have accounted for nine of the squad’s 14 goals on the year. Rachel Green (four), Megan Hudgens (three), Marin Carter (two) and Katherine Foster (two) have contributed through passing with 11 of UAB’s 14 assists.

Kelsey Daugherty has played every minute in net, making 40 saves for a .678 save percentage and 2.38 goals against average. The Blazers have played a physical style of soccer, committing 74 fouls compared to 59 by their foes.

Series History With UAB

UTEP is 5-3-3 all-time against UAB, but the Blazers have a 3-1-2 advantage when playing in Birmingham. The two squads last met in 2014, a 2-0 home win for UAB (9/28/14). UTEP had earned a tie (1-1, at UAB, 10/4/13) and a win (3-2, at UTEP, 10/5/12) in the two contests beforehand. The squads have played at least once every year since 2005 except in 2007 and 2015.

Shutout City

UTEP posted eight shutouts in its 10 non-conference games, with that figure already tying as the third most in a single season in program history. The program record is 11 (2006), followed by nine (2014). This year’s team shares third with the 1997 and 2005 Miners.

Defense Does It

UTEP has allowed only four total goals through the first 10 games of the year, the fewest to this point of a season in program history. The prior best was six goals (2006 and 2011). Grand Canyon University (W, 3-2, Aug. 28) and Stephen F. Austin (L, 0-2, Sept. 11), are the only opponents to find the back of the net against the Miners in 2016. Of the four total goals, one came on a penalty kick and another occurred off a rebound of a penalty kick save.

Road Warriors

The Miners are 17-8-5 on the road since 2013, including a mark of 1-1-2 this year. UTEP, which has strung together a school-record three straight seasons with winning road records, will receive a big test by playing at UAB Sunday. The Blazers are 3-1 at home in 2016.

Getting On The Board Early

After scoring one goal in the first half through eight games of action, two of the Miners’ three tallies from this past weekend occurred over the initial 45 minutes. For the season now, UTEP has three goals in the first half and 13 in the second stanza. Miner opponents have two in each period.

Palacios Up To The Task

Sophomore GK Alyssa Palacios was very sharp during the 10 non-conference games. She has registered more shutouts (seven-first C-USA/third nation) than total goals allowed (four) in her 931:15 minutes of action (10th nation). The effort works out to a goals against average of 0.39 (first C-USA/13th nation). Palacios has made 53 saves (first C-USA/24th nation) for a .930 save percentage (first C-USA/sixth nation).

Thomas And Davis Leading Offense

Seniors Bri Thomas and Aleah Davis have keyed the offense by combining for nine of the team’s 16 goals on the year. Thomas has five goals (tied sixth C-USA/73rd nation) while Davis has put away four chances (tied seventh C-USA), all of which have served as match winners (first C-USA/fourth nation). Davis has also been an impact player with passing, tallying five assists (third C-USA/20th nation).

Overall Davis has 13 points (tied fourth C-USA/59th nation) while Thomas has 11 points (ninth C-USA/119th nation).

Sharing Is Caring

UTEP has been credited with 19 assists (third C-USA/32th nation) on its 16 total goals (sixth C-USA/87th nation) this year. Ten different Miners have recorded at least one helper on the season while eight players have scored. The last time the Orange and Blue concluded a campaign with more assists than goals was in 2014 (34 assists, 29 goals).

The only other time the feat was achieved at UTEP was 2008 (39 assists, 35 goals).

The Basic Facts

UTEP is in its 21st season as a program, boasting an all-time record of 233-150-30, including 7-1-2 this year. The Miners are under the direction of 16th-year head coach Kevin Cross, who sports a mark of 191-102-23 in that timeframe. He is assisted by two former Miners (Heather Clark and Jessie Pettit). UTEP returned 12 letter winners, including nine starters, from last year’s team (11-7-2, 4-4-2 C-USA).

Going Back In Time

UTEP wrapped up non-conference play on a high note by posting consecutive shutout wins against Nevada (W, 2-0, Sept. 16) and vs. UTRGV (W, 1-0, Sept. 18). Aleah Davis (28’) and Devyn Hunley (78’) scored vs. Nevada, with Nicole Lindsay (Davis) and Carleigh Simmons (Hunley goal) recorded assists. It was the first career goal for Hunley, a junior-college transfer.

Against UTRGV Yesenia Contreras (43’) scored her second goal of the year and the defense did the rest to preserve the win. Aleah Davis and Aylin Villalobos were credited with helpers on Contreras’s goal, which was the first conceded by the Vaqueros since Aug. 21. UTRGV entered the match well rested and on a five-match unbeaten streak (4-0-1). Goalkeeper Alyssa Palacios recorded four saves in each contest.

Looking Ahead To Next Weekend

The Miners will wrap up the stretch of three straight league road games by venturing to the Eastern Time Zone to lock up with Charlotte (5 p.m. MDT, Sept. 30) and Old Dominion (10:30 a.m. MDT, Oct. 2).

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UTEP’s Palacios Named C-USA Goalkeeper Of The Week

UTEP sophomore goalkeeper Alyssa Palacios has been selected as the Conference USA Women’s Soccer Goalkeeper of the Week, as announced by the league office Monday. It is the second time this season that she has been so distinguished. The last Miner GK to earn multiple weekly honors from the league office was Chandra Morden in 2010.

Palacios helped the Miners (7-1-2) post consecutive shutout victories against Nevada (W, 2-0, Sept. 16) and UTRGV (W, 1-0, Sept. 18), making four saves in each contest.

“We are very excited about Alyssa being recognized for her outstanding play this weekend,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “Alyssa has been outstanding all season long, and was again exceptional this weekend. Alyssa consistently makes that one or two big saves a game that is needed to win a tight match as she did this weekend. She does not want to ever let her teammates down. We wouldn’t be in the position we are now if it wasn’t for the stellar play of Alyssa.”

In the match-up with the Vaqueros, Palacios’s best stop came in the waning minutes of action. She made a sensational diving stop on a shot (88’) from six yards out by Sarah Bonney. Another memorable save occurred just seven minutes into the contest, when she used her left hand to push an upper 90’s shot from Diandra Aliaga over the bar. She then punched away the ensuing corner kick service.

Palacios turned away all four chances in helping guide UTEP past Nevada, including one on a shot that led to a corner kick.

Palacios and the rest of the Miners will be idle on Friday before kicking off their 10-game Conference USA slate by playing at UAB (12 p.m. MT, Sept. 25).

The contest will be the first of three straight away from home to christen league play, something UTEP hasn’t done since 2012 (four in a row.)

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Story+Gallery: UTEP Caps Non-Conference Play With 1-0 Win Vs. UTRGV

Sophomore Yesenia Contreras (43’) scored her second goal of the year and the defense did the rest in UTEP’s 1-0 vanquishing of UTRGV at University Field Sunday afternoon. The Miners cap non-conference play at 7-1-2 overall, with eight shutouts.

Aleah Davis and Aylin Villalobos were credited with helpers on Contreras’s goal, which was the first conceded by the Vaqueros (5-1-2) since Aug. 21. UTRGV entered the match well rested and on a five-match unbeaten streak (4-0-1).

Sophomore GK Alyssa Palacios delivered four saves in the match, including a sensational diving stop on a shot (88’) from six yards out by Sarah Bonney.

Shots were 11-10 in favor of the visitors, but the Orange and Blue enjoyed a 6-4 edge in shots on goal. Vaquero netminder Kinga Szemik made five saves in the losing effort.

“Wins are always hard to come by,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “I don’t think we played our sharpest game today. We need more energy, to play consistently from Friday to Sunday.”

UTRGV created the first shot on goal (3’) of the game with a try by leading scorer Andreya Barrera. Palacios stared the shot all the way down and collected cleanly at the near post. Palacios was called upon again in the seventh minute, using her left hand to push an upper 90’s shot from Diandra Aliaga over the bar. She then punched away the ensuing corner kick service.

There was a scary moment in the 11th minute when Nicole Lindsay sustained a cut to her head after she was fouled on an unfortunate challenge by an UTRGV player. Lindsay received medical attention and returned later in the first half.

The Miners strung together three straight passes to generate an outstanding opportunity that appeared to lead go the game’s first goal but it was negated by an offside call.

There was a beautiful ball into space by Davis that seemed to spring Jeanna Mullen but to its credit the UTRGV defense recovered and won the 50/50 ball.

Lindsay showed off her toughness not only by being back into the game but by making an impact. She fired a shot (29’) but Szemik tracked it well to make the save. Two minutes late there was nice pace on a low, hard shot from Lauren Crenshaw. It gave Szemik some difficulties but she stuck with it for the save.

Payton Ross got after it with some outstanding one-on-one defense to steal the ball in the box and clear it from harm’s way in the 37th minute. Four minutes later Jodie Enokson did some nice work in the air to head away a service on UTRGV’s second corner kick of the game.

The Miners then turned up the heat with their attack, with the pressure overwhelming the Vaqueros. Off a long throw in by Davis, Villalobos tapped it to Contreras who hammered the shot into the lower, left corner.

UTRGV earned another corner kick early in the second stanza but Kennadie Chaudhary and Alexa Bain teamed up to control and eventually clear away the service.

On a counter attack, there was some fancy footwork and dribbling by Lindsay. She deked past the defender and sent a cross to Bri Barreiro, but her shot whistled over the frame. Crenshaw played textbook defense in the 63rd minute, shielding the UTRGV attacker and using the sideline wisely to gain a throw in.

Nine minutes later Aliaga appeared to have some space to operate with but the Miner defense did a nice job of applying enough pressure to harass her shot wide of the frame.

UTEP had an outstanding chance at an insurance goal after a foul set up a free kick just outside the box. Barreiro used great touch to elevate the shot over the wall only to have Szemik make a leaping save. On the ensuing corner kick, Davis’s header try was inches high.

The Vaqueros made one final push to find the equalizer, but Palacios’s wonderful positioning and anticipation foiled that plan.

The Miners will be idle on Friday before kicking off their 10-game Conference USA slate by playing at UAB (12 p.m. MT, Sept. 25). The contest will be the first of three straight away from home to christen league play, something UTEP hasn’t done since 2012 (four in a row.)

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Photo Gallery by Andres Acosta

UTEP Knocks Off Nevada 2-0 Friday Night

Fueled from goals by Aleah Davis (28’) and Devyn Hunley (78’) and a total team effort on defense, the UTEP soccer team downed Nevada, 2-0, at University Field Friday evening. The Miners (6-1-2) controlled pace of play in the match against the Wolf Pack (2-4-0) while remaining undefeated at home (4-0-0) in 2016.

UTEP held an advantage in corner kicks (11-4) and shots on goal (6-4) while total shots were even (11-11). Sophomore GK Alyssa Palacios recorded four saves in keeping a clean sheet. Nevada keeper Kelsey Quintos was credited with four stops in the losing effort.

Nicole Lindsay (Davis goal) and Carleigh Simmons (Hunley goal) were credited with assists, both of which came on corner kicks. Additionally, it was Hunley’s first career tally.

“It was one of our best efforts of the season,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross. “Nevada is a very good team and they play very good soccer. I was real pleased with the way we played. I thought it was a pretty complete game because we got an early goal in the first half. I thought we attacked well and defended well.”

UTEP set a good tone early in the match, earning one of its 11 corner kicks in the contest just two minutes in. The sequence led to a header for Bri Thomas, but she air mailed it high. UTEP regained control after the goal kick, with Lauren Crenshaw heading in on net but the shot was turned away.

Thomas ripped a shot (15’) that was on target but Quintos was ready again. UTEP continued to pressure as the period progressed, with three more corner kicks. The Wolf Pack did well to hold off the hard-charging home side, but the Miners would not be denied. They got on the board with Lindsay hooking up with Davis for UTEP’s second goal in the opening frame of the campaign.

Nevada regrouped after giving up the tally to record its first shot, courtesy of Hannah Miller, but Palacios tracked it well to make the stop.

The GK stayed a bit busier in the second frame, but of her three stops after the break, only one required true exertion. It came on a long-range shot (53’) by Miller, which forced her to dive to her left and push it wide. The Orange and Blue defended the ensuing corner kick well, forcing a weak shot by Miller to trickle in on the keeper.

UTEP continued to generate chances as the half wore on, with the payoff coming in the 78th minute. On another corner kick, Simmons sent the ball into the mixer of the box where Hunley outworked everyone to finish with a header on her first collegiate goal.

The Miners will wrap up non-conference play against UTRGV (5-1-1) at 1 p.m. Sunday. All military members get in free as part of “Military Day” vs. the Vaqueros.

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UTEP Soccer To Conclude Non-Conference Play At Home

The UTEP soccer team will wrap up the non-conference portion of its schedule by playing host to Nevada at 7 p.m. MDT Friday and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) at 1 p.m. MDT Sunday.

The Miners (5-1-2) will have “Kids Club Night” against the Wolf Pack (2-3-0) while all military members get in free as part of “Military Day” vs. the Vaqueros (5-1-1).

“We are very excited for this weekend’s matches and would like our awesome fans to come out and support UTEP Soccer,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “We have the opportunity to host our old WAC foe, Nevada, for the first time since they moved to the Mountain West, and UTEP became a Conference USA member.

Nevada has a great team that is tough to score on, and has an exceptional keeper. We follow that game up by playing UTRGV, a current WAC-member school that has one of the best records in Division I soccer right now with a 5-1-1 mark. UTEP Soccer will be very much tested this weekend. We know that this is our last tune-up weekend before we start Conference USA play, and we expect to play our best soccer of the season. We appreciate our fan’s support.”

Non-Conference Success Continues

UTEP heads into the weekend 5-1-2 on the year, ensuring the 15th straight winning record in non-conference play. The Miners are 106-29-9 before league action since the start of the 2002 season, which was head coach Kevin Cross’s second year in that position.

Fans Galore

UTEP, which set a program record by drawing 1,724 fans in its season opener against New Mexico State (8/19), is averaging a Conference-USA best 818 fans through three games. Middle Tennessee (666) and Charlotte (532) are the only other programs in the league to have an average of at least 500 fans in 2016.

Regional Recognition

For the second straight week, UTEP is ranked ninth in the NSCAA Central Region Poll. The Miners and North Texas (#6) are the lone squads from C-USA to crack the central-region Top-10 poll with the other eight spots coming from the Big 12 Conference. UTEP is no stranger to the attention, having now been regionally ranked for part of the season in 11 of the past 13 seasons.

Scouting Nevada

Nevada is 2-3-0 on the year, with an even goal differential (4-4). The Wolf Pack allowed three goals total in their first two games (0-2 record) but have conceded just one goal in their three contests (2-1-0 record) since. Angel Meriweather has scored two of Nevada’s four goals on the year.

Morgan Beve and Rylee Peterson have also found the back of the net. The Wolf Pack returned nine starters and 15 letter winners from last year’s team (6-11-2, 3-7-1 Mountain West).

Series History With Nevada

UTEP is 5-0-1 all-time against Nevada, with the majority of those match-ups occurring when both programs were members of the Western Athletic Conference. Last year the Miners picked up a 1-0 overtime road win (9/13/15). Friday’s match will fourth visit to El Paso, but first since 2004.

Scouting UTRGV

UTRGV, which is in just its third year of a program, is flying high with a 5-1-1 record on the year and a +8 goal differential (12-4). The five wins already match last year’s total (5-12-3).

The Vaqueros allowed four goals in the first two games (1-1 record) but has set a school record with five straight shutouts since. Andreya Barrera (four goals) and Diandra Aliagra (three goals) have provided seven of UTRGV’s 12 goals. Barrera also paces the team in assists. UTRGV returned 10 starters and 20 letter winners from the 2015 squad.

Series History With UTRGV

Sunday’s match-up is the first meeting between the programs.

Defense Does It

UTEP has recorded shutouts in six of the first eight games on the year, which already ties for 10th on the Miner single-season charts. Grand Canyon University (W, 3-2, Aug. 28) and Stephen F. Austin (L, 0-2, Sept. 11), are the only opponents to find the back of the net against the Miners in 2016. Of the four total goals, one came on a penalty kick and another occurred off a rebound of a penalty kick save.

Road Warriors

The Miners are 17-8-5 on the road since 2013, including a mark of 1-1-2 this year. UTEP, which has strung together a school-record three straight seasons with winning road records, will have a chance to improve on those marks with three straight league road games to christen Conference USA play.

Second-Half Spark

UTEP has tallied 12 of its 13 goals on the year in the second half. The Miners scored once in the first 45 minutes vs. NM State (W, 5-0, Aug. 19) in the season opener but every goal since that point has been during the second half. For what it’s worth, opponents have two goals in the opening frame and a pair after the break.

Palacios Up To The Task

Sophomore GK Alyssa Palacios has been very sharp thus far in 2016. She has recorded more shutouts (five-first C-USA/fourth nation) than total goals allowed (four) in her 751:15 minutes of action (16th nation). The effort works out to a goals against average of 0.48 (second C-USA/29th nation). Palacios has made 45 saves (first C-USA/19th nation) for a .918 save percentage (second C-USA/13th nation).

Thomas And Davis Leading Offense

Seniors Bri Thomas and Aleah Davis have keyed the offense by combining for eight of the team’s 13 goals thus far in 2016. Thomas has five goals (tied second C-USA/40th nation) while Davis has put away three chances, including three match winners (first C-USA/sixth nation).

Davis has also been an impact player with passing, recording a team-high four assists (tied second C-USA/40th nation). Overall Thomas has 11 points (59th nation) while Davis boasts 10 points (84th nation).

Sharing Is Caring

UTEP has been credited with 15 assists (tied third C-USA/36th nation) on its 13 total goals (seventh C-USA/80th) nation this year. Nine different Miners have recorded at least one helper on the season.

The last time the Orange and Blue concluded a campaign with more assists than goals was in 2014 (34 assists, 29 goals). The only other time the feat was achieved at UTEP was 2008 (39 assists, 35 goals).

The Basic Facts

UTEP is in its 21st season as a program, boasting an all-time record of 231-150-30, including 5-1-2 this year. The Miners are under the direction of 16th-year head coach Kevin Cross, who sports a mark of 189-102-23 in that timeframe. He is assisted by two former Miners (Heather Clark and Jessie Pettit). UTEP returned 12 letter winners, including nine starters, from last year’s team (11-7-2, 4-4-2 C-USA).

Going Back In Time

UTEP secured the program’s third-longest undefeated streak to start a season (seven games; 5-0-2) with a 2-0 win at Incarnate Word on Sept. 9. Bri Thomas (57’) and Aylin Villalobos (86’) scored while Nicole Lindsay (Thomas) and Aleah Davis and Kennadie Chaudhary (Villalobos) were credited with assists.

The Miners were dealt their initial loss of the 2016 season with a 2-0 setback at Stephen F. Austin on Sept. 11. SFA used a pair of first-half goals to put UTEP in a 2-0 deficit at the break. Shots (10-8), shots on goals (6-5) and corner kicks (8-2) all favored the Miners, but a comeback wasn’t in the books.

Looking Ahead To Next Weekend

The Miners will be idle on Sept. 23 before kicking off their 10-game Conference USA slate by playing at UAB (12 p.m. MT, Sept. 25). The contest will be the first of three straight away from home to christen league play, something UTEP hasn’t done since 2012 (four in a row).

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UTEP Soccer drops First Game of Season; SFA Wins 2-0

NACOGDOCHES, Texas– The UTEP soccer team was dealt its initial loss of the 2016 season with a 2-0 setback at Stephen F. Austin Sunday afternoon.

The Ladyjacks (3-2-0) used first-half goals from Hanna Barker (19’-penalty kick) and Amanda Doyle (36’) to put the Miners (5-1-2) in a 2-0 deficit at the break. UTEP continued to fight over the final 45 minutes but was unable to best Lillie Ehlert, who finished the game with six saves.

Shots (10-8), shots on goals (6-5) and corner kicks (8-2) all favored UTEP but it wasn’t to be. Sophomore GK Alyssa Palacios was credited with three saves.

“Our energy was good today, but we didn’t play our smartest game defensively,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “We generated a lot of chances but were unable to convert. We will learn from this game and bounce back on Friday night.”

UTEP came out of the gates with the intent to push the tempo, at least early on. The Miners earned a pair of corners in the first six minutes but SFA defended well.

SFA recorded a long shot (13’) by Hailey Hunt that skipped in on Palacios, who tracked it all the way and collected it.

The Miners went back on the offensive, with Bri Thomas using a hard left-footed blast. It was bobbled momentarily by Ehlert, but she recovered to grab it before UTEP pounced on the rebound.

SFA got on the board after Barker went down in the box and a penalty kick was awarded. She beat Palacios with a low, hard shot to the right part of the net to give the home side a 1-0 lead.

UTEP regrouped and rededicated its attack. A foul just outside the box against SFA gave the Miners a good opportunity. Nicole Lindsay lifted the ball into the area toward Aleah Davis but the header (26’) was saved. It continued to probe the SFA defense in search of the equalizer as the half wore on. There was a good look on a cross to the far post but the GK punched it away.

The Lady Jacks extended their lead to 2-0 after an unlucky bounce off a clearing attempt led to a wide-open look from point blank for Doyle, who converted.

UTEP generated a couple of good chances early in the second half, with a Davis header sailing just wide and a service on a corner kick being punched away.

Palacios was called upon in the 54th minute, and she used a nice diving effort to make a save by Briana Bosley. Six minutes later she hung in nicely off a dangerous free kick, grabbing a bouncing ball in the box.

In the 62nd minute the Orange and Blue were back on the offensive, earning consecutive corner kicks. The home side defended well, clearing away both services. Seven minutes later UTEP secured yet another corner kick but Ehlert delivered a diving stop to spoil Lauren Crenshaw’s chance.

Freshman Aylin Villalobos demonstrated good skill to play the ball off a SFA defender to earn UTEP’s seventh corner kick of the day. The ball was lifted into the box with the Miners firing two shots that were blocked away by the SFA defense.

UTEP will conclude non-conference action at home against Nevada (7 p.m. Friday) and UTRGV (1 p.m., Sept. 18). It will be “Kids Club Night” against Nevada while all military members get in free as part of “Military Day” vs. UTRGV.

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Miners Blank Incarnate Word 2-0; UTEP Moves to 5-0-2 for the Season

Senior Bri Thomas (56’) and freshman Aylin Villalobos (86’) scored second-half goals and the defense did the rest in UTEP’s 2-0 win at Incarnate Word Friday evening. With the effort the Miners (5-0-2) have secured the program’s third-longest undefeated streak to start a season, trailing only the respective efforts by the 2005 (15 games; 14-0-1) and 2002 (12 games; 12-0-0) squads.

The Cardinals (0-4-1) put up a good fight but failed to crack UTEP’s defense. Reigning C-USA Goalkeeper of the Week Alyssa Palacios was called on to make only one save, thanks to the efforts of C-USA Defensive Player of the Week Lauren Crenshaw and the rest of the Miners’ stop troops. Overall the Orange and Blue have now recorded shutouts in six of the seven games in 2016.

Furthermore, the Miners improve to 18-7-5 on the road since 2013, including a mark of 2-0-2 thus far this year. UTEP enjoyed significant advantages in shots (17-8) and shots on goal (8-1) but UIW hung around due to its grit and six saves from Sydney Huntsinger.

“We played a good second half,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “Bri Thomas had a great goal on her first shot of the game, and Aylin Villalobos gave us the cushion we needed on her first collegiate goal. I was really proud of both of them. Aleah Davis and Payton Ross also made a great defensive play to stop Incarnate Word’s best scoring opportunity. We will have to play a full 90 minutes on Sunday versus Stephen F. Austin.”

The Miners asserted themselves early on, with Nicole Lindsay (1’) blasting a shot high over the frame. There was a tremendous ball played by Carleigh Simmons on a corner kick, setting up Jeanna Mullen (5’) but Huntsinger was up to the task.

The best run of play for the home side came over the next several minutes, when it generated three corners and a pair of shots but nothing got on frame to pester Palacios.

Midway through the stanza the Miners began to dictate tempo and pace. Natalie Valentine (26’) laced a shot that forced Huntsinger to make a save that led to a corner kick. UTEP couldn’t convert on the set piece. Freshman Danielle Carreon (32’) got free but her shot was errant. Two minutes later she put it on goal only to have Huntsinger come up with a stop.

UTEP applied good pressure late in the half, with Bri Barreiro (38’) finding space for a shot that Huntsinger tracked well and gobbled up.

The Miners’ persistence carried over to the second half, with a Barreiro shot (50’) and a rush that resulted in an offside call (52’) putting the home side in a precarious position. Two more Miner shots followed-both high-before Thomas broke the deadlock. She regained possession of a lost ball from about 11 yards out before blasting it past a helpless Huntsinger.

To its credit, UIW recovered after the tally to try to pull even. The Cardinals earned a corner kick and got a good look for Karey Tylman (68’) but the try hit the post. Brooke Hanson (72’) did her best effort four minutes later with the only shot on goal of the game for UIW but Palacios made the stop.

Rather than sit back and try to milk the clock, the Miners decided the best way to protect their lead was through picking up their offensive intensity.

Consecutive corner kicks by Carreon (77’) got things going before a header from Hunley (81’) almost made it 2-0. Huntsinger was up to the task, though, making the point-blank save. Huntsinger delivered yet another stop on Thomas (85’) but one minute later the Miners got that highly-sought after insurance tally.

Davis and Mullen strung together some passes to set up Villalobos, who nailed the shot in from 10 yards out for her first collegiate tally.

UTEP will wrap up the road portion of its non-conference slate by playing at Stephen F. Austin at 12 p.m. MDT Sunday. The contest will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com.

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