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Home | Tag Archives: UTEP Soccer (page 10)

Tag Archives: UTEP Soccer

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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UTEP Soccer To Play At Incarnate Word And Stephen F. Austin​

The unbeaten UTEP soccer team will wrap up the road portion of its non-conference slate by playing at Incarnate Word (6 p.m. MDT, Friday) and at Stephen F. Austin (12 p.m. MDT, Sunday).

The Miners’ (4-0-2) match at the Cardinals (0-3-1) can be viewed for free on UIW’s website while the contest against the Ladyjacks (1-2-0) will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com.

“We have a very tough road weekend ahead of us,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “When you play on the road you have to be at your very best. Both of these schools have played some of our Texas Conference USA opponents.  We know Incarnate Word will be a very toughFriday night game, and Stephen F. Austin is one of the toughest games on our schedule as they are perennial conference champions.”

Starting Strong

UTEP has bolted out of the gates at 4-0-2, making it one of 28 unbeaten teams nationwide. The effort also ties as the program’s third-longest undefeated streak to start a season. The record was set in 2005 (15 games; 14-0-1) followed by the 2002 squad (12 games; 12-0-0). This year’s team shares third with the 1998 squad (six games; 6-0-0).

Scouting UIW

The University of Incarnate Word returned its top three leading goal scorers from the 2015 squad (3-14-2), in the form of Abbi Koenigs, Emani Stewart and Sabrina Martineua. The Cardinals dropped their first three games of the season before battling to a scoreless draw at home vs. UTRGV Sunday.

They had given up nine goals in the first three tilts before posting the shutout. Sydney Huntsinger has played the bulk of minutes in goal, recording 17 saves for a .708 save percentage. Ana Campa and Brooke Hanson share for the team lead in total shots (six). Campa and Martineau tie for the top spot for shots on goal (two).

Series History With UIW

The series with UIW is tied at one. The Cardinals beat the Miners, 3-1, on Sept. 3, 2001, (Kevin Cross’s first year as head coach). More recently UTEP posted a 4-0 win on Aug. 29, 2014. Friday’s match will be the first between the programs that is contested in San Antonio.

Scouting SFA

Stephen F. Austin brought back eight starters and 19 letter winners from last year’s team (9-8-2). The Lady Jacks are a perennial power, with 13 conference titles (10 regular season, three tournament) since the program’s inception in 1995. They opened up 2016 with consecutive road losses at Pacific 12 members Oregon State (L, 1-2, Aug. 26) and Oregon (L, 0-3, Aug. 28) before topping UTSA, 3-2, in their home openerSunday.

SFA is 45-5-5 in Nacogdoches since 2010, with three of those five losses in the stretch coming in 2013. Hailey Hunt is the top scoring threat with two goals while Madison Hall and Crystal Calvit each have produced one strike. Hanna Barker has registered a team-leading two assists. Lillie Ehlert (1.87 GAA, nine saves) and Allyson Smith (2.87 GAA, nine saves) have split time in goal. Three of SFA’s four goals on the year have been in the first half.

Series History With SFA

UTEP holds a 4-3 advantage in the series with Stephen F. Austin, but the Ladyjacks have emerged victorious the past two times. SFA won, 2-1, in double overtime at University Field on Sept. 8, 2013, while successfully defending its home pitch, 1-0, on Sept. 1, 2011. UTEP, however, has tasted success in Nacogdoches, posting a 2-1 overtime victory on Sept. 3, 2010. That proved to be the lone home loss for SFA that season.

Individual Honors Pour In

UTEP claimed two of the three weekly C-USA Player of the Week awards as announced by the league office Tuesday. Sophomore Alyssa Palacios (Goalkeeper of the Week) and freshman Lauren Crenshaw (Defensive Player of the Week) were honored after helping the Miners post back-to-back shutout wins against Wyoming and Texas State. It was the first such career honor for both individuals.

Team Accolades Too

With a 4-0-2 record and a +9 goal differential (11-2), UTEP has garnered some recognition in the most-recent NSCAA Central Region Poll. The Miners broke into the rankings by placing ninth this week. They have now been regionally ranked in 11 of the past 13 campaigns.

Defense Does It

For the second time in school history, the Miners have recorded shutouts in five of the first six games. UTEP blanked seven of the initial eight opponents in 2006. Grand Canyon University is the only team to score on the Miners in 2016, doing so twice in a 3-2 road UTEP win on Aug. 28.

Overall it is the third time at the school that foes have been held to two total goals through six games. The aforementioned 2006 squad yielded two goals over its first eight matches while the 2011 Miners gave up two tallies through their initial seven contests.

Road Warriors

The Miners are 17-7-5 on the road since 2013, including a mark of 1-0-2 this year. UTEP, which has strung together a school-record three straight seasons with winning road records, will look to take another step in the right direction by playing at UIW and Stephen F. Austin this weekend.

Second-Half Spark

UTEP has tallied 10 of its 11 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) before finding the back of the net four times in the second stanza. Every tally since has come after the break. For what it’s worth, both goals by the opposition in 2016 have also been in the second half.

Palacios Up To The Task

Sophomore GK Alyssa Palacios has gotten off to a strong start in 2016. She has allowed just two goals in her 571:15 minutes of action (14th nation) for a goals against average of 0.32 (22nd nation). Palacios has made 41 saves (12th nation) for a .953 save percentage (11th nation).

She delivered at least six stops in the first five games of the year, tying former Miner great Amanda Smith’s (9/10-9/23/99) record for most matches in a row with 6+ saves. Last time out vs. Texas State Palacios was credited with five saves.

Thomas And Davis Leading Offense

Seniors Bri Thomas and Aleah Davis have keyed the offense by combining for seven of the team’s 11 goals thus far in 2016. Thomas has four goals (37th nation) while Davis has put away three chances (91st nation). Davis has also been an impact player with passing, recording a team-best three assists (33rd nation).

The Basic Facts

UTEP is in its 21st season as a program, boasting an all-time record of 230-149-30, including 4-0-2 this year. The Miners are under the direction of 16th-year head coach Kevin Cross, who sports a mark of 188-101-23 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 pushed its win streak to three after posting consecutive shutout victories against Wyoming (W, 2-0, Sept. 2) and Texas State (W, 1-0, Sept. 4), squads which entered the weekend with a combined record of 4-2-2. Senior Aleah Davis scored the match winner in both contests while fellow classmate Bri Thomas also found the back of the net.

Freshman Lauren Crenshaw was credited with two assists (on Davis’s game-winning goals), with junior Kennadie Chaudhary and freshman Natalie Valentine also registering helpers. Sophomore GK Alyssa Palacios turned away a season-high tying eight shots against Wyoming while collecting five stops vs. Texas State.

Looking Ahead To Next Weekend

UTEP will conclude non-conference action at home against Nevada (7 p.m. Sept. 16) 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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UTEP Soccer’s Crenshaw And Palacios Garner C-USA Player Of Week Honors

IRVING, Texas – The UTEP soccer team has claimed two of three weekly C-USA Player of the Week awards, with sophomore Alyssa Palacios (Goalkeeper of the Week) and freshman defender Lauren Crenshaw (Defensive Player of the Week) being honored as announced by the league office Tuesday.

The duo helped the Miners (4-0-2) post consecutive shutout victories against Wyoming (W, 2-0, Sept. 2) and Texas State (W, 1-0, Sept. 4), squads which entered the weekend with a combined record of 4-2-2.

“This is a tremendous honor for both Alyssa and Lauren,” head coach Kevin Cross said. “Alyssa has made so many huge saves for us all season long. She seems to get to everything. Lauren has been excellent every minute of every game. She rarely makes a mistake and never has an off day. We are very fortunate to have these two players anchoring our back line.”

Crenshaw started and played all 180 minutes on a defense that has now posted five shutouts in six games. She also used her athleticism, speed and decisiveness to help spark the offense. Crenshaw assisted on two of the Miners’ three goals on the weekend, both of which came on match-winning strikes.

One minute into the second half in a scoreless game against Wyoming, Crenshaw sent a cross that was redirected by Kennadie Chaudhary to Aleah Davis, whose shot snuck in under the crossbar in the upper left corner of the goal. In the 72nd minute against Texas State Crenshaw played a good thru ball to Natalie Valentine, who immediately sent a cross to Davis that was headed home.

Palacios turned away a season-high tying eight shots against Wyoming while collecting five stops vs. Texas State. She was particularly busy in the second half vs. the Cowgirls, making six saves over the final 45 minutes. The best stop in the match came in the 60th minute when she was forced to make a diving save to her left on a header by Tristan Tyrrell.

Palacios kept UTEP in position to win the game vs. Texas State by making all five of her saves before the home side got on the board in the 72nd minute. Overall for the weekend three of her saves led to corner kicks.

Crenshaw, Palacios and the rest of the Miners will wrap up the road portion of their non-conference slate by playing at Incarnate Word (6 p.m. MDT, Friday) and at Stephen F. Austin (12 p.m. MDT, Sept. 11).

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UTEP Blanks Texas State, 1-0, To Improve To 4-0-2 On Year

Senior Aleah Davis (72:08) scored midway through the second half and sophomore GK Alyssa Palacios made five stops to help UTEP defeat Texas State, 1-0, at a sun-soaked University Field Sunday afternoon.Freshmen Lauren Crenshaw and Natalie Valentine were credited with assists to help the Miners (4-0-2) stay perfect on the year. The Bobcats (2-3-1) put up a good fight but UTEP had an answer for every challenge.

The 4-0-2 start ties as the third-longest unbeaten streak to start a season. The record was set in 2005 (14-0-1), followed by the 2002 team (12-0-0). This year’s team joins both the 1998 (6-0-0) 2014 (5-0-1) squads for a share of third.

“I don’t think we had our very best performance, especially in the first half we seemed a little bit slower but we picked it up a bit in the second half,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “We tried to really emphasize going at them in the second half. No matter what year it is and where we play, Texas State plays us tough. It’s always one of the toughest games of the year.”

Texas State showed a good burst off the kickoff, racing up the pitch but UTEP’s defense reacted well to block Kassi Hormuth’s shot 32 seconds in. The Miners put together a quality counter attack to earn a corner kick. Nicole Lindsay sent a good ball to Davis, but the header sailed wide of the frame.

The Bobcats tested Palacios twice within a minute, but both times she was up to the task. She gobbled up Brooke Ramsey’s low, hard shot at 12:13. The sophomore then elevated, showing good hands to cleanly corral the shot by Hormuth at 13:10.

The Miners really started to assert themselves in the air on both sides of the pitch. Their prowess in the air was giving Texas State fits, but the visitors did well to adjust their passing and marking.

In the 21st minute there was good work up top to earn UTEP’s fourth corner kick of the contest but it was unable to capitalize. The best sequence of soccer on the day for Texas State came a few minutes later but Palacios showed top form with two big saves.

As the half wore on, UTEP started being much more intentional with its offensive play. There was good skill on a header by Devyn Hunley at 26:24 while Lauren Crenshaw unleashed a booming blast at 28:56. Both chances, though, were handled by Texas State GK Kathryn Budde.

In the 33rd minute the Miners strung together some passes to set up Bri Thomas for a header but Budde stared down the shot to make the save. In the final five minutes of the frame, a shot by Jodie Enokson was blocked and Davis’s header was wide to the right.

UTEP had a golden opportunity in the 50th minute, with Jeanna Mullen deking past a defender before turning to send a cross. She struck it perfectly, lifting it over the outstretched arms of Budde. Thomas was waiting, but header inched high.

Texas State garnered a corner kick in the 60th minute but perfect positioning and timing by Davis let her head the service out of harms’ way.

Three minutes later Palacios made her fifth and final save of the game. A shot trickled in on net by Ali Jones. She tracked it all the way, calmly collecting the shot.

The Miners got on the board thanks to the efforts of Crenshaw, Valentine and Davis in the 72nd minute. Crenshaw played a good thru ball to Valentine, who sent a cross toward a streaking Davis. The ball found her head, and it blistered past Budde.

Texas State regrouped and rededicated its attack, but UTEP’s back line was stout. The visitors managed just one shot down the stretch, which was high.

UTEP will wrap up the road portion of its non-conference slate by playing at Incarnate Word (6 p.m. MDT, Friday) and at Stephen F. Austin (12 p.m. MDT, Sept. 11).

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UTEP Soccer Remains Unbeaten; Blank Wyoming 2 – 0

Aleah Davis (46:02) and Bri Thomas (73:51) scored second-half goals while Alyssa Palacios matched her season high with eight saves in a 2-0 vanquishing of Wyoming at University Field Friday evening. The Miners (3-0-2) remain flawless through five games while handing the Mountain West Conference Cowgirls (2-2-2) their second straight setback.

Lauren Crenshaw and Kennnadie Chaudhary were credited with helpers on the goal by Davis while Thomas’s tally was unassisted.

Wyoming held a 21-11 edge in total shots but good pressure by the Orange and Blue led to a total of eight shots on goal for the visitors. The Miners posted six shots on frame, with Georgia Rowntree recording a quartet a shots. Wyoming had a slight edge in corner kicks, 6-5.

“Wyoming is a very good team and this is a good result,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “I felt we made some adjustments at the end of the first half and kept that going in the second half; we got real fired up and got that early goal.”

There was good positioning and patience by both sides early on in the action. UTEP created a good look on a corner kick service by Nicole Lindsay in the 23rd minute which found Thomas. She laced a shot but it whistled just high.

Eleven minutes later there was a highlight-reel move to deke the defender by Jeanna Mullen. She then raced up the pitch but the cross couldn’t find a home. In the 41st minute it was Thomas with a quality cross to Bri Barreiro. The senior settled the ball and lifted a high-arching shot on target but it was turned away.

UTEP’s pressure carried over to the second half, and the Cowgirls had no answer. Crenshaw sent things into the area where Chaudhary managed to redirect it to Davis. The senior then hammered home a shot that snuck in under the upper left corner.

Wyoming tried to get its attack going in the 56th minute but tremendous anticipation by Payton Ross led to her jumping the thru ball, effectively cutting it off before starting a counter attack.

In the 60th minute there was a big-time save by Palacios. Off a corner kick that had Palacios moving from left to right, she was forced to dive back against the grain to make a brilliant save to rob Alisha Bass’s header.

Thomas gave the Orange and Blue some much-needed breathing room in the 74th minute. She hit a rocket into upper 90’s territory for the highlight-reel and team-leading fourth goal of the season.

For good measure Palacios displayed picture-perfect technique to punch a header try by Shaina Ashouri over the frame. The Orange and Blue then cleared the ensuing corner.

UTEP will have a quick turnaround with Texas State invading El Paso for a 12 p.m. kickoff on Sunday. There will be free doughnuts (while supplies last) courtesy of Krispy Kreme vs. the Bobcats (2-1-1) as part of the “Go Nuts For Doughnuts” promo.

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Unbeaten UTEP Returns Home To Challenge Wyoming And Texas State

The UTEP soccer team will return home for games against Wyoming (7 p.m. MDT Friday) and Texas State (12 p.m. MDT Sunday) at University Field this weekend. After playing three straight road tilts, the Miners (2-0-2) will play four of their final six non-conference matches at home.

Fans who wear USA gear get in free for the tilt vs. the Cowgirls (2-1-1) as part of the “USA Soccer Celebration” promotion. There will be free doughnuts (while supplies last) courtesy of Krispy Kreme vs. the Bobcats (2-1-1) as part of the “Go Nuts For Doughnuts” promo.

“We are very excited to be back at home this weekend after a three-game road swing,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “We look forward to playing in front of our great fans! We have two excellent teams coming in town this weekend making it a very challenging weekend. Both Wyoming and Texas State are strong teams in very good conferences. We will have to be in top form to get results this weekend and we are looking forward to the challenge.”

Scouting Wyoming

Wyoming is 2-1-1 on the year and it sports a +3 goal differential (7-4). It features a balanced attack, with six different players having accounted for the squad’s seven goals on the year. Katie Marcheso is the lone player with multiple (two) goals on the year.

Wyoming yielded one goal while getting off to a 1-0-1 start before allowing three last time out in a 3-2 loss at Iowa on Aug. 28. Five of the seven goals on the year by the Cowgirls have come in the second half. Overall Wyoming has significant advantages in shots (61-37), shots on goal (31-17) and corner kicks (29-10).

Georgia Rowntree has started all four matches at GK; she has recorded a .765 save percentage to go along with a 0.95 GAA.

Series History With Wyoming

UTEP is 3-0 all-time against Wyoming, but the two squads last met in 1998. The Miners picked up victories in each of the first three years of the program during Western Athletic Conference play (2-0, 10/25/96; 1-0, 10/10/97 and 3-0, 10/25/98).

Scouting Texas State

Texas State is 2-1-1 on the year, posting a +2 goal differential (4-2) with four different players finding the back of the net. The Bobcats opened up with consecutive 2-0 wins at Lamar (8/19) and vs. Prairie View A&M (8/21) before falling at McNeese State by the same score on Aug. 26.

Texas State battled to a scoreless draw vs. Houston on Aug. 28. It has been dominant statistically, outshooting foes 82-20, including 38-13 for shots on goal, while also holding an edge in corner kicks (15-10). The Bobcats have used two goaltenders, with both Kathryn Budde and Heather Martin being effective.

Series History With Texas State

UTEP is 10-2-1 all-time against Texas State, with the two sides locking up every year but one (2010) since 2002. While the Miners have an advantage in the series, most of the contests have been close. Last year UTEP picked up a 2-1 road win while the squads played to a scoreless draw in the Bobcats’ most-recent visit to El Paso in 2014.

Starting Strong

For the second time in the past three years and sixth occasion overall, UTEP stands unbeaten through four games (2-0-2). The longest such surge to start a season at the school was in 2005 (15 games; 14-0-1) followed by the 2002 squad (12 games; 12-0-0). Tying for third are the 1998 (six games; 6-0-0) and 2014 (six games; 5-0-1) teams. The 2008 squad (five games; 5-0-0) is fifth followed by this year’s team (four games; 2-0-2).

Road Warriors

UTEP capped off its three-game road swing by downing Grand Canyon University, 3-2, on Aug. 28. The Miners are now 17-7-5 on the road since the start of the 2013 season, including the mark of 1-0-2 this year.

UTEP, which has strung together a school-record three straight seasons with winning road records, will have its next away game at Incarnate Word on Sept. 9.

Rare Road-Heavy Schedule To Start

UTEP played three of its first four games on the road, something which hasn’t happened since the formative years of the program. In 1996, the inaugural season for Miner soccer, UTEP opened up with five straight road games while it had 10 consecutive (nine road, one neutral site) such tilts in 1997.

Second-Half Spark

UTEP erupted for three goals after the break in the 3-2 win at Grand Canyon University on Aug. 28. Overall seven of the Miners’ eight goals have come in the second half. UTEP scored once in the first 45 minutes vs. NM State (W, 5-0, Aug. 19) before finding the back of the net four times in the second stanza.

Consistency In Starting 11

UTEP’s starting line-up has been pretty consistent through the first two weeks of action. Eight players, including four seniors (Bri Barreiro, Aleah Davis, Nicole Lindsay and Bri Thomas), have started all four games. True freshmen Lauren Crenshaw and Kori Lewis and sophomores Alyssa Palacios and Payton Ross have also started every contest this year.

Palacios Up To The Task

Sophomore GK Alyssa Palacios has gotten off to a strong start in 2016. She has allowed just two goals in her 391:15 minutes of action (14th nation), making 28 saves (16th nation) for a .933 save percentage (21st nation). Palacios has recorded at least six saves in every match, including a season-high eight stops in the 3-2 win at Grand Canyon University on Aug. 28.

Balanced Attack

Six different players have scored for UTEP in 2016; senior Bri Thomas leads the way with three goals (29th nation) while Bri Barreiro, Yesenia Contreras, Aleah Davis, Jodie Enokson and Emily Blaettner have also found the back of the net. Davis paces the squad with three assists (14th nation) while Barreiro has a pair (46th nation). Contreras, Carleigh Simmons and Thomas all have one helper each.

The Basic Facts

UTEP is in its 21st season as a program, boasting an all-time record of 228-149-30, including 2-0-2 this year. The Miners are under the direction of 16th-year head coach Kevin Cross, who sports a mark of 186-101-23 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).

Looking Ahead To Next Weekend

UTEP will wrap up the road portion of its non-conference slate by playing at Incarnate Word (6 p.m. MDT, Sept. 9) and at Stephen F. Austin (12 p.m. MDT, Sept. 11).

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UTEP Powers To 3-2 Win At Grand Canyon University

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Powered by goals from Bri Thomas (52’, 56’) and Yesenia Contreras (58’), the UTEP soccer team emerged with a 3-2 win at Grand Canyon University Sunday afternoon. The Miners (2-0-2) remain unbeaten on the year while also spoiling the inaugural home game in front of 1,452 fans at beautiful GCU Stadium for the Lopes (0-4-0).

After a scoreless, albeit entertaining first half of action, there was an offensive explosion in the early stages of the second frame. Thomas got it going by hammering home a header at 52:28. A little more than three minutes later, the El Paso native converted a penalty kick with ease to make it 2-0.

To their credit the Lopes rededicated their attack and earned a penalty kick of their own in the 56th minute. Sophomore GK Alyssa Palacios delivered a brilliant stop, one of eight in the match, on the initial shot by Milla Benedetti, but GCU’s Rachel Mina tapped home the rebound at 56:28 before Palacios or any of the Miner defenders could recover.

The Miners had an answer, thanks to Contreras’s first collegiate goal. Off a corner kick, the ball was batted around before the sophomore hammered it home.

GCU made things interesting with Madison Cox using a brilliant shot to best a diving Palacios at 84:18 but ‘UTEP kept its composure to hold on for the victory.

“I am very proud of the ladies today,” head coach Kevin Cross said. “We have been playing very hard, and the offense was flying in the second half. We are excited to come home on Friday night and look forward to playing in front of our UTEP Soccer fans.”

UTEP enjoyed advantages in both shots (15-11) and corner kicks (8-2) while the Lopes held a slight edge on shots on goal (10-6). Palacios recorded four saves in each half.

The Orange and Blue generated good possession early on, with Thomas helping earn a corner kick. The service, though, landed on top of the goal frame. Four minutes later Kennadie Chaudhary got a clean look but Blakely Fraasch gobbled it up for one of her three saves in the game.

Palacios flat out robbed Brylee Hawkins at 32:15. Off a free kick the ball was served into the box and found the head of Hawkins, who blasted a header on frame. Palacios pushed it wide with her right hand. Three minutes later Palacios had great technique by holding her position strong on the near post to fight off the near-angle shot by Benedetti.

UTEP then connected on three consecutive passes to breathe life into a counter attack. The effort resulted in a corner kick but GCU won the service.

The visitors set the tone early on in the second half with more assertive play from the onset. There was good recognition by Lauren Crenshaw to jump into the play off a corner kick. Her left-foot blast inched wide.

Six minutes later the Miners broke through thanks to Thomas, igniting the wild sequence of soccer.

UTEP will be back home play host to Wyoming at 7 p.m. MDT Friday and Texas State at 12 p.m. MDT Sept. 4. Fans who wear USA gear get in free vs. Wyoming while there will be free doughnuts (while supplies last) courtesy of Krispy Kreme vs. Texas State.

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Palacios Shines As UTEP Plays To Scoreless Draw At CSU Bakersfield

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Sophomore GK Alyssa Palacios recorded seven saves to help UTEP stay unbeaten in 2016 after a scoreless draw at CSU Bakersfield Friday evening.

The Miners (1-0-2) recorded 13 shots, including five on target while earning seven corner kicks in the contest. There was consistent pressure against the homestanding Roadrunners (1-1-1) but GK Jen Padilla and company survived.

The best chance by either side came in the second overtime period. The Miners worked the ball into the area where junior Kennadie Chaudhary was well positioned. She redirected the shot with a brilliant touch that bested Padilla only to have the CSUB defense clear the chance off the line for the team save.

Palacios put on a clinic in net, finishing with seven saves in the game. She was particularly impressive in the early stages of the contest, turning away five shots within the first 8:30 of action.

The Miners have now posted three shutouts in as many games. It’s the fourth time in program history (’16, ’14, 11’ and ’08) that UTEP has accomplished the feat at the onset of the year. The 2014 squad holds the standard for longest shutout stretch to start a season at four.

“We gave a great effort tonight,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “We were winches away from finishing one. To get back-to-back shutouts in hostile environments is a great accomplishment. I am excited for Sunday’s game. We will be ready!”

The two sides traded chances early on but in an indication of the game to come both goalkeepers were strong. CSUB’s Haley Vicente was turned away by Palacios at 2:17. UTEP’s counter attack got a look for Bri Barreiro but Padilla came up with the save.

CSUB really had some sustained pressure over the next several minutes but Palacios was crisp in net by denying everything that came her way. The Miners started to string together some passes and settle down into the tilt as the half wore on.

There was good work by Nicole Lindsday to secure a corner kick in the 15th minute but the visitors couldn’t convert. UTEP, with much better spacing, continued to probe the Roadrunner defense. A long throw in by Aleah Davis, who was a huge presence in all parts of the pitch, led to a corner kick. Carleigh Simmons sent it into the box where the ball was batted around but the CSUB GK corralled it.

Payton Ross showed tremendous anticipation to cut off a through ball in the 32nd minute. Neither side could create a clean look down the stretch of the period.

There was continued strong play by the Miner back line in the second frame, with Palacios being called upon just twice over the final 45 minutes. She delivered a save by Myah Oden at 69:15 and again from a chance by Keneika Webster at 78:40.

UTEP created a really good chance in the frame in the 58th minute. Simmons sent a sweet service off the corner kick but Padilla made an outstanding effort to leap and punch it away.

The Miners, who had been content to patiently attack in the second half, picked things up late. Yesenia Contreras showed a good burst to create some space but the shot sailed wide of goal. Thomas had an outstanding blast in the waning seconds of the frame but Padilla’s quick reaction forced overtime.

UTEP did good work early on to get the ball deep into CSUB territory in the first OT period. Barreiro got a shot that dipped in on target but Padilla was there. Late in the OT period, CSUB pressured but Lauren Crenshaw and other Miner defenders shut that down.

In the second overtime period the best chance was by Chaudhary, but it was not to be.

UTEP will wrap up its three-game road swing by playing at Grand Canyon University at 2 p.m. MT Sunday. The game will be streamed online live for free.

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UTEP To Wrap Up Road Swing With Games At CSU Bakersfield, Grand Canyon University

UTEP will put the finishing touches on a three-game road trip by playing at CSU Bakersfield (6 p.m. MT Friday) and Grand Canyon University (2 p.m. MT Sunday). The Miners’ (1-0-1) contest at CSUB (1-1-0) will be streamed live, for free, via the Roadrunner Sports Network.

The match Sunday against the Lopes (0-2-0) will also be streamed live, for free, with links available on GCU’s website.

“UTEP Soccer has a real challenge ahead of us playing two quality sides on the road,” head coach Kevin Cross said. “We have to be playing our very best game on the road in order to secure positive results. We are ready for the challenge as we have picked up our intensity this week.”

Scouting CSU Bakersfield

CSU Bakersfield returned eight starters from last year’s squad (6-12-3, 3-5-2 WAC). The Roadrunners were shutout on the road (L, 0-2) in their season opener at Sacramento State on Aug. 19 but bounced back with a resounding 4-2 win at home vs. Fresno State on Aug. 21.

Sabrina Delgado, the reigning WAC Offensive Player of the Week, led the offensive onslaught with a pair of goals. Sophie Freeman and Jordin Bartel also found the back of the net. Aminah Settles was credited with two helpers while Madi Giammona and Freeman each had one. Jen Padilla started and played the entirety of both games in goal. She recorded a .667 save percentage.

Series History With CSUB

Friday’s match-up is the first between the programs.

Scouting Grand Canyon University

GCU brought back nine starters and 22 letter winners from its 2015 team (7-9-3, 4-4-2 WAC). The Lopes are 0-2-0 on the season, with both setbacks coming on the road. GCU was upended, 1-0, in overtime at Eastern Washington on Aug. 19 before falling, 3-1, at Idaho on Aug. 21. Mackenzie Cook has the lone goal on the campaign for the Lopes. Blakely Fraasch has started both matches in net, posting a .636 save percentage.

Series History With GCU

UTEP downed GCU, 4-1, on Sept. 11, 2015, in El Paso in the only prior contest between the schools.

Starting Strong

The Orange and Blue bounced NM State, 5-0, on Aug. 19 to improve to 13-2-1 in season openers under Kevin Cross and 16-4-1 all time in the situation since the program’s inception in 1996. UTEP followed that up by battling to a scoreless draw at Abilene Christian on Aug. 21.

Shutout City

The Miners enter this weekend at 1-0-1, and they’ve yet to yield a goal. It’s the fifth time in program history (’16, ’14, ’11, ’08 and ’97) that UTEP has opened the campaign with consecutive shutouts.

Palacios Up To The Task

Sophomore GK Alyssa Palacios recorded 13 saves total last weekend, turning away six shots in the 5-0 win vs. NM State on Aug. 19 before making seven stops in the scoreless draw at ACU on Aug. 19. She also received a big boost from the defense at ACU, with the Miners recording a pair of team saves by clearing shots off the line.

A Return To Health

Redshirt-freshmen Jodie Enokson-MF and Paige Harm-D and redshirt-senior Keighton Allen-GK all missed the 2015 season with injuries. In a testament to the UTEP athletic training and strength and conditioning staffs, each rehabbed and played in the opening weekend. Enokson appeared in both matches and converted a penalty kick vs. NM State. Harm and Allen also earned playing time against the Aggies.

New Faces Making Impact

Eight newcomers made their debut last weekend, including four true freshmen (Danielle Carreon-F, Lauren Crenshaw-D, Kori Lewis-D and Natalie Valentine-MF) who started both matches. Emily Blaettner-MF, Priscilla Garcia-F, Devyn Hunley-MF (junior-college transfer) and Kobi McNutt-F earned playing time off the bench. Blaettner scored a highlight-reel goal in the 5-1 win vs. NM State. UTEP’s 10 true freshmen on the roster are the second most during the Kevin Cross era; the 2013 unit had 12 such players.

Balanced Attack

Five different Miners (senior Aleah Davis-14:30, senior Bri Barreiro-45:51, senior Bri Thomas-67:25, freshman Emily Blaettner-73:07 and redshirt-freshman Jodie Enokson-84:02) scored for the Miners vs. NM State on Aug. 19. Davis had two assists while sophomore Carleigh Simmons, Thomas, Barreiro and sophomore Yesenia Contreras also added helpers. It marked the first career assist for Contreras. For Davis, it was the third time of her career that she has recorded two helpers in a contest.

The Basic Facts

UTEP is in its 21st season as a program, boasting an all-time record of 227-149-29, including 1-0-1 this year. The Miners are under the direction of 16th-year head coach Kevin Cross, who sports a mark of 185-101-22 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).

Senior Leadership

UTEP has strong leaders in place with a seven-member senior class (Keighton Allen-GK, Alexa Bain-D, Bri Barreiro-MF, Aleah Davis-MF/D, Nicole Lindsay-MF, Morgan Rasmason-GK and Bri Thomas-F).

Looking Ahead

Following the weekend’s road games, the Miners return home to play host to Wyoming (7 p.m. MT, Sept. 2) and Texas State (12 p.m., Sept. 4). Fans who wear USA gear get in free vs. Wyoming while there will be free doughnuts (while supplies last) courtesy of Krispy Kreme vs. Texas State.

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Miners Battle To Scoreless Draw At ACU

ABILENE, Texas – Sophomore goalkeeper Alyssa Palacios made nine stops (one shy of career high) while the Miner defense stepped up to deliver two team saves as UTEP battled to a scoreless draw at Abilene Christian Sunday afternoon.

The Miners move to 1-0-1 on the year, and have yet to yield a goal. It’s the fifth time in program history (’14, ’11, ’08 and ’97) that UTEP has opened the campaign with consecutive shutouts. The homestanding Wildcats (0-1-1) did everything they could to spoil that feat but Palacios and company stood tall.

UTEP enjoyed some quality offensive moments as well, but ACU GK Sydney Newton recorded three saves while her defense blocked several other chances.

For eight of the 19 Miners to appear in the game, including four starters, it marked the first career road tilt.

“Abilene Christian has always played us very tough,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “They are one of the best teams in their conference. We will learn from this game. Our back line and keeper played well. We worked hard but did not get the goal we needed even though we came very close.”

ACU threatened almost immediately, with Leslie Snider getting some space to work with at 2:22. Palacios was well positioned to make the save. UTEP then countered but Aleah Davis’ try was blocked away. The Miners regained possession but the threat was wiped away after a thru ball resulted in an offside call.

In the 16th minute Palacios was called upon again, and she delivered a big-time stop. She turned away Snider’s rocket and the Orange and Blue defense took care of the rest on the ensuing corner kick.

UTEP began to possess a bit better as the half wore on, keeping the Wildcats to without a shot over the final 22 minutes of the frame.

Offensively the Orange and Blue had some good looks but couldn’t get on the board before halftime. Yesenia Contreras whistled a shot just wide in the 19th minute before sending one high six minutes later. Jodie Enokson’s header in the 30th minute was also wide. A shot from Alexa Bain, off a nice corner kick service by Kobi McNutt, was blocked away by the ACU defense.

UTEP did good work to earn its second corner of the contest just two minutes into the second half. Snider was back at it for ACU in the 53rd minute, with her third shot on goal of the game, but once again Palacios was ready. UTEP bolted up the pitch to set up Davis, but her try was wide.

The Miners generated some sustained pressure midway through the second half, recording two shots on goal in a four-minute span. Davis was turned away at 63:42 while a shot by Nicole Lindsay at 66:59 was gobbled up by Newton.

UTEP’s defense gave Palacios a huge boost in the 68th minute by coming up with a team save on the line on the header by ACU’s Brooke Lenz. The Miners were back on the attack in the 75th minute but the shot from the speedy freshman forward Danielle Carreon was wide.

ACU really amped up its offensive intensity in the waning minutes of the half, but UTEP fought it all off. The Miner defense blocked a shot by Samantha Vestal while Palacios fought off the try by Brooke Lenz. The final two shots of the frame didn’t get on goal, with one clanking off the post and another going wide.

Palacios delivered three of her saves in overtime while the Miner defense cleared Dylan Owens’ shot off the line at 103:20. UTEP also had some opportunities, with Kennadie Chaudhary providing the spark. The junior blasted a shot wide at 108:41 while forcing Newton into a difficult save with just two seconds remaining in the contest.

UTEP will continue its three-game roadswing by playing at CSU Bakersfield at 6 p.m. MT Friday.

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Story+Gallery: UTEP Upends NMSU 5-0 in Season-Opening Match

UTEP exploded for four second-half goals on the way to a convincing 5-0 season-opening victory against NM State in the FirstLight Federal Credit Union Battle of I-10 in front of a school-record 1,724 fans at University Field Friday evening.

The Miners (1-0) shared the wealth with Aleah Davis (14:30), Bri Barreiro (45:51), Bri Thomas (67:25), Emily Blaettner (73:07) and Jodie Enokson (84:02) all lighting up the scoreboard. Alyssa Palacios frustrated the Aggies (0-1) with six saves, including five during a frantic first half, while Keighton Allen provided good leadership with her voice in closing out the contest in relief.

Carleigh Simmons, Davis (two), Thomas, Barreiro and Yesenia Contreras each recorded assists in the winning effort. Shots were 11-11 while UTEP held slight edges in both shots on goal (7-6) and corner kicks (5-4), but the tempo was all Orange and Blue, particularly over the final 45 minutes.

“The first half we weren’t pushing our attack like we want to,” head coach Kevin Cross said. “That was the theme of my halftime talk; that we needed to push the attack. We did and good things happened for them. NM State played hard. They’re well coached and they defended well.

“This was a really special night. To have a record crowd out here was incredible. We’re really thankful to Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q, the media support, the Alumni Association tailgate and our campers. It was incredible out heretonight.”

Facing a stiff wind, the Miners did well to work the ball up the pitch on the ground early. Freshman Danielle Carreon made a good run up the right wing but her cross couldn’t find a home in the eighth minute.

Four minutes later fellow classmate Natalie Valentine unleashed a wicked shot but Aggie netminder Garcia was up to the task. The Miners couldn’t convert on the ensuing corner but UTEP broke through two minutes later. Off a corner kick, Davis elevated above everyone else on the pitch to hammer home a header.

Palacios drew some oohs from the crowd with a beautiful stop on a shot with ample pace by Audriana Chavez in the 18th minute. Twenty minutes later, Palacios somehow kept a point-blank chance by Chavez once again out. The ball was bouncing in the box and Chavez drilled it from six yards away but Palacios dove to the right to make the save.

UTEP, fueled by drums, chants and cheerleaders, carried the 1-0 lead into the locker room but that quickly changed.

At the onset of the second half Davis used a long throw in to get the ball into dangerous area. Thomas controlled it and sent it over to Barreiro, who tapped home the chance just 51 seconds into the stanza.

The lead ballooned to 3-0 with Thomas taking the role of goal scorer. Barreiro used a sweet touch to get it to Thomas, who beat the GK with a nice touch before nailing home the shot at 67:25.

Just six minutes later, the Orange and Blue was at it again. This time it was Contreras finding Blaettner, who looked like a veteran by rifling an upper 90’s shot to extend the lead to 4-0.

Play started to get a bit chippy, with NM State’s Devin Hart being sent off with the program’s first red card in its history. UTEP capitalized with the one-player advantage by pressuring even more.

There was a hand ball in the box against the Aggies in the 81st minute, and Enokson was tabbed to take the penalty kick. Showing no signs of jitters, she placed the ball perfectly into the upper right corner of the net to cap the scoring for the night.

UTEP will continue its season-opening weekend while also kicking off a stretch with three straight road games by playing at Abilene Christian at 12 p.m. MT Sunday.

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Photos: Andres Acosta – Chief Photographer | El Paso Herald-Post

UTEP Soccer To Kick Off 2016 Season At Home Friday vs NMSU

The UTEP soccer team will kick off its 2016 season at home in the FirstLight Federal Credit Union Battle of I-10 vs. NM State at 7 p.m.Friday.

The contest, which is the first UTEP athletic department event for the 2016-17 year, will feature a pre-game UTEP Soccer Alumni Association tailgate starting at 5:30 p.m. with free food from Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q while supplies last.

“UTEP Soccer is very excited for Friday night and our rivalry game with NM State,” head coach Kevin Cross said. “We have worked very hard for this season and have lots to prove. We have a lot of respect for New Mexico State and its coach, Freddy Delgado. NM State will fight for everything and give us a very tough match as rivalry games always do”

“UTEP Soccer is very thankful for the UTEP Alumni Association and Jackie Reed sponsoring the Alumni Association Tailgate before the game. We also really appreciate the great barbecue courtesy of Rudy’s BBQ and managers, Charlie Juarez and Victor Barajas.”

Scouting NM State

NM State returns nine of 11 starters from last year’s squad (5-15-0, 4-6-0 WAC) while also adding 11 newcomers to the mix. The Aggies tuned up for the season by destroying Cochise College, 9-0, in an exhibition match at home on Aug. 15. Three of the top four point scorers from 2015 are back in the fold for NM State. They are in the form of Aileen Galicia (12 points), Holly Abdelkader (11 points) and Devin Hart (10 points).

Start It Up

The Orange and Blue are 12-2-1 in season openers under Cross and 15-4-1 all time since the program’s inception in 1996. The game is the first of 10 at home for the Miners in 2016. UTEP will be looking to build on its stellar record of 112-26-10 at University Field since 2002.

Series History

UTEP is 5-0-0 against NM State, including a 3-1 road victory last season. The Miners have also previously posted home wins in the series in 2009 (1-0, OT, 8/21), 2011 (2-0, 8/19) and 2014 (5-0, 8/27).  .

The Basic Facts

UTEP is in its 21st season as a program, boasting an all-time record of 226-149-28. The Miners are under the direction of 16th-year head coach Kevin Cross, who sports a mark of 184-101-21 in that timeframe. He is assisted by two former Miners (Heather Clark and Jessie Pettit).

Plenty Of Talent Back

UTEP returns 12 letter winners (Keighton Allen-GK, Alexa Bain-D, Bri Barreiro-MF, Kennadie Chaudhary-MF, Yesenia Contreras-F, Aleah Davis-MF/D, Nicole Lindsay-MF, Jeanna Mullen-F/MF, Alyssa Palacios-GK, Payton Ross-D, Carleigh Simmons-D, and Bri Thomas-F), including nine starters (Bain, Barreiro, Chaudhary, Davis, Lindsay, Palacios, Ross, Simmons and Thomas) from last year’s squad which forged an overall record of 11-7-2.

Senior Leadership

UTEP has strong leaders in place with a seven-member senior class (Allen-GK, Bain-D, Barreiro-MF, Davis-MF/D, Lindsay-MF, Morgan Rasmason-GK and Thomas-F). Bain, Barreiro, Davis, Linsday and Thomas all started last year.

Newcomers Galore

The Miners feature 13 newcomers on the 2016 roster, who provided a strong push for the veterans during the two-week training camp. The class is comprised 10 true freshmen (Emily Blaettner-MF, Dynastee Cain-F, Danielle Carreon-F, Lauren Crenshaw-D, Priscilla Garcia-F, Kori Lewis-D, Kobi McNutt-F, Cayla Payne-D, Natalie Valentine-MF and Aylin Villalobos-MF/F), two junior-college transfers (Devyn Hunley-MF, Sheridan Smith-F) and a former Miner softball player (Morgan Rasmason-GK). The 10 true freshmen are the second-most during the Cross era; the 2013 unit had 12 such players.

Looking Ahead

UTEP will continue its season-opening weekend while also kicking off a stretch with three straight road games by playing at Abilene Christian at 12 p.m. MTSunday.

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UTEP’s Davis Tabbed As C-USA Preseason Co-Defensive Player Of The Year

IRVING, Texas – UTEP senior Aleah Davis has been named as a Conference USA Preseason Co-Defensive Player of the Year, as announced by the league office Tuesday.

Davis shares the honor with Florida Atlantic’s Erica Burt and Rice’s Jasmine Isokpunwu while Charlotte’s Martha Thomas was recognized as the C-USA Preseason Offensive Player of the Year.

The preseason players of the year, in addition to the 2016 Preseason All C-USA team were selected based upon a vote by the league’s 14 head coaches.

“We’re real proud of Aleah for representing UTEP on the preseason list,” head coach Kevin Cross said. “It’ is great recognition and we look forward to Aleah leading us on the field this year.”

The recognition is well deserved for Davis, who has reaped both All-Region (2013, 2014, 2015-third team) and All C-USA (2014, 2015-first team, 2013-third team) honors in her first three years with the Orange and Blue. Davis is a versatile player who plays either in the midfield or on defense.

She is coming off her most productive offensive campaign to date, having scoring five goals to go along with seven assists (tied fourth C-USA/72nd nation) for a total of 18 points. Davis also made an impact on defense with her play in the air, particularly on corner kicks.

Davis and the rest of the Miners open training camp Wednesday. UTEP will kick off its 2016 season at home in the FirstLight Federal Credit Union Battle of I-10 vs. NM State at 7 p.m. on Aug. 19. The contest, which is the first UTEP athletic department event for the 2016-17 year, will feature a pre-game UTEP Soccer Alumni Association tailgate with free food from Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q while supplies last.

2016 PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE USA TEAM

Name School Year Pos. Hometown
Martha Thomas Charlotte Jr. MF Weston, Florida
Erica Burt Florida Atlantic Sr. D Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
Sydney Drinkwater Florida Atlantic Sr. GK Merritt Island, Florida
Kathryn Sloan Louisiana Tech Sr. F Kansas City, Missouri
Sydney Arnold Marshall Sr. MF Stafford, Virginia
Cameron Cox Middle Tennessee Jr. MF Roswell, Georgia
Rachel Holden North Texas Sr. F Lancaster, Texas
Iris Achterhof Old Dominion So. F Groningen, Netherlands
Samantha Chaiken Rice Jr. MF Dallas, Texas
Jenny Fichera Rice Sr. D Ann Arbor, Michigan
Jasmine Isokpunwu Rice Sr. D Austin, Texas
Aleah Davis UTEP Sr. D/MF Hewitt, Texas
Hannah Chua WKU Jr. MF Claremont, California

 2016 C-USA PRESEASON OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Martha Thomas, Charlotte, Jr., MF

2016 C-USA PRESEASON DEFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
Erica Burt, Florida Atlantic, Sr., D
Jasmine Isokpunwu, Rice, Sr., D
Aleah Davis, UTEP, Sr., D/MF

Miners blank Old Dominion 3 to 0

Fueled by goals from Angela Cutaia (20:44, 72:23) and Bri Thomas (3:31) and a total team effort on defense, UTEP cruised past Old Dominion, 3–0, at University field Sunday afternoon.

The Miners (11-6-2, 4-3-2 Conference USA) scored twice in the first half while adding a third tally after the break for good measure, with the Lady Monarchs (7-10, 5-3 Conference USA) never able to sustain play to get back into the match.

Alyssa Palacios was credited with seven saves in the contest, none more important than her athletic stop on a penalty kick by ODU’s Kathryn Hill with 43 seconds to play in the opening frame. That stop allowed the Orange and Blue to head into halftime armed with a commanding 2-0 lead.

Smart positioning and hustle by the defense, which included Nicole Lindsay clearing the ball off the line for an official team save at 57:34 buoyed the play of Palacios. UTEP controlled tempo in the game, with advantages in both shots (25-19) and corner kicks (10-4). Each squad recorded eight shots on goal.

The high-intensity contest featured 19 fouls (13 on UTEP and six on ODU) and five cards. With the win the Miners keep themselves in the hunt for one of the eight coveted spots for the C-USA Championships (Nov. 4-8).

“We’ve been waiting all season long for a game like this when we put it all together,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “The key to success was playing a full 90 minutes.”

UTEP was all business from the onset of the match. At 3:27 of the opening period, junior Bri Barreiro laced a shot that sailed over the outstretched arms of ODU GK Erin Kinz. It clanked off the crossbar and bounced into the area, where Thomas was there to hammer home the loose change. It was Thomas’s fourth goal of the year while Barreiro was awarded an assist on the play.

The Miners continued to pressure following the early goal, securing a corner kick just five minutes later. The service by Carleigh Simmons was sent perfectly into the box, and a mad scramble ensued. Junior Aleah Davis laced a point-blank shot that was blocked. The ball bounced to Cutaia, who drilled the shot that was blocked over the line to set up another Miner corner kick. Simmons played another brilliant ball into the area, but a foul on the Orange and Blue wiped out the chance.

A foul on UTEP from just outside the box afforded the Lady Monarchs a golden opportunity to pull even in the 20th minute. Palacios had other ideas, though, denying the try by ODU’s Grace Haverly. UTEP countered immediately, using some long passes to set up shop deep in Lady Monarch territory. The visitors tried to clear the ball away but instead ended up dragging down Cutaia in the box, to set up a Miner penalty kick. The senior calmly stood over the ball and blasted home the shot past Kinz.

The Miners continued to control possession as the half wore on, but a foul in the box with just 43 seconds left in the half gave ODU a penalty kick. Hill struck the ball toward the lower left corner of the frame but Palacios reacted with cat-like reflexes to rob her.

ODU had another outstanding chance 12 minutes into the second half, but the team defense by the Miners proved to be too much. Madison Hogan’s shot looked like it was going to best Palacios, but Linsday’s outstanding positioning allowed her to clear the ball off the line.

UTEP put the game away for good thanks to Cutaia. Off a free kick, she skillfully curved the ball over the wall. Kinz dove but she had no chance as it deflected off her hand and ended up in the back of the net.

The Miners will wrap up the regular season when they play host to Middle Tennessee on “Senior Night” at 7 p.m. MT Friday. As a sign of appreciation to the support all year by the Orange and Blue faithful, there will be free admission to the match.

Author: UTEP Athletics

Miners blank Roadrunners in Alamo City 1 to 0

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Junior Bri Barreiro scored her third goal of the year, off a brilliant feed from Angela Cutaia, and the defense did the rest in a 1-0 road vanquishing of UTSA Friday evening. The Miners (9-4-2, 2-1-2 Conference USA) extend their unbeaten streak to three (1-0-2) while also remaining perfect all time (4-0-1) against the Roadrunners (1-11-1, 1-4-0 Conference USA).

Freshman GK Alyssa Palacios continued her stellar play by making seven saves for the clean sheet, including five stops in the second frame. She now has five shutouts on the year, which ties as the fourth most in a single season in program history. UTSA held a slight edge in shots (12-10) and shots on goal (7-4) but the efforts by Palacios and the rest of the Miners made those factors moot.

It was a physical contest, with 19 fouls against the Miners and 15 going against the homestanding Roadrunners. UTEP was issued three yellow cards and a red card, forcing it to play the final two minutes and 24 seconds of the contest short-handed. UTSA, meanwhile, was tagged with a pair of yellow cards.

The victory moved the Orange and Blue to 5-2-0 on the road, including 2-1-0 in league play.

“This was a very hard-fought win tonight,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “It was one of the most physical games we have played in, as rivalry games usually are. We had to give everything we had to win tonight against a highly-motivated UTSA squad.”

UTEP asserted itself well early on, creating a look for Cutaia. She laced a shot but it whistled high just 44 seconds into the contest. The Miners continued to methodically probe the UTSA defense as the half continued. Jeanna Mullen did well to find space in the box to work with but her shot was blocked at 11:49. A promising chance on a corner kick in the 21st minute was wiped away as result of a foul against the Orange and Blue.

The pressure overwhelmed UTSA less than two minutes later. Cutaia streaked up the left wing and lofted a ball into the box to a cutting Barreiro. The junior, who had timed the run perfectly, hammered the header home past the helpless UTSA GK.

The Roadrunners finally got their offense on track late in the stanza, thanks mainly to Sam Batley. Palacios was up to the task, though, turning away a shot at 38:23 and 44:09. The second stop was particularly strong, as she pushed it wide with a dive to force a corner kick. The Miners’ stop troops defended it well.

It was a desperate UTSA squad that took to the pitch in the second stanza. The Roadrunners sent players forward in waves, but they could not find a way to breach the wall in the form of Palacios. She came up with a quintet of stops in the frame, including a couple of point-blank tries.

UTEP will look to continue its winning ways when it plays at Louisiana Tech at 6 p.m. MT on Oct. 16. The Miners will then wrap up the road portion of their C-USA slate against Southern Miss at 12 p.m. on Oct. 18.

Author: UTEP Athletics

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