Nicole Pugsley | Photo courtesy UTEP Athletics
Sophomores Nicole Pugsley (22′) and Ayana Noel (51′) each scored their first career goal, and the defense did the rest in UTEP’s 2-0 win against Southern Utah Sunday afternoon.
“I’m super excited about the shutout,” UTEP head coach Kathryn Balogun said. “We also got two good goals and finished out another one for the weekend. It was a really good home weekend for us. We had some really good in the run of play goals.”
The Miners (3-1-2) outshot the Thunderbirds (0-5-0), 16-5, including 9-0 in shots on target.
It marked the first time since a season-opening win in 2009 against NM State that UTEP didn’t allow a shot on goal.
The effort extends UTEP’s unbeaten streak to four (3-0-1), including two wins in three days at home this weekend. The Orange and Blue have outscored the opposition, 6-2, during the surge. Tessa Carlin was credited with her team-leading fourth assist of the year while Emily Parrott recorded her second shutout of the season.
UTEP created the first opportunity of the contest when Jojo Ngongo tried a shot from the near post that was gobbled up Southern Utah’s GK Brianna Aldridge.
Emerson Kidd took a shot that was blocked over the line to give the Miners a corner kick in the 21st minute. She then served it into the box where a Southern Utah clearing attempt failed. Pugsley blasted a bouncing ball that Aldridge got her hands on, but it had enough force to end up in the back of the net.
The Miners had a golden opportunity to extend the lead when Lauren Crenshaw got sprung on the right wing. She laced a shot that clanked off the crossbar and then was cleared away in the 31st minute. Four minutes later Jackie Soto forced Aldridge to punch a shot over the bar with a leaping effort. UTEP couldn’t convert on the ensuing corner kick.
UTEP pressured at the onset of the second half, with Carlin firing a shot just over the frame. Crenshaw’s attempt was saved by Aldridge in the 51st minute. The Miners quickly repossessed and made it 2-0 when Noel used a sliding shot to bury a cross from Carlin.
Carlin was in search of her own goal in the 61st minute, but she pushed the shot just wide. Kam Fisher showed good touch with a thru ball toward a streaking Ngongo. Aldridge cut down the angle to make the point-blank save in the 78th minute.
Southern Utah registered a trio of shots down the stretch, but couldn’t get one target with UTEP’s pressure causing it fits.
The Miners will look to keep things going when they play at I-10 rival NM State at 4 p.m. MT Thursday.
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