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.