Freshman GK Luisa Palmen produced a career-high tying 10 saves and Kristen Prevosto (89’) scored on assists from Vanessa Cabello and Taya Lopez, but the UTEP soccer team (4-12, 1-7 C-USA) fell, 2-1, in double-overtime at UAB (6-8-3, 4-3-1 C-USA) in its season finale Thursday evening.
Asha Zuniga (73’) and Lizzie Hill (101’) provided the goals for the home side, with Hill’s serving as the match winner less than a minute into the second OT period.
It marked Prevosto’s first goal in two seasons with the Orange and Blue, with it coming at the perfect time. She buried a chance on a scramble in the box off a set piece to pull the Miners even at 1-1 with 90 seconds remaining in regulation. The two sides then played scoreless through the first 10-minute golden goal OT period before UAB scored 56 seconds into the second OT stanza.
The Miners accounted for six total shots, including three on target. Blazer netminder Eve Beyer was credited with two saves in the match.
The home side pressured early, earning a pair of corners and taking two shots over the first 10 minutes. Palmen was called upon twice, making a pair of saves. She turned away a try on a shot dead on target from Laura Zemberyova in the ninth minute before coming up with a save on a bouncing shot by Stella Kiss in the 11th minute.
Palmen snagged a shot out of the air with lightning-quick reflexes to make the clean save on Carlyn Presley in the 20th minute. The Miner defense then stepped up, staving off two corner kicks in two minutes in the 26th and 28th minutes. Palmen was back at in the 42nd minute, leaping to snag the shot from Lexxe Lipsey.
Palmen recorded a stop on a try from Kiss in the early stages of the second half. She then corralled Lipsey on a shot straight on in the 60th minute.
The Blazers finally broke through on a corner kick in the 73rd minute. The ball was lofted into the area where Zuniga headed home the service from Jessica Wheeler. Wheeler was in search of UAB’s second tally just two minutes later, but this time Palmen won the encounter.
UTEP then went hunting for the equalize in the 78th minute. Prevosto fired a shot that forced Beyer to make a diving save to the right. The ball went over the line for a corner, but UTEP couldn’t take advantage. Six minutes later Prevosto looked poise to even the match, only to have her shot deflect off the woodwork in a frustrating sequence.
It didn’t matter, as Prevosto and the Miners refused to be denied. Off a set piece the ball was played into the area where Prevosto worked wonders to get the shot past a diving Beyer, pulling the Orange and Blue even.
UAB had some intense pressure five minutes into the first overtime period where Palmen made two saves in a span of two minutes. The first one was particularly brilliant, punching a rocket of a shot by Lipsey up and over the bar. UTEP then went on the offensive where Ashely Padilla was stopped by Beyer.
The Blazers turned up the heat early in the second OT period, culminating with the match winner.
UTEP will now look toward the future, applying the lessons learned this year with hopes of putting it all together in 2022.