CHARLOTTE, N.C.- The UTEP soccer team battled but homestanding Charlotte got a late goal by Jamie Fankhauser (79′) in a 1-0 defeat Thursday evening.
“I’m super proud of our team’s effort tonight from all 21 players,” UTEP head coach Kathryn Balogun said. “Charlotte is the best team we’ve faced. They deserve to be at the top of C-USA, and we were right with them to the end with multiple opportunities to get our own goals.”
The Miners (8-6-3, 3-4-1) went toe-to-toe with the co league-leading 49ers (12-3, 7-1 C-USA) before the tally by Fankhauser broke the deadlock in the 79th minute.
Freshman GK Emily Parrott recorded a pair of second-half saves for UTEP.
Charlotte had a golden opportunity three minutes in with Julia Grainda getting in behind the defense, but she fired the shot wide. The Miners generated their first offensive opportunity of the contest by earning a corner kick in the sixth minute.
The home side was able to generate a couple more shots as the half hit the halfway point, but thanks to good marking by UTEP none of them were on target.
The Miners nearly got on the board in the 31st minute when a perfectly-timed run by Kam Fisher allowed her to beat the offside trap. She lasered a low, hard shot but Charlotte GK Abby Stapleton made the save. Two minutes later Emerson Kidd fired a shot off a set piece just high over the frame. In the 42nd minute it was Tessa Carlin with the chance, but it was off the mark.
Parrott was called upon for the first time in the 56th minute, gobbling up a shot by Fankhauser. UTEP then went on the offensive, securing a corner kick but it couldn’t get anything on net.
Jojo Ngongo got sprung free on a breakaway in the 64th minute, but she took one touch too many and was unable to get the shot off before it was snagged by Stapleton. It was Parrott’s turn to shine in the 67th minute, as she robbed Megan Greene with a diving save on a point-blank shot.
The 49ers broke the scoreless tie with a bicycle kick in the box form Fankhauser that managed to best Parrott. UTEP tried to rally but an offside call wiped out a chance in the 83rd minute.
The Miners will look to get back on track when they play at Old Dominion at 10 a.m. MT/12 p.m. ET Sunday.
For complete coverage of UTEP soccer, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPSoccer (Twitter), @UTEPMinersSoccer (Instagram) and on Facebook or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics at UTEPMiners.com.