UTEP played hard and with passion but visiting UAB received a goal from Rachel Green (70’) to topple the Miners, 1-0, at a packed University Field Friday evening.
The Miners (5-6, 1-1 C-USA) recorded nine shots on goal but Blazer (7-2-1, 1-0-0) GK Kelsey Daugherty came up with some big saves to keep the clean sheet. Alyssa Palacios was credited with six saves, including four in the first frame.
“I thought we played good enough to win today,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “The second half we had it in their end most of the time. We had some really prime opportunities to score, but the ball just didn’t go into the goal unfortunately. We had one mental breakdown on the corner kick when we left the short corner open and she buried it and that was the difference in the game unfortunately. It hurts. Soccer can be cruel.”
There was great work by the Miners to earn a corner kick in the first minute of the match but the shot from Hannah Burbank was errant.
Palacios was called upon for the first time in the 10th minute, cleanly handling a long-distance shot from Green. UTEP then launched a counter attack with Vic Bohdan using a spin-around-shot but it was saved by Daugherty.
In the 15th minute there was a second corner kick for the Miners. The ball was headed in the area and it came to Jackie Soto who headed it toward the upper portion of the net but Daugherty skied for the save.
There was an outstanding rip by Kennadie Chaudhary in the 25th minute but a brilliant save from Daugherty, who punched it high and then pounced on the rebound.
Palacios faced a busy couple of minutes with about 15 minutes to play in the first half but she was ready for it. She registered a save on a shot from Amy Brewer before then denying Megan Hudgens.
Cayla Payne redirected a shot with a sneaky header in the 41st minute only to have Daugherty there for the save.
After UAB controlled possession early in the second half the Miners started to find their stride. Bohdan used a sneaky touch to set up Carleigh Simmons, who rifled it toward to upper right part of the goal. Daugherty timed her jump perfectly for the save to set up the corner kick. Lauren Crenshaw had a look off the service but it was blocked.
In the 60th minute Jeanna Mullen used her head but it was another brilliant save. Bohdan made a sweet run in the 64th minute and was able to turn the corner but she fired it directly at Daugherty.
In the 70th minute UAB created its first chance of the second half off a corner kick. Amy Brewer fed the ball to Green who roofed the shot over the outstretched arms of Palacios.
Bohdan made a nice run in the 82nd minute only to have her shot be denied by Daugherty. Four minutes later there was a wicked shot by Crenshaw but Daugherty dove and made the save.
UTEP will continue its three-game homestand with a pair of games next weekend. The Miners will play host to Charlotte at 7 p.m. on Sept. 29 before welcoming ODU to town for a 6 p.m. contest on Oct. 1. It will be “Rock and Roll Black Out Night” vs. Charlotte with all vans wearing black getting in free. “Military Appreciation Day” is set for ODU with all military members who show ID at the gate getting in free.