LAROMIE, Wy.- Cayla Payne (35’) scored her first collegiate goal and the UTEP soccer team battled but it couldn’t overcome a sluggish start in an eventual 3-1 loss at Wyoming Friday afternoon.
The homestanding Cowgirls (2-2) received three early goals from Summer Halle (12’) and Brittney Stark (15’, 26’) to grab a 3-0 lead 26 minutes in and the Miners (0-5) could never fully recover.
Shots were 13-10, including 7-3 for shots on goal, in favor of Wyoming while corners were, 4-4. Junior GK Alyssa Palacios recorded four saves in the match.
“We were disappointed in our first half effort,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “We will respond on Sunday. We have nine players injured, which makes it tough. We will work harder and get will in time.”
Vic Bohdan got the Miners off to a good start by peppering Wyoming GK Georgia Rowntree with a shot that forced her to make a save in just the fifth minute of the match.
The home side’s first opportunity of the match came in the 12th minute off a corner kick, and it capitalized. The ball was played into the box where it was batted around before Halle finished the sequence. Less than three minutes later Stark was able to best Palacios to put UTEP in a 2-0 hole.
In the 16th minute the Miners raced up the pitch in an attempt to cut into the deficit but Bohdan’s blast whistled wide.
Stark was back at work for Wyoming in the 27th minute, putting away her second chance of the match to make it 3-0 in favor of the home side. Off the kickoff the ball got worked ahead to Danielle Carreon but her shot attempt went wide of the frame.
UTEP generated some sustained pressure in the 33rd minute with a shot from Kennadie Chaudhary being blocked over the line for a corner kick. The Miners couldn’t convert on the chance, but just two minutes later they did just that with Payne hammering home the opportunity off a corner kick.
Rowentree (37’) and Palacios (38’) each came up with saves in a back-and-forth minute of action following the UTEP goal before play settled back down the remainder of the stanza.
Alisha Bass started the attack for the home side in the second half but Palacios was up to task for a brilliant save that forced a corner kick. UTEP defended the sequence nicely, keeping a tight watch on Taylor Burton. Her headed attempt was then errant.
The Miners went on the offensive for the first time of the second half with Jeanna Mullen doing the honors. Her shot, though, was wide.
In the 63rd minute UTEP earned a corner kick but a foul on the Orange and Blue negated any scoring chance. Eight minutes later another corner kick for the Miners gave Lauren Crenshaw a look but she fired the shot high.
Palacios was called upon again in the 79th minute, denying Bass.
Anna Jimmerson made a good move to get some space to work with but she rifled the shot high in the 83rd minute. A minute later it was Crenshaw with the chance, but this one too went high.
The Miners will look to bounce back when they play at Idaho State at 1 p.m. MT Sunday.