UTEP scored a season-high three goals in a resounding 3-1 win against FIU in the Conference USA opener for both squads at University Field Sunday.
“I’m really proud of how the girls started and then how they responded to the PK,”UTEP head coach Kathryn Balogun said. “There’s definitely some things we need to work at and continue to get better at but overall big picture we did well to finish strong at home. We found some grit at the end to get it and grind it out.”
Danielle Carreon (23′), Lauren Crenshaw (71′) and Jackie Miller (83′) provided the tallies for the Miners (6-2-2, 1-0 C-USA), who posted their fourth consecutive victory in El Paso. Adriana Lopez, Jojo Ngongo (two) and Jackie Soto all were credited with assists.
Yolanda Albalat (76′) put away a penalty kick to account for the only goal of the game for the Panthers (2-6, 0-1 C-USA).
Emily Parrott registered four saves in a solid day in net for the Miners.
UTEP secured a corner kick four minutes into the contest. It played it short to Soto, who crossed it into Kori Lewis. She one-timed a shot that whistled just over the frame. Cayla Payne put Christina Velazquez on alert in the 11th minute, but the shot was handled.
FIU’s Albalat had a good look in the 13th minute, but her shot deflected off the crossbar and was cleared.
UTEP got on the board in the 23rd minute when Ngongo and Lopez strung together passes to set up Carreon perfectly to beat the offside trap. She took one dribble and then buried the shot into the lower, right corner to put the Miners up, 1-0.
Crenshaw let one go from distance that was tracked and saved by Velazquez in the 35th minute.
Adrianna Jimmerson took a shot from the near post but she couldn’t sneak it past Velazquez in the 43rd minute.
A giveaway afforded Carreon a golden opportunity in the 52nd minute, but this time her shot was wide. Crenshaw elevated for a header went wide in the 60th minute. Carreon then forced a save in the 62nd minute.
Parrott preserved the Miners’ lead with a diving save to deny Ellen Halseth in the 66th minute. Two minutes later she showed off good hands by cleanly catching a hard, bouncing shot from distance.
UTEP was back on the offensive in the 71st minute, securing a penalty kick after a player was dragged down from behind in the box. Crenshaw stood over the ball and hammered it into the back of the net for her team-leading fourth goal of the year.
Four minutes later a handball in the box against UTEP led to Albalat’s goal on the PK. UTEP took the blow in stride, reinstating a two-goal cushion in the 84th minute. The Miners connected on back-to-back passes between Ngongo and Soto before finding Miller. She rifled the shot home into the back of the net for a much-needed insurance strike.
UTEP will play at Marshall at 5 p.m. MT on Thursday in the first of three straight road matches. The Miners will also lock up at UAB (6 p.m. MT, Oct. 3) and at Middle Tennessee (12 p.m. MT, Oct. 6) before having four of their final six league tilts at University Field.
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.