HUNTINGTON, W. Va. – The UTEP soccer team was upended at Marshall, 1-0, Thursday evening. The Thundering Herd (5-7-4, 3-4-2 Conference USA) jumped out to a 1-0 lead two minutes in after Ashley Seltzer’s goal and somehow made it stand up.
The Miners (11-5-2, 4-4-0 Conference USA) regrouped and played hard after giving up the early tally, but couldn’t crack MU netminder Megan Bonelli. She was credited with five saves in the match while sophomore Miner GK Alyssa Palacios turned away four shots. All of Palacios’s saves came over the final 45 minutes of the contest to keep her squad within striking distance but the rally did not come to fruition.
“Soccer can be cruel at times,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “We had quite a few near chances that didn’t go in today. This is a very tough and long trip. We are excited to close out our season with two home games.”
Marshall got on the board early thanks to sensational individual effort by Seltzer. She picked up a loose ball around midfield and dribbled all the way down before besting Palacios with a shot that bounced off the post and in.
The Miners settled down after conceding the early tally, with Kennadie Chaudhary blasting a shot (5’) that forced a tough save by Bonelli. On the ensuing corner kick (6’) Nicole Lindsay sent it into the box but Marshall cleared it way.
Lindsay set up Aleah Davis for a shot (’15) after another corner kick but it sailed high. Lindsay then showed good hustle to win a 50/50 ball in space. She unleashed a blast (21’) but the Marshall defense blocked it away.
In the 25th minute the ball was sent into the area. Bri Thomas eventually settled it and used a quick blast but Bonelli somehow fought it off. Marshall then eventually cleared the ball away in a wild scramble. UTEP kept the pressure on as the period wore on, taking a pair of long-distance shots with nine minutes left. Bonelli was up to the task, though, calmly collecting the tries from Chaudhary and Lauren Crenshaw.
Palacios did her part to keep the Orange and Blue within striking distance by making four saves over the first 16 minutes of the second stanza. The sophomore GK turned away Jordan Sakaris’s shot (52’) before stoning Sydney Arnold’s try (56’). Metz Gonzalez skipped in a shot (60’ that was scooped up from Palacios while Sackaris’s point-blank rocket (62’) was cleanly collected.
The Miners then looked to get their offense in gear, with Danielle Carreon generating a shot (68’) almost instantly upon checking into the game. The try was off the mark. Marshall sent it away after the goal kick but UTEP quickly went back on the attack. Bri Thomas lasered a shot that Bonelli, who had cut down the angle, managed to keep out of the net. Chaudhary pounced on the rebound but she sailed it over the frame.
With 10 minutes to play in the stanza Davis used a good touch to get some space to work with. She used a sneaky touch to chip a shot toward Bonelli but it trickled wide.
UTEP will refocus and return to action at home against Florida Atlantic at 12 p.m. MDT Sunday. All fans who wear orange will get in free to the contest.