Brittany Kindzierski and Lauren Katada scored twice, while Tess Hall and Katie Dorman also found the back of the net to help lead the UTEP soccer team past Houston, 6-3, at a wind-whipped University Field Friday evening.
Hall added a pair of assists, with Dorman and Tori Martyn contributing helpers, as well, to provide a well-rounded attack for the Miners (10-3-1, 4-1-0 C-USA). Kayla Walker, Jessica Zavalza and Alexis Weaver scored for the Cougars (4-9-0, 1-4-0 C-USA), with all three of their strikes coming with less than 20 minutes to play and the Orange and Blue well in control.
The triumph keeps the Miners unbeaten in El Paso in 2011 (8-0-0) while also locking up the ninth straight season under the direction of head coach Kevin Cross of at least 10 victories.
UTEP, which led 4-0 at the break and 6-0 midway through the second half, out-shot UH 19-15 and took five corners to four by the visitors. Freshman netminder Sarad Dilling registered seven saves en route to picking up her 10th win of the year.
The Miners asserted themselves early, earning a corner kick at 5:55. Hall sliced a high, lofting ball through the wind to the far post. Nicholson deftly headed the back to the near post, where a wide-open Kindzierski one-timed home the shot with a left foot to afford the home side a 1-0 edge at 6:09.
The Miners continued to pressure after the strike, in search of a second tally. Dorman played a cross into the area for Martyn who ripped a shot only to have it miss inches wide at 18:40.
The close call seemed irrelevant a few minutes later, with the Orange and Blue blitzing UH for a pair of goals in a span of 1:23. Hal curved a ball into area, and with the strong wind, it ended up in the back of the net for a Beckham-like tally, to put the Miners up 2-0. Before the Cougars regrouped, the Orange and Blue struck again.
Once again it was Hall initiating the sequence. She won a ball in space, drew the defense in before playing a beautiful through ball to send Dorman streaking in alone. The senior took one dribble and blistered it into the back of the net.
UH settled down slightly after the tally, but it was short lived. The Orange and Blue used good ball movement , giving Dorman ample space to work with at the top of the area. She faked a shot and then played it to Kindzierski, who finished it to cap the three-goal sequence spanning 10 minutes and three seconds.
The final tally of the stretch put UTEP up 4-0, and it would carry that advantage into halftime.
UTEP continued the offensive onslaught in the opening stages of the second stanza, with a ball from Martyn finding the foot of Katada. She rifled a shot past a helpless George Sydney, making it 5-0 in favor of the Orange and Blue at 49:57.
The Miners made it 6-0 16 minutes later, with a long ball into space finding the foot of Katada. The freshman would do the rest, dazzling her way past Cougar players to work deep into their territory. She then rocketed home a shot.
UH prevented the shutout with a feed from Stephanie Derieg to Walker off a corner, which ended up being deflected in past Dilling at 71:15.. With the weather worsening with each minute, the Miners were content to simply possess the best they could down the stretch.
The Cougars, meanwhile, were sending players forward in waves, and came up with two goals in the waning minutes to make the result more aesthetically pleasing. UH’s Zavalza contributed her team-high seventh tally of the year at 84:36 with a point-blank shot while Weaver one-timed home a shot off a free-kick at 87:18.
It was far too little, too late, though, with UTEP claiming the 6-3 victory.