El Paso, TX — Tori Martyn (21:30) and Lauren Katada (30:58) scored first-half goals, and UTEP played with a purpose on the way to a 2-0 conquest of visiting UTSA on “Senior Night” at University Field Friday evening.
The Miners (11-4-3, 4-2-2 C-USA) outshot the Roadrunners (4-11-2, 3-3-2 C-USA) 16-11 while dictating tempo to secure the crucial C-USA victory. UTEP now stands in third place of the C-USA West Division as it heads into the showdown against division & overall league leader Colorado College at 12 p.m. MT Sunday.
Redshirt-freshman Keighton Allen, playing in place of the injured Sarah Dilling, turned away all four shots to register a clean sheet in her first career start.
UTEP did well to possess early, earning a corner kick in the fifth minute. Brianna Barreiro played a ball that found Jade Babcock, but her shot went wide.
The Roadrunners created their first chance of the contest at 11:22 with a shot by Kaytee O’Brien. Allen was up to the task, though, calmly collecting the chance. Barreiro then pressured the visitors, but she fired high at 14:45 and had a try blocked away by the defense at 18:59.
UTEP’s efforts paid off in the 21st minute, with a poor clearing attempt by the roadrunners resulting in a rolling ball to Martyn. She settled it and then rifled a low, hard shot that bested Roadrunners’ netminder Bubba Makela at 21:30.
A little more than nine minutes later, it was Katada’s turn to shine. She showed off her skills with some fancy dribbling in the box, outworking a couple of UTSA defenders to create open space. As she was prepared to rifle a shot, a Roadrunner defender tripped her from behind and the officially was quick to award to penalty kick.
Katada calmly stood over the ball before drilling it past a helpless Makela for her first goal of the 2013 season.
Even though it was armed with the 2-0 lead, UTEP continued to be aggressive as the half wore on. Taylor Kidd drilled a shot that was wide at 38:03 while less than a minute later a try by Azia Nicholson raced over the cross bar.
It was a similar story early in the second stanza, with the Orange and Blue securing a pair of corner kicks in the first eight minutes. UTSA did well to clear away the services, but UTEP quickly regained possession.
Azia Nicholson drilled a shot that was wide at 60:24 while two minutes later she whipped a shot that was high. The Roadrunners then went back on the offensive, giving Allen a chance to shine. She gobbled up the shot by Anissa Munson at 67:30.
Nicholson was then denied by Makela at 68:52, and a good outlet by the keeper led to its best opportunity in the game. A good service set up O’Brien with a header, but it clanked off the crossbard.
UTEP put things on cruise control down the stretch, with the only other opportunity being turned away by Allen. Happy Amadu-Orere created it, where Allen was ready.
The Miners will wrap up their home portion of the 2013 campaign when they play host to Colorado College at 12 p.m. MT Sunday. Rudy’s will provide a tailgate with free food before the game on Sunday. Fans can also receive free admission to that contest by wearing pink as part of UTEP’s effort to raise awareness in the battle against breast cancer.