UTEP soccer scores late in 1-0 victory over Texas State
El Paso, TX — Redshirt-freshman Aleah Davis scored on a breakaway (86:15) with less than four minutes remaining in regulation to lift UTEP to a 1-0 win at Texas State Sunday afternoon.
The Miners (5-2-1) piled up 13 shots to the Bobcats’ (3-4-1) three while also taking all six corner kicks in the game. Despite the statistical dominance, the match was scoreless late in the second half. UTEP remained committed to its game plan, though, and it paid off in the form of Davis’ match winner.
Senior Jade Babcock was instrumental in the sequence, skillfully splitting the defense with a thru ball to send Davis in alone on TSU netminder Natlie Gardini. Gardini, who made four saves in the match, had no chance on this sequence. The talented midfielder finished the opportunity for her second strike of the season.
At the other end of the pitch, sophomore GK Sarah Dilling was flawless despite a lack of threats. She recorded a pair of saves, both in the second half, to register the clean sheet.
UTEP is off to a 2-0-0 start on the road for the first time since 2010. Both of the wins were of the shutout variety, which had not happened since 2007.
“I am so proud of the team,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “We grew a lot this weekend. Road wins are very tough to get, and two shutout wins versus quality sides was incredible. We showed a lot of character, and took a big step forward.”
The Orange and Blue set the tone early on, with an ambitious ball ahead but it was wiped away by an offside call at 2:21. Davis produced the first shot of the game, but it was wide at 7:44. Senior Azia Nicholson used a header to test Gardini three minutes later, but the homestanding netminder was up to the task. Davis directed a shot on target four minutes later only to have Gardini grab it.
UTEP continued to control play as the half wore on, but the match remained scoreless heading into the break.
Dilling was called upon for the first time of the tilt at 47:55, denying Sydney Curry. Dilling’s only other save in the contest came on a try by Gabbi Cottee at 73:01.
Good work near the end line resulted in one of UTEP’s six corners in the game at 65:44. Freshman Brianna Barreiro served it into the mixer where Mackenzie German awaited, but once against Gardini was game.
UTEP’s persistence paid off in the latter stages of the stanza, with Davis providing her first career match-winning goal.
The Orange and Blue didn’t let the Bobcats manage a shot after the strike, closing out the contest in style.
UTEP will look to stay hot on the road with upcoming match-ups at Northern Arizona (7 p.m. MT Friday) and Southern Utah (1 p.m. MT, Sept. 22).