EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Behind goals from Nicole Pugsley (31’) and Tessa Carlin (46’) and smothering defense, UTEP rolled past LA Tech, 2-0, at University Field Thursday evening.
The Miners (8-4-3, 3-2-1 C-USA) dominated the contest against the nation’s second-leading offense, outshooting the Lady Techsters (11-3-2, 3-3-1 C-USA) by a margin of 28-6. That included a 9-1 advantage for shots on goal.
Vanessa Cabello, Lauren Crenshaw and Pugsley all registered assists for the Orange and Blue.
“I’m super happy for the girls,” UTEP head coach Kathryn Balogun said. “LA Tech gave a different look than we’ve had in the past, and the girls handled it really well. We’ll continue to get better. We had 28 shots, nine on goal, and only finished two so we have got to get better there.”
Emily Parrott was credited with her fifth shutout of the season after making one save while Carlotta Cartelli registered seven stops for LA Tech.
UTEP pressured initially, with a Jojo Ngongo shot (3’) creeping just wide of the frame. She then had another attempt (5’) that went wide right. Carlin’s opportunity (9’) was blocked and Cartelli tracked down the bouncing ball. Lauren Crenshaw tried a long-distance look (17’) that was handled by Cartelli for the first save in the game. Two minutes later it was a cross from Carlin that was headed (19’) wide by Ngongo.
Crenshaw lifted one over the defense that was gobbled up by Cartelli in the 21st minute. UTEP had a wild possession in the 30th minute, recording three shots in a span of 30 seconds. One by Pugsley clanked off the post while two others were blocked.
The Miners’ persistent pressure paid dividends just a minute later, off another corner kick. Cabello served it into the box where Pugsley used her 5-11 frame to elevate and hammer it home with a header.
UTEP nearly made it 2-0 when a rocket (40’) from Moe Sais clanked off the crossbar. The shot (40’) by Kam Fisher on the rebound was denied by Cartelli.
The Miners found that all-too important second goal of the game two minutes into the second half. Pugsley set up Crenshaw, who forced a diving save by Cartelli. Carlin was there to bury the rebound for her second goal of the campaign.
Carlin almost got another one in the 55th minute, with Cartelli looking like a hockey goaltender by making a kick save. Cartelli came up with a diving save to deny Jackie Miller in the 65th minute.
The Lady Techsters had their best opportunity of the contest in the 67th minute with a free kick from just outside the box. The wall did its job, though, blocking the shot before it could reach Parrott.
The freshman delivered a leaping save to rob Jaelyn Peeples in the 74th minute. That was as close as the Lady Techsters would get, with UTEP controlling play down the stretch to close out the contest in style.
The Orange and Blue will look to make it a perfect weekend at home when they play host to Southern Miss at 12 p.m. MT Sunday.