HUNTINGTON, WV (KTSM) – UTEP got two goals in a span of less than a minute early in the second half to help fuel a come-from-behind 3-2 victory at Marshall Thursday evening.
The Miners (7-2-2, 2-0 C-USA) overcame deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 to secure their first win against the Thundering Herd (2-8, 0-2 C-USA) in Huntington, W. Va., in 11 years. Lauren Crenshaw (16’), an own goal (46’) and Jojo Ngongo (47’) provided enough firepower for UTEP to withstand Marshall goals by Marah Abu-Tayeh (8’) Julia Schukle (22’).
UTEP trailed at the half, 2-1, before pulling even 46 ticks into the second stanza on the own goal. Before MU could recover, Nicole Pugsley set up Ngongo’s eventual game-winning goal.
Freshman GK Emily Parrott registered a career-high tying five saves to help UTEP extend its winning streak to three. Furthermore the Orange and Blue are off to a 2-0 start in C-USA play for the first time since 2011.
“That’s two games in a row we’ve found the back of the net three times, and we needed all of them for tonight’s win,” UTEP head coach Kathryn Balogun said. “The staff continues to be pleased with our team’s response, but as we get further into conference we can’t count on teams allowing us to bounce back. We will get back to El Paso and put in work this weekend to prepare for another tough road weekend.”
UTEP pressured early on, with Chardonnae Harvey firing a shot that forced Marshall GK Lindsay Langley to make a kick save in the third minute. Two minutes later the Miners earned a corner kick but they couldn’t capitalize.
Marshall went on the offensive in the eighth minute. Rene Ross sent a perfect ball to the six-yard line where Abu-Tayeh finished the sequence.
In the 11th minute the Miners’ defense did well to block a point-blank chance by Metztli Gonzalez. UTEP launched a counter attack where Harvey was turned away by Langley. The Orange and Blue continued to attack, with Ngongo getting taken out in the box to set up a penalty kick in the 16th minute. Crenshaw buried it into the lower, right corner for a clinical finish to tie the tilt at one.
The Thundering Herd regained the lead as Parrott punched away a shot toward the upper portion of the frame. Schukle tapped home the rebound before UTEP could clear in the 22nd minute.
UTEP had a chance to square the contest in the 27th minute but Tessa Carlin’s low, hard shot was denied on a diving save by Langley.
Parrott did well to come up with a save off a shot in the box by Gonzalez in the 37th minute. The Miners unleashed a counter attack only to have Adriana Lopez’s shot be pushed wide of the frame by Langley.
The Orange and Blue got the start they needed in the second half, with pressure in the box resulting in an own goal to tie the contest in the 46th minute. Less than a minute later the Miners pulled ahead, with Ngongo perfectly placing a shot into the lower left corner to give them the 3-2 advantage.
Ngongo looked to have her second goal of the half in the 55th minute but the play was nullified on an offside call. Moe Sais had another close call in the 63rd minute when her shot was blocked over the end line for a corner kick. Pugsley’s header was saved by Langley in the 71st minute.
Marshall secured a corner kick in the 77th minute, but the Orange and Blue defended it well. A long-distance try from Abu-Tayeh was well off the mark. UTEP closed the game with poise, not allowing a shot from that point on.
The Miners will return to action when they lock up at UAB on Oct. 3.