EL PASO, Texas- Behind second-half goals from Tessa Carlin (52’) and Jackie Soto (58’), the UTEP soccer team raced past NAIA program the University of the Southwest, 2-0, at University Field Tuesday evening.
Carlin, Lauren Crenshaw, Ayana Noel and Soto all were credited with assists for the Miners (5-2-2), who improved to 3-1-1 at home. Andrea Martinez registered 11 saves for the Mustangs (3-4). USW also had two team saves.
The Miners had significant advantages in shots (25-11), shots on goal (15-2) and corner kicks (7-1). Emily Parrott made a pair of first-half saves to record her third shutout of the season.
“We came out really strong defensively in the second half,” UTEP head coach Kathryn Balogun said. “We didn’t even let them out of their half the first 15 minutes, and we found two goals. Hard work defensively leads to offensive opportunities, and if there’s one thing to take from tonight that would be it.”
Parrott corralled Priscilla Garcia’s long-distance blast in the 20th minute. UTEP went on the offensive four minutes later, with a thru ball sending Carlin in past the offside trap. She raced in alone only to have her shot deflect off the post. In the scramble the Orange and Blue earned a corner, and then another. Emerson Kidd’s header off the corner service sailed wide in the 26th minute.
Kam Fisher had a partial breakaway but the defense tracked her down to set up a corner in the 38th minute. Nicole Pugsley’s header bested Martinez but was cleared off the line for a team save. The loose change came back to her and this time her shot was denied by Martinez.
Jojo Ngongo vied to put the Miners on the board in the final minute of the opening frame but Martinez took the ball off her foot in a one vs. one situation.
The Orange and Blue pressured at the onset of the second stanza, with Lauren Crenshaw firing a shot that required Martinez to make a leaping save. UTEP had another chance in the 49th minute but Kidd’s try from a free kick was turned away.
UTEP broke through in the 52nd minute. Soto played the ball to Crenshaw, who crossed it to Carlin. She one-timed home the shot past Martinez from point-blank range. The Miners kept the pressure on after the goal, forcing two saves in 30 seconds on their next possession. Carlin was in search of her second tally of the tilt in the 56th minute but Martinez deflected a shot wide with a dive.
A minute later the Miners did make it 2-0. The ball was played ahead by Carlin to Noel, who deftly touched a cross into the area. Soto tracked it down and tucked it away into the left corner of the net for her first goal of the season.
It nearly became 3-0 in the 71st minute with a blast off a free kick by Nicole Pugsley clanking off the crossbar. Three minutes later Martinez turned away Moe Sais from right in front of the goal. The rebound bounced to Adrianna Jimmerson, but USW came up with another team save.
UTEP will return to the pitch when it plays host to FIU in its Conference USA opener at 11 a.m. MT Sunday. Tickets are $5 for adults for adults and $3 for kids, and may be purchased by calling (915) 747-5234.