EL PASO, Texas. – The UTEP soccer team won its first game of the season on Sunday when it defeated UIW 1-0 at University Field. It was the first career victory for Head Coach Gibbs Keeton.
A goal from Mina Rodriguez in the 72nd minute was the decider in the contest. Olivia Roskos provided the assist for the Miners.
UTEP finished with nine shots (four on target). Ally Stickney and Emerson Kidd led the charge with two apiece. Tionna Taylor recorded five saves in the contest for her second shutout of the campaign.
“Today is obviously a special day for our UTEP soccer program, but it’s really a testament to the mental fortitude of our team,” Keeton said. “It showed that they are capable of playing great in extended minutes, and they did it today for probably 85. More impressive than the win is their fortitude to bounce back from Thursday and be together on a hot, hard Sunday. It is a good Miner day when football and football can both beat the same program, and we have to celebrate that as a university and light the star orange.”
Both teams came out swinging in the first half. UIW’s Sinead Duffy and Abigail Wilson had tries in the fourth and eighth minutes, respectively, but Miner keeper Tionna Taylor smothered them both. Almost two minutes later, Vanessa Cabello hit one from outside the box, but it sailed wide for a Cardinal goal kick. In the 17th minute, Stickney had a shot blocked by the defense.
The Miners and Cardinals continued to trade offensive efforts through the rest of the first period. Ashlyn Neireiter forced a saved from UIW keeper Erica Defferding in the 20th minute before Amaya Spearman fired back one of her own, with Taylor recording another stop. In the 38th minute, Sheyliene Patolo had a good shot on goal, but Defferding was able to contain it. Four minutes later UIW’s Alex Knutson hit one wide left. A foul on the Cardinals in the 44th set up the final try for the Miners, with Kidd just missing the top left corner on the ensuing free kick. Kiana Villa had a shot sail wide left in the 45th minute just before the whistle. Both teams posted five shots in the first half.
The Cardinals brought the heat in the opening 10 minutes of the second period. A foul from UTEP set up their first chance of the half, but Wilson sent it wide right. Two minutes later Addison Rodriguez hit one wide to the other side. In the 68th minute, Maia Rodriguez also had a shot miss wide. In the 70th minute, Stickney had her second shot of the match, but Defferding saved it comfortably.
Just two minutes later Roskos crossed a dangerous ball into the box, and Rodriguez was able to punch it in during the chaos. It was Rodriguez’s first goal of the 2023 campaign and a first collegiate assist for Roskos.
The Cardinals had three other shots in the half, resulting in comfortable saves from Taylor. The Miners’ last shot of the game was another free kick from Kidd in the 77th, but it went well high. An at-the-death corner for the Cardinals created some late drama, but the Miners defense were able to clear it to safety and complete the shutout.
Looking ahead to next week, the Miners go on the road for two matches. First up they face off at Tulsa on Thursday (Sept. 7) at 6 p.m. MT/ 7 p.m. CT before traveling down to play at Texas A&M Commerce Sunday (Sept. 10) at 12 p.m MT/ 1 p.m. CT.
The next chance to catch UTEP at University Field is September 14 when the Miners return home to take on Idaho.
Season tickets for 2023 remain on sale now for just $35 per seat. Individual game tickets can be purchased for $8 per seat. Fans can call 915-747-UTEP or visit UTEPMiners.com/Tickets for more information.