Jade Badcock’s brace guides UTEP to 2-0 over UC Riverside

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Veronica Enriquez

Forward Jade Babcock beats the Highlanders goalie to secure the win for the Miners

Edwin Delgado, Sports Editor

With a pair of goals from senior Jade Babcock, the UTEP women’s soccer team defeated the UC Riverside Highlanders 2-0 on Friday night.

“UTEP is a good team they figured us out after the first 15 minutes,” said Highlanders head coach Nat Gonzalez. “When you play on the road you have to face different adversities and I think we just weren’t ready for it.”

The Highlanders pushed the Miners early in the game and just after two minutes with a shot from outside the box forced UTEP junior goalkeeper Sarah Dilling to pull off a save.

As the game went on UTEP was able to take over the game, in the 24th minute senior midfielder Azia Nicholson stole the ball on the left side of the Higlanders box and sent a low cross to the far post where Babcock found herself just having to tap the ball into the back of the net.

“We played much better than last week,” Nicholson said. “The possession was a lot better from the team and that makes it much easier to find open space to serve ball to.”

In the 31st minute, sophomore forward Angela Cutaia served a ball in the penalty box where Babcock received the ball but saw her shot sail over the bar.

“Jade really had a lot of composure, Azia served her beautiful ball on both goals,” said head coach Kevin Cross. “We practiced that back post run all week long and it’s really cool that she scored on that because we really put an emphasis on that.”

Only three minutes after the second half started Nicholson once again served a perfect through ball to leave Babcock one-on-one against the goalie, and made no mistake as she put her shot on the far post to score her second goal of the game.

“Azia works so hard and it’s so easy to score goals with such beautiful balls through” Babcock said. “I’ve really been working on my finishing this week, me and Azia stayed after practice to work together and I just picked a corner and placed it there.”

The Miners kept trying to increase the score line, in the 62nd minute freshman midfielder Nicole Lindsay took a shot but it fell right into the goalie’s hands.

Eight minutes later, Lauren Katada broke away free on the left flank but couldn’t find the target and her shot went wide.

In the 88th, the Highlanders had their last chance of the game as midfielder Andrea Morales found a gap and took a shot but it went past the crossbar.

“It was a huge win, the team showed a ton of character,” said UTEP head coach, Kevin Cross. “We had an awesome weak of practice, and we put into play what we did in practice and I’m very proud of the girls.”

With the win, the Miners improve to 3-1-1 before hosting Stephen F. Austin on Sunday, after that the Miners will be on the road for four consecutive game before opening their Conference USA schedule at home against Rice.

Edwin Delgado may be reached at [email protected]