UTEP soccer keeps rolling

Luis Gonzalez, Staff Reporter

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Five games in a nine-day stretch is no easy task for any team.  Perhaps this, added to the midday El Paso heat, contributed to the struggles encountered by the UTEP women’s soccer team as they hosted Houston Baptist at University Field.  Nonetheless, the team fought and grinded out a win to improve their record to 5-0-1 in this still very young 2014 season.

UTEP began with a high intensity that is becoming a custom this year, creating a goal scoring opportunity before ten minutes had passed.  Midfielder Angela Cutaia found herself in front of goal one on one with the goalkeeper, who reacted to the shot just in time to send it over the crossbar.

Controlling the game, but having to deal with a little of imprecision, UTEP struggled to create chances.  The Miners found success down both wings, reaching the end line on multiple occasions, but the services failed to connect with the forwards inside the box.

Just before the halftime whistle was blown Miner right back Tayler O’Hayre found a cleared ball from a corner just at the top of the box.  O’Hayre one timed the ball across the goal forcing Houston Baptist keeper Patty Walram to extend completely in order to make the save and send the game into the half still scoreless.

The Miners began the second half just as they started the first—with optimal intensity.  Angela Cutaia found the ball off a corner kick from Hannah Nicholson and buried in the back of the net to open up the scoring.

As the half progressed Houston Baptist seemed to grow in the game, playing closer to the Miner goal, but without causing too much danger for Miner goalkeeper Sarah Dilling.  The visiting pressure finally played dividends, when on a long throw in into the Miner box, the ball bounced before finding HBU’s Natalie Hager to hand Dilling her first allowed goal of the season.

UTEP’s response did not take long and just three minutes later it was once again Cutaia who put the ball in the back of the net and the Miners ahead for good.  With today’s brace, Cutaia has now scored four goals in the Miners’ first five games.

“That was one of my goals, to get at least five goals during preseason,” Cutaia said.  “I try to set high standards for myself, so I can challenge myself and challenge my team.”

The Miners will now get five days of rest before hosting Southern Utah on Friday at 7:00 p.m.  Miner Coach Kevin Cross is happy with the team’s undefeated start to the season but looks to keep improving as they get ready for conference play.

“I am very thankful that the team is playing well, scoring goals and playing good defense,” Cross said.  “We have to keep getting better.  We’re not ready yet for conference play, but we’re getting better every week.”

Luis Gonzalez may be reached at [email protected]

 

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