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Miners clinch tournament berth with win over Southern Miss

Nina Titovets
Players stayed after the game to sign posters for proud fans



Win and you’re in—that was exactly what was on the line for the Miners. The UTEP women’s soccer team faced their most important game of their season with a crucial 5-0 win over Southern Mississippi on Friday, October 28th.


The  Golden Eagles were the only obstacle standing in front of the Miners way to a post-season bid in the Conference USA tournament.


During senior night, the 602 fans in attendance were in for the night of many emotions. The fan turnout before the last game of the regular season only featured 305 and 221 fans, respectively, in the crowd. However, the El Paso fans knew what was at stake for their beloved soccer players and showed their roaring support.


Senior midfielder Aleah Davis put up the first points on the scoreboard with 21:26 left until halftime. Davis’ strike past Southern Miss goalkeeper Taylor Brittany was good enough to tie the Miners’ goal leader on the season, Bri Thomas, with six on the year.


Davis’ final game in front of her home crowd was meant for her, but she put her supporters and teammates in front of her big night.


“The game was a complete team effort. Tonight, the girls were talking about playing for the seniors, but for us it was playing for them—one last time on this field all together,” Davis said.


The attacking Miners were not done yet as the young sophomore Carleigh Simmons joined the fun. On the last matchup of the season, she knocked in her first goal of the season—extending lead 2-0.


Nothing could go wrong with UTEP during the first half. USM had no answers for Kevin Cross’ soccer schemes. The Miners outshot the Golden Eagles 11-7 in the first period.


When the second half came around, the Miners fed off of their momentum from earlier in night.


Thomas decided to continue the onslaught that was happening on University Field—she added two goals of her own in the second period of play.



Bri Thomas was named the player of the game, due to her picture-perfect closing of the game.


“Getting player of the game will always be remembered in my last game, here at home,” Thomas said. “The game was bittersweet, it being my last game here. We came out with a bang though, winning 5-0.”


Throughout the whole game, the team in orange dominated all evening—Kevin Cross and company saved one of their best performances for the final night.


“It’s senior night, on a Friday night, with all of our fans out here with us. All those things combined for us scoring five goals tonight.” Davis admitted.


Last season’s senior night was the motivation for this team. They did not want to replay what happened—a loss that ended their season abruptly.


“We got what we deserved tonight, it was our redemption,” Davis said.



Head coach of the Miners Kevin Cross believed he coached the perfect game and lead his troops all night to keep going and go snatch a spot in the playoffs.


“It was the best senior night I’ve ever coached. Everyone played their best soccer,” Cross said. “All of them sacrificed for each other. It was our mentality, they showed it tonight.”


After this win, the UTEP women’s soccer team had one message for their fans after the game— “Playoffs, baby.” As the victorious Miners shouted on the middle of the field after their huge tournament-clinching shutout win.

Follow Mike Flores on Twitter @MikeTheReal





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Miners clinch tournament berth with win over Southern Miss