UTEP soccer returns for final home games of the season

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UTEP soccer returns for final home games of the season

Daniel Mendez, Sports Editor

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After a three-game road trip, UTEP soccer finds itself in 12th place in Conference USA with three-games left in the season.

The Miners are currently 6-8-2, and 1-5-1 in C-USA. Two weeks ago UTEP was in eighth place, right on par to be eligible for the conference tournament.The top eight teams during the regular season, as determined by points, will advance to the tournament. There are 14 teams in C-USA, UTEP currently has four points, they are six-points away from the eighth and final spot.

How we got here

When UTEP started their three-game road trip, the team was on a two-game losing streak. The Miners would go and lose two more to Western Kentucky University (4-7-4, 2-4-2) on Oct. 7 and in overtime to Louisiana Tech (11-5-1, 4-3-1) on Oct. 11. The Miners then concluded the road trip in a tie against Southern Miss (10-3-1, 4-2-1) on Oct. 14.

Against Southern Miss, the Miners showed perseverance as they gave up the first goal of the game in the 46th minute in a penalty kick. Seconds later, UTEP was able to capitalize on a penalty kick of their own when senior defender Carleigh Simmons scored the equalizer. The game would end in a one-one tie after double overtime. This marked the Miners second tie of the season and first in C-USA.

“UTEP soccer really battled for each other on this long road trip going to overtime in both games,” said head coach Kevin Cross.

Junior defender Lauren Crenshaw missed the Miners last game against Southern Miss, the Miners leading scorer received her first career red card against Louisiana Tech causing her to be ejected from the game and suspend the next game. Crenshaw leads all Miners with six goals.

During the losing streak, Cross made the decision to bench senior goalkeeper Alyssa Palacios. The record-setting senior’s last start was against Western Kentucky University. Palacios has 64 saves on the season bringing her career total to 406.

In her absence, sophomore goalkeeper Caley Leask made her second start of the season recording a career-high nine saves. In her first career start against Louisiana Tech, the sophomore recorded eight-saves but gave up the golden goal in overtime for a 1-0 Louisiana Tech victory. 

The final homestand of the season

UTEP returns home for the final two-game homestand of the season when they face Charlotte (8-6, 4-3) Thursday, Oct. 18 and Senior Night Sunday, Oct. 21 against Old Dominion University (6-6-3, 3-3-1) at University Field.

In the first home game, UTEP will have to worry about Charlotte’s junior forward Megan Greene. The first team all-conference junior is sixth in goals in C-USA with seven on the season. Sophomore goalkeeper Abby Stapleton has 57 saves on the season, which ranks her sixth.

On Senior Night, against Old Dominion, UTEP will face a defense that allows the second fewest goals to opposing offenses in C-USA. The Monarchs defense has allowed 14 goals on the season. Freshman goalkeeper Jasmine Crawley has played lights out not allowing a goal in her last four games. In nine games the freshman has played she has recorded 23 saves, she is ranked fourth in save percentage with .793.

In addition, UTEP will honor its five seniors–defenders Payton Ross, and Simmons, midfielder Jodie Enokson, forward Sheridan Smith and Palacios.

UTEP will play Charlotte on Thursday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. and Senior Night against Old Dominion on Sunday, Oct. 21 at 6 p.m.

Daniel Mendez may be reached at [email protected]

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