Lauren Crenshaw: UTEP loses top defender and leader

UTEP+senior+defender+Lauren+Crenshaw+fights+for+ball+with+Southern+Miss+player+Feb+10.

Courtesy of UTEP Athletics

UTEP senior defender Lauren Crenshaw fights for ball with Southern Miss player Feb 10.

Michael Cuviello, Editor, in chief

UTEP soccer loses defender Lauren Crenshaw to graduationone of its best players in recent history. Crenshaw finishes her career with 16 goals, 10 assists and 42 points for the Miner program. As a four-year starter, Crenshaw was in the opening lineup for 75 of 77 games for UTEP. 

Originally from Gilbert, Arizona, Crenshaw started playing soccer at the age of four, along with her older sister, who was also keen on the game. As a freshman, Crenshawwas part of the Campo Verde High School 3A state championship team in Arizona. 

To further refine her skills, Crenshaw attended Shattuck Saint Mary’s Preparatory School for her junior and senior high school seasons. The school located in Faribault, Minnesota, has one of the most prestigious soccer residential programs in the nation and is the only one that combines academics with sports. Producing more Division I soccer players than any program in the country, it can count Crenshaw as one of its many success stories. 

Crenshaw chose UTEP during her high school sophomore year due to the level of financial assistance that she was offered. She also admired the focus of the coach that was recruiting her. 

“Kevin Cross’s communication as far as playing his players and his stressing of academics were big factors in coming to UTEP,” Crenshaw said. “My parents liked that he put life outside of soccer first, not just the whole athlete part like many coaches.” 

“What really attracted me to El Paso is the diverse cultures and its proximity to the border,” Crenshaw said.  “I really liked what the area of El Paso had to offer.” 

Gaining a new coach in Katheryn Balogun her senior year presented new challenges to Crenshaw, who had played under Kevin Cross for most of her career. 

“It was very, very different having a new coach with a totally distinctive style than the previous coach,” Crenshaw said“It gave me a challenge my senior year to deal with the adversity. Having a female coach was also incredibly unique since, at almost every level, I have had male coaches.” 

Crenshaw felt that  Balogun played more of the roster than the previous coach, which changed the dynamic of how the team played this season. 

For the 2019 season, Crenshaw was named second-team C-USA All conference for her efforts and finished second on the team in scoring. Three of her four seasons, Crenshaw was honored on some level of an All-Conference team and twice made honor roll. 

Graduating with a bachelor’s in Kinesiology, Crenshaw, has aspirations of coaching soccer, especially in the development of younger players who are still honing their skills. 

“Playing soccer growing up it is very costly to get proper training,” Crenshaw said. 

 Crenshaw would like to play soccer in Europe but the COVID-19 pandemic has put that on hold. Enrolled for the fall semester in a graduate program at Arizona State, Crenshaw looks forward to when she will be able to play soccer again. 

“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to play at the soccer program for UTEP, Crenshaw said. I feel it helped me grow on and off the field. The teachers at UTEP really worked with me as an athlete.” 

 

Michael Cuviello may be reached at [email protected]