UTEP soccer closes week with a draw


Alberto Silva

UTEP sophomore Ayana Noel fends off a Wolverine player in a defensive battle against Utah Valley Feb. 13.

Heriberto Perez, Sports Reporter

At its first home game of the season, the Miners (1-2-1) got its seasons first victory over New Mexico State (NMSU) Aggies 3-1. The three goals from the Miners came in the first half of the game.  A few weeks ago, NM State defeated UTEP in the first exhibition game of the season. UTEP also tied against Utah Valley Saturday after a two-overtime half, but both teams ended with a scoreless tie. 

On Thursday, the Aggies controlled the first few minutes of the game, but then the Miners got on the scoreboard at the eighth minute of the match; Jackie Soto scored her fifth career goal with an assist by Jojo Ngongo 

At the 26-minute mark came the second score for the Miners; sophomore Tessa Carlin, with a penalty kick, placed the ball in the top right side of the net, passing NMSU goalkeeper Makeena Gottschalk who failed to reach the shot.  

Six minutes later, at the 32, the Miners scored again to make it 3-0 before halftime, as Ngongo scored her eighth career goal in the 32-minute mark.  

“‘We had to finish our opportunities, which we did in the first half,” said UTEP Head Coach Kathryn Balogun. “We didn’t do as well in the second half with that. We need to be able to finish a full game with that sort of thing. But in terms of not allowing them to capitalize on our mistakes, we did a much better job this game.” 

The Aggies’ only score was at the 61-minute mark when Megan Ormson scored with Emma Smith’s assistNMSU had control almost all the second half, but it wasnt enough to score more goals; in the first half, the Aggies had just three shots on target to seven for UTEP.  

Emily Parrott, UTEPs starting goalkeeper, had two crucial saves in the match. The Aggies came close to score their second goal, but Parrott had a key save just 20 minutes before the game ended. 

“The major thing we had to do a better job of was the transition moments and taking care of the ball in our own half,” Balogun said. “We want to possess; we want to build and do those things, but (NMSU) capitalized really well on our mistakes in the first game. We knew we had to do a better job there.” 

On Saturday night, the Miners were held to a scoreless draw against the Utah Valley Wolverines. The Miners had just two shots on target and a pair of corner kicks; the key performance the defense stepping up to fight off 11 shots on goal and six corner kicks by the visitors.  

Another outstanding performance was from UTEPs goalkeeper Parrott, who recorded nine saves in all the match at  University Field. UTEP is now 6-4-1 against Utah Valley after this scoreless draw. 

It was a really gritty performance tonight from the team after coming off a rivalry game Thursday and a quick turnaround to play a good Utah Valley team that was coming in fresh,” assistant coach, Stewart Givens, said. “I think we defended really, really hard and made it difficult for Utah Valley to break us down. Credit goes to Utah Valley because they are a very good team. They will be one of the best teams we play this year. We couldn’t have asked for more from the team in terms of effort, heart and grit. 

 The Wolverines showed more offensive effort during the game with 13 shots, including seven shots on goal, in the first half. But in the second half, each team had just one shot on goal. 

It was not until the 72nd minute when the Miners fired their first shot on goal when  Carlin sent a shot into the top corner, but Utahs goalkeeper Isabel Jones-Dawe had her first of two saves for the match. 

At the start of the first overtime, UTEP had two shots on goal surrendered to the  Wolverines at the beginning of the first overtime period, but the shots were saved by Parrott and cleared by the Miner defense. Michelle ODriscoll fired up the second shot on goal of the game for the Miners at the 100th minute. 

The next game for the Miners will be when UTEP goes on the road to visit Angelo State. UTEP will then play at Lubbock Christian 1 p.m. Feb. 21.

Heriberto Perez may be reached at [email protected]utep.edu; @heriperezlara on Twitter.