UTEP Lights Up New Mexico State, 5-0, In FirstLight Federal Credit Union Battle Of I-10
Aug. 28, 2014
EL PASO, TEXAS – Bri Barreiro scored twice (26:48, 55:28), Aleah Davis (1:09), Hannah Nicholson (3:40) and Angela Cutaia (21:37) each found the back of the net and senior Sarah Dilling made seven saves to help the UTEP soccer team light up New Mexico State, 5-0, in the FirstLight Federal Credit Union Battle Of I-10 at University Field Wednesday evening.
All of the goals came on set pieces, with four on corners, as the Miners (3-0-1) remained unbeaten on the year and in the series against the Aggies (0-3-0). UTEP is now 4-0-0 all-time against NM State. Additionally, the effort moved the Orange and Blue to 100-17-8 at home since 2002.
“It was a really important victory against a good team in a rivalry team,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “Basically it was all about set pieces today. We always tell the team that set pieces win games at every level, we saw it at the World Cup. That’s what won us the game today. It was a great team effort.”
“We needed to be very aggressive in the attack because we thought if we would then hopefully the flood gates would open,” Cross said. “We got set pieces as result and we cashed in. It was really fortunate tonight.”
After scoring once in the first two games, UTEP’s offense exploded for five goals. The defense continued the solid start, notching the third consecutive shutout in as many contests. UTEP also achieved the feat to start the year in 2008 and 2011. Overall, Cross was pleased with the effort on both offense and defense.
“We had been scoring goals in a training camp and in the spring,” Cross said. “So it was nice to see us score tonight. That was the biggest improvement. We’ve got three shutouts so the defense is playing fairly well. There’s a few breakdowns that we are having but Sarah Dilling has saved us in them like she did tonight in that one vs. one attack.”
The Miners (2-0-1) led 2-0 within the first five minutes of action and carried a 4-0 cushion into the locker room against a stunned Aggie (0-3-0) squad. Davis got the party started early with a tally just 1:09 into the contest off a corner kick feed from Nicholson. The helper was one of her three on the night, which equals the third-highest single-game total in program history. Nicholson then sent a shot through traffic that twickled the twine at 3:40 while Cutaia and Barreiro scored five minutes apart midway through the first half.
With things well in hand for the home side, the only drama that remained in the second half was if Mother Nature would cooperate. A thunderstorm had danced around the area for most of the first half and it finally forced a delay early into the second stanza. A detected strike within six miles of the venue brought the contest to a pause. Safety of the spectators, players, coaches, staff and game personnel was the top priority as the venue was cleared, and then the waiting game began.
Per NCAA regulations there must be a 30-minute lightning free window for a contest to resume. If the contest has not reached the 70-minute mark, it would be cancelled and never be officially recorded. The clock for the lightning watch was reset on a couple of occasions before the storm dissipated, and action resumed after a five-minute warm-up for player safety.
UTEP showed no ill effects from the delay, adding its fifth and final goal two minutes after resumption of play. Once again it was the El Paso native Barreiro doing the honors, finishing a service from Nicholson.
The Miners continued to control down the stretch, with everyone in the venue breathing a bit easier when the clock moved past 70 minutes played.
UTEP will have a very quick turnaround, playing host to Incarnate Word at 7 p.m. Friday and Houston Baptist at 1 p.m. Sunday. Both contests are part of the Fifth-Annual Border Bash. There is free admission on Friday while tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for Sunday. Fans may also gain free entry to the HBU tilt by wearing a club or country soccer jersey as part of “Club & Country Day.”