UTEP Downs Southern Miss, 1-0, To Spoil Senior Day
Oct. 11, 2009
The win for the Miners (10-4-0, 4-2-0 Conference USA) secures the school-record eighth straight year with at least 10 triumphs while also keeping them in the thick of the C-USA race. An inspired Lady Eagle squad-which aspired to send its six seniors out in style- was forced to settle for the moral victory of a narrow defeat en route to falling to 4-8-0, 0-6-0.
"We came together today as a team and played great," UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. "Every player contributed to the win. The defense got a shutout while the attack put a lot of pressure on Southern Miss. I am very proud of the ladies playing so hard."
While the final score implies a closely-contested match, the numbers and way in which the Orange and Blue controlled possession tell the true story. UTEP dominated the game, registering 17 shots (9 SOG) while earning four corner kicks.The Miners' stop troops stiled any semblance of offense early and often for the homestanding Lady Eagles, who were held to three shots (1 SOG) over the first 85:25 of the match.
It was only in the waning minutes, with Southern Miss sending waves up players up the pitch, in which it was able to truly threaten the Orange and Blue.
Amy Davis was denied by UTEP GK Chandra Morden-who had two saves in the tilt- after a scramble in the box led to a clean look with 3:34 remaining in regulation. Then at 88:25 USM's Sarah Brusco had a shot blocked, but the rebound came right back to her. She rifled a blast screaming in on net, which was knocked out of harms' way before crossing the line by a Miner defender.
The surge was the final push for the Lady Eagles, who had somehow kept themselves in the game despite countless opportunities for UTEP.
At the onset of the match, the Miners made it clear that despite it being the program-standard-tying fourth straight league road tilt, that they had plenty of energy left in the tank.
A string of passes resulted in UTEP's initial scoring chance at 4:31, but an attempt from Tameka Sumter went wide. The next two Orange and Blue possessions were wiped out by offside calls, but it would only be a matter of time for UTEP to find its rhythm.
The Miners did everything right but punch it in during a truly dominant nine-minute stretch. UTEP registered seven shots in the timeframe, one more than USM had for the entire game. Five of the blasts were on goal-USM had only three SOG all day- but Lady Eagles' GK Holly Cox was up to to task.
Brittany Thornton vied to vault the Miners ahead just prior to the end of the opening period, but Cox denied her as well.
Morden was called upon early in the second stanz, handling an attempt by Keilah Hopkins with ease at 51:27.
The Miners then went back on the offenive, earning a trio of corners while taking three shots in a flurry spanning less than five minutes. Jessie Pettit's try was wide at 61:57 while Hall's shot clanked off the cross bar less than a minute later. Melissa Desilets was derailed on a shot to cap the sequence.
The relentless pressure finally paid dividends following the Miners' fourth corner of the contest. Hall lifted the ball into the area, where Dorman timed her jump perfectly and hammered it into the back of the net.
The Miners tried to tack on a second goal 45 seconds later, but a diving header from Thornton whistled just wide.
The lack of an insurance tally proved to be a moot point, thanks to the efforts of Morden and the Miners' defense down the stretch.
UTEP will return to action in the first of four straight C-USA games in the Sun City when Marshall invades El Paso on Friday. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.