UTEP Corners Southern Miss, 2-0

UTEP converted a pair of corner kicks and held Southern Miss to just three shots on goal in a 2-0 win at University Field Friday night.

The scores were the Miners’ third and fourth off corner kicks in their last three games. UTEP improves to 13-0-1 overall and 2-0-1 in Conference USA action. Southern Miss falls to 3-4-1 and 0-2-0.

“I am proud of the shutout and happy to get another conference win,” UTEP coach Kevin Cross said. “Southern Miss is a big, physical team and they won a lot of balls tonight.

“Regardless of who you are playing, this is a tough conference and to get a win is awesome.”

UTEP held a 16-12 advantage in shots, including an 11-6 margin in the second half. The Miners also took eight corner kicks to the Lady Eagles’ two.

UTEP scored its first goal in the 36th minute when Kia Sams’ ball from the left corner curled over the crowd of players and into the upper far corner for her third goal of the season.

The Miners netted their second goal at the 81:30 mark when Cara Nordin’s ball from the left corner found a leaping Melissa Abraham in traffic. Abraham re-directed the ball past Lady Eagle goalkeeper Holly Cox for her team-leading 12th goal of the year.

UTEP nearly scored in the 59th minute when Jami Tullius had two shots from inside 10 yards saved by the Lady Eagle defense. Following a cross by Abraham that Cox mishandled, Tullius took a pair of shots on goal before the ball was cleared.

The Miners put together two more solid scoring chances before Abraham’s goal. In the 63rd minute, Tullius’ header off a corner kick went just over the cross bar, and in the 78th minute, Angie Kleinfelder was the beneficiary of passes from Abraham and Brandi Aston, but her shot from the right side went just wide of the left post.

Southern Miss had two decent scoring opportunities in the second half.

In the 65th minute, Sarah McFadden got the ball after a scrum and fired a shot from 18 yards that was blocked by Ashleigh Decker. And with just under four minutes remaining, McFadden lofted a ball from 30 yards that UTEP’s Brittany Popoff punched away as she collided with the top of the goal where the crossbar and post meet.

Popoff finished with three saves as the UTEP defense forced Southern Miss to take most of their shots from well outside the penalty area and at bad angles. The shutout is the fifth for UTEP this season and Popoff’s third solo.

UTEP will return to action on Sunday afternoon against UCF (5-7, 2-0), who was a 4-0 winner over Tulane Friday. Kick-off is set for 1 p.m. MT.



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