UTEP Soccer defeated UTSA on Sunday afternoon at University Field by a score of 2-0. With that result the Miners (10-5-2, 4-2-1 C-USA) moved into a 4-way tie for second place in conference play with 13 points.
The following are 5 thoughts I had after this important victory for the Miners.
1. This shutout was important. The 2-0 victory marked a record setting career shutout mark for Miner goalkeeper Sarah Dilling. After the game Dilling was very thankful of the defensive lines in front of her, especially the one this season. I think that a record like this speaks volumes of the head coach Kevin Cross' style of play. Ultimately, a defensively sound soccer team is a winning soccer team. This squad without a doubt is a winning one.
2. Kennadie Chaudhary stood out. The midfielder gave Coach Cross a very sound 46 minutes on Sunday afternoon. She gave the UTEP midfield calm and poise. She was quick on the attack and her passes were very accurate. Another young player to keep an eye on for this UTEP soccer team. No doubt.
3. The defensive line makes it look it easy. O'Hayre, Nicholson, Asuchak, Bain improve with every game and what I noticed on Sunday is the way they go about doing it. Well, they make it look particularly easy. O'Hayre and Asuchak especially, they are adding a little flare to their ability. That says a lot about their current form, confidence, learned/acquired skill and ability.
4. Offensive combinations seem endless. While the defensive line is pretty much set in stone for head coach Kevin Cross, not so much for the other two lines. Offensively speaking, the variations available to him are plenty. Bri Thomas started in the midfield on Sunday and ended up as a forward, Lauren Katada comes off the bench and can be a midfield wing on either side, Angela Cutaia runs endlessly and is a factor the entire game. The examples can go on and on, any player that Cross calls upon is ready to go. This gives this team as a whole a lot of confidence.
5. UTEP Soccer is making the final preparations to make a serious run. With every passing game the Miners improve. I know no one involved with this team will say it, but I hope that every person that is is thinking that this side is more than a legitimate contender for a conference championship and to go well beyond that. There are 3 games left in the regular season (2 at home and 1 at Old Dominion) and what I expect is no less than 7 more points accumulated and fine tuning for the post season.