UTEP Blanks FIU to Earn Draw to Start Conference Play

EL PASO, Texas – Behind the third shutout in a row for the program, UTEP soccer earned a point with a scoreless draw against FIU to begin conference play on Thursday night at University Field.

The Miners (3-4-2, 0-0-1 C-USA) last strung together three consecutive shutouts during September of the 2016 campaign.

Reigning C-USA Goalkeeper of the Week Mariah Scott continued her strong play in net for UTEP, bringing in nine saves as FIU (2-3-1, 0-0-1 C-USA) fired 16 shots her way. Scott lowered her goals against average to 1.44 on the season with the effort.

“I think the first (takeaway) is the shutouts,” UTEP Head Coach Kathryn Balogun said. “That’s something we weren’t used to last year. They are not easy to come by, and when you get one you give yourself an opportunity, so I think that is the biggest takeaway from the last couple of games. I don’t know if we played well tonight, but we did enough good things to make sure that we always had cover and made sure that we always had somebody backing somebody up.”

Tessa Carlin generated the most dangerous look of the night for the Miners in the 33rd minute, receiving a well-executed corner from Vanessa Cabello in front of the net that she would attempt to head in. Keeper Ithaisa Vinoly made an impressive body save for the Panthers to stop the opportunity and keep UTEP off the board.

“We had some good opportunities here and there, but we need to sustain pressure for longer periods of time and put people under for longer periods of time to get some of the results that we are looking for,” Balogun said.

After entering the game midway through the second half, Michelle O’Driscoll generated two shots in the span of 48 seconds in the 68th and 69th minutes on the attack for the Miners.

“Michelle did well,” Balogun said. “Right before I asked them to go in, I said that we needed to raise the level, and she did exactly that.”

UTEP concludes the four-game home stretch on Sunday at 1 p.m. against LA Tech. The game will serve as Senior Day for the program.