The UTEP soccer team will return to the pitch for a pair of home matches as part of the 12th-annual Border Shootout this weekend at University Field. The Miners (3-2-0) will lock up with UALR (3-3-0) at 7 p.m. MT Friday before wrapping up their home portion of non-conference play against Northern Colorado (1-3-1) at 1 p.m. MT Sunday.
There are some great promotions on tap for the weekend. As part of “World Soccer Night,” all fans who wear in international soccer jersey get in free to the match against the Trojans on Friday. In remembrance of the events of Sept. 11, it will be “Military and Civil Servant Day,” for the tilt vs. the Bears on Sunday. Military personnel, police officers and fire fighters will get in free with valid ID.
UTEP enters the 2011 edition of the event riding an 11-match unbeaten streak in this tournament dating to 2004. The Orange and Blue are 10-0-1 in the stretch, and have out-scored the opposition by a combined tally of 39-7.
It also is a welcome return to the Sun City in general for the Miners, who are 3-0-0 with a +10 goal-differential (10-0) in three home matches in 2011. By virtue of that effort, UTEP stands at 81-12-3 in El Paso since 2002.
Six different players have found the back of the net for the Miners in 2011, with freshmen Amanda Pak and Laura Katada and junior Tess Hall tied for the team lead with two goals each.
UTEP has been strong defensively thus far in 2011, having yielded two goals while limiting the opposition to 44 total shots (23 on goal). Goalkeepers Sarah Dilling and Chandra Morden have combined to register 19 saves while helping the team sport a 0.40 goals against average.
UALR is 3-3-0 on the year, with two of those setbacks coming against teams currently nationally ranked. It had won back-to-back matches before running into a buzzsaw on the road in the form of No. 5 Oklahoma State, which dealt it a 7-0 defeat on Sept. 4.
Rachael Maina (three) and Christina Veasley (two) have been the top scoring threats for the Trojans, who are unbeaten (3-0-0) when tallying two or more goals in a game. Michelle Pittman has garnered the bulk of playing time in the net, making 29 saves while sporting a 2.29 GAA in 510:14 minutes of action on the year.
In glancing ahead to the contest against the Bears, the Miners will have to be ready for a bit slower pace of play. While UNC has scored three goals through five games, it has only allowed the opposition to post seven strikes. The Bears have been particularly strong of late, with two goals allowed over the past three tilts.
Kirstin Salminen has compiled a 1.29 GAA on a solid .811 save percentage while coming up with a total of 30 stops. Salminen and the Bears will do battle against New Mexico State on Friday, which is co-hosting the event with the Miners.
Visit UTEPAthletics.com for all the latest on UTEP soccer, in addition to checking out the team’s Facebook Page and Twitter account.