The UTEP soccer team will look to cap non-conference play on a high note with a pair of road games this weekend. The Miners (5-2-0) will lock up with Sam Houston State (3-5-0) at 6 p.m. MT Friday before taking on UTSA (1-5-0) at 12 p.m. MT.
UTEP heads into the contest against the Bearkats with some momentum, having posted back-to-back 2-0 victories at the 12th-annual Border Shootout last time out. The Miners’ attack, which rates fourth in Conference USA and 64th nationally with 2.0 goals per game, has been well balanced with seven different players having put away chances.
Freshmen Mackenzie German and Amanda Pak pace the squad with three goals each, with Tess Hall (two) and Lauren Katada (two) also boasting multiple strikes.
Tight marking and solid play across the board have also allowed this year’s squad to excel defensively. UTEP enters the weekend with a C-USA leading and 10th nationally goals against average of 0.29. That figure has been aided by the Miners shutting out five of their seven foes on the campaign.
Freshman netminder Sarah Dilling has turned away 24 of 26 shots faced, with her save percentage of .923 topping C-USA and ranking her 12th in the country. She checks in second in the league and 14th nationally for goals against average (0.32).
In order for the success to continue, the Miners will have to defeat an SHSU squad which is unbeaten at home (2-0-0) in 2011. The Bearkats have out-scored their foes, 11-1, in those games. Overall SHSU has accounted for 19 goals (2.71 gpg), with several players capable of finishing. Tricia Mallory has accounted for a team-high five goals, with Emily Edenstrom (three), Jessica Toms (three), Kayla Anderson (two) and Megan Manis (two) all contributing at least two.
While the Bearkats have permitted 21 goals (3.0 gpg), it appears that the GK Mallory Garthwaite could change those numbers moving forward. She has made saves on 16 of 19 shots faced and sports a 1.00 GAA, and registered a shutout in earning a start last game out. The other netminder, Michele McCullough, has been a bit more spotty with a GAA of 4.50 and a save percentage of .673.
It will be an interesting match-up with UTSA on Sunday, with the squad finally being able to enjoy a weekend at home. The Roadrunners, 7-3 in San Antonio in 2010, will challenge Prairie View A&M in their 2011 home opener on Friday before locking up with the Miners on Sunday.
Five different players have scored goals for UTSA, with four individuals sharing the lead with a pair of goals. Dacia Webb has logged the majority of minutes in net, posting a 2.50 GAA to go along with a save percentage of .717.
It has been a tale of two halves on the year for the Roadrunners. In the opening period of contests in 2011 UTSA and the opposition have each registered three goals. UTSA has been out-scored, 12-6, after the break.
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