POSTED: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - 4:04pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - 5:46pm
The UTEP soccer team will christen Conference USA play with a pair of home matches this weekend. The Miners (6-2-1) will challenge Marshall (2-5-1) at 7 p.m. MT Friday before locking up with East Carolina (5-1-1) at 12 p.m. MT Sunday.
It will be “Youth Soccer Weekend,” with all youth soccer teams getting in free when they wear their team jerseys. Parents also get in for just $2. Additionally there will be a free Sunday Funday Kids’ Clinic, hosted by the Miners, following Sunday’s game. All kids eighth grade and younger are welcome to attend.
UTEP carries a four-match unbeaten streak (3-0-1) into the match-up with the Thundering Herd. The Miners have out-scored the opposition by a count of 10-4 during the stretch. Overall on the year the Orange and Blue are accounting for 2.2 goals per game (second C-USA/50th nation). Five different players have registered two or more goals.
Freshmen Mackenzie German and Amanda Pak share the squad lead with four tallies each, with fellow classmate Lauren Katada and junior Tess Hall close behind with three. Senior Katie Dorman has put away a pair of chances. UTEP has used solid pressure to earn 46 corner kicks, and it has outshot the opposition by a readout of 167-84.
At the other end of the pitch it has been the combination of good defensive shape, tight marking and solid goalkeeping that has resulted in the Orange and Blue sporting a goals against average of 0.67 (3rd C-USA/29th nation).
Freshman Sarah Dilling has earned the bulk of time in the net, compiling a save percentage of .867 (2nd C-USA/29th nation) while making 39 total saves. The Miners have recorded five shutouts while holding three other foes to just one strike. Only UTSA (three goals) has managed more than one goal in a game against UTEP
The Thundering Herd carry a 2-5-1 mark into the weekend, but they have started to turn things around of late. Marshall is 1-1-1 over its past three matches. It has also shown the ability the play well on the road (2-3-0).
Angela DeSumma (three) and Freya Holdaway (two) have been the top scoring threats for Marshall, teaming up for half of the team's goals on the year. The defense has been anchored by GK Betsy Haugh, who has registered 40 saves for a .690 save percentage and a GAA of 2.16.
The Pirates will invade the Sun City for the special early start time on Sunday. ECU dropped its season opener at #21 South Carolina, 4-0, on Aug. 19 but it is unbeaten since. The Pirates are 5-0-1 over their past six games, with a goal differential of +10 (15-5) in the stretch.
The prolific offensive play has been keyed by Kimmy Cummings and Caty Butler, each of whom have scored five goals. No other player has more than one strike.
Christiane Cordero has put together a solid season in the net, with a .750 save percentage to go along with a GAA of 1.27.
ECU has been particularly strong in the first half, outscoring the opposition by a count of 7-3. It has produced eight goals after the break, but also has yielded six to its foes in that timeframe.
Corner kicks have also been a problem for the Pirates, who have earned 22 while permitting 39.