POSTED: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 6:46pm
UPDATED: Friday, October 7, 2011 - 4:09pm
The UTEP soccer team will return home for a pair of important Conference USA contests this weekend. The Miners (9-3-1, 3-1-0 C-USA) will square off against Houston (4-8-0, 1-3-0 C-USA) at 7 p.m. MT on Friday before facing Rice (8-3-1, 3-1-0 C-USA) at 1 p.m. MT Sunday.
It will be “Breast Cancer Awareness” & “Girls Night Out” against the Cougars (4-8, 1-3 C-USA), with fans getting in free by wearing pink. “Miner Kids Club Day” highlights the promotion for Sunday. Additionally, fans who attend the UTEP volleyball match vs. Memphis (7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8) can use that ticket for free admission to the Rice contest.
UTEP, which is coming off a 3-1 win at Southern Miss on Oct. 2, has been dominant at home thus far in 2011. The Miners are 7-0-0- at University Field, with six wins coming via shutout. The effort has moved the Orange and Blue to 84-12-3 at the venue dating to 2002.
Overall on the year UTEP has outscored the opposition, 28-13, including 18-2 in the seven home tilts. The Miners are producing 2.1 goals per game (2nd C-USA/47th nation), with junior Tess Hall’s five tallies (t4th C-USA) leading the way. Senior Katie Dorman and freshmen Mackenzie German, Lauren Katada and Amanda Pak have been consistent scorers, as well, with four goals each to place tied for eighth in the league.
Freshman Sarah Dilling has been impressive in net, compiling a save percentage of .822 (3rd C-USA/80th nation) in 1115:41 minutes of action. She has been busy at times, evidenced by 60 saves to rate second in C-USA. Her efforts, along with the play of the Miners’ back line, have resulted in a goals against average of 0.98 (5th C-USA/83rd nation).
Houston had a rocky start to the season with five straight losses where it was outscored by a combined count of 14-2, but it righted the ship. UH is 4-3 since, with a goal differential of +10 (16-6), although it did suffer consecutive one-goal setbacks last weekend.
While the Cougars rank seventh in C-USA for scoring offense, (1.50 gpg) they do have a big-time threat in the form of Jessica Zavalza. She has found the back of the net six times, which places her third in the league. Other players to keep an eye on include Alexis Weaver and Kelsey Zamora, each of whom have scored three times.
Cami Koski has earned most of the minutes in the net, and she has been solid. Koski has turned away 79.2 percent of shots faced (4th C-USA) en route to recording a 1.15 GAA (7th C-USA).
Rice has proven to be one of the better teams in C-USA in 2011. The Owls are in a four-way tie with the Miners for third place in the league at 3-1-0, and are 4-1-1 over their past six games.
They are very strong defensively, having yielded only six goals for a GAA of 0.48 (2nd C-USA). A big part of the success is the fact that Rice has limited its opponents to only 37 shots on goal. GK Amy Czyz has come up big when tested, posting a save percentage of .824 (2nd C-USA).
RU has been also been strong offensively with 1.58 goals per game (4th C-USA), thanks in large part to Jessica Howard. She boasts seven goals, which puts her tied for the league lead. No other Owl has more than two goals.
Rice is particularly good in the opening period, outscoring the opposition by a combined count of 8-2.
Visit UTEPAthletics.com for all the latest on UTEP soccer, in addition to checking out the team’s Facebook Page and Twitter account.