UTEP will square off against Sam Houston State in the championship match of the third-annual Border Bash at 12 p.m. MT at University Field Sunday. The Miners (5-2) opened play at the event with a 3-0 lightening-shortened victory against Weber State on Sept. 7 while the Bearkats (3-4) took down co-host NM State on the road, 1-0, in overtime.
There are promotions a plenty for the game. Fans can get a free child ticket with the purchase of an adult ticket as part of “Kids Club Day/Take a Kid To A Game Day” promotion on Sunday. Additionally, fans who wear a soccer jersey, or who carry an umbrella into University Field to stay in the shade, will get in free for Sunday’s match.
“We are very excited to host Sam Houston State in the championship game of the Border Bash,” head coach Kevin Cross said. “We know they are a very hard working team that will be a tough challenge for us. They secured a big win at New Mexico State. We will have to play focused soccer for 90 minutes in order to beat such a strong squad. We hope El Paso comes out to cheer us on as our fans make such a huge difference in our results.”
It will mark the final home match for the Orange and Blue until October. UTEP is slated to renew the I-10 rivalry with NM State in Las Cruces Sept. 12 before christening Conference USA play with four straight road tilts.
The Miners are 3-0 on the year at University Field and stand at 89-14-5 at the venue since 2002.
UTEP has out-scored the opposition, 16-9, with senior Tess Hall (five) and junior Azia Nicholson (four) contributing more than half of the tallies on the year. Junior Jade Babcock, sophomore Mackenzie German and junior Skye Schultz have also been proficient at finding the back of the net with two goals each.
Part of the success offensively is due to the unselfish approach by UTEP. Five players have at least two helpers, in the form of Hall (five), Schultz (four), Babcock (three), Nicholson (two) and Tori Martyn (two).
Sophomore Sarah Dilling has impressed in the net throughout the season, but she is coming on strong of late. She has yielded only nine goals, aided by two shutouts in the past three tilts.
The Bearkats snapped a two-game skid with a 1-0 road win at NM State Sept. 8. Tricia Mallory has been the top threat with a pair of goals, including the match winner in OT against the Aggies.
SHSU’s defense has been dominant, with the opposition managing just five goals in seven contests. It has produced a trio of shutouts.