UTEP Soccer Hits the road for Two Matches
The UTEP soccer team will put its perfect record on the line with a pair of matches in hostile territory this weekend. The Miners (3-0-0) will play at Stephen F. Austin (1-2-0) at 6 p.m. MT Friday before competing at Texas State (1-2-0) at 12 p.m. MT Sunday.
UTEP is off to its first 3-0-0 start since 2008, and it is the fourth such opening to a year during the Kevin Cross era. The offense has been clicking on all cylinders with 10 goals. Six different players have found the back of the net, with freshmen Amanda Pak and Lauren Katada and junior Tess Hall leading the way with two goals each.
The Miners have yet to yield a strike by the opposition, and goalkeepers Sarah Dilling and Chandra Morden have only had to make nine combined saves. UTEP has dominated in shots (63-17) and corner kicks earned (13-3).
The Orange and Blue are 10-5 all time in road openers, including 7-3 under Cross. They sport a mark of 6-1 in the situation since 2004 but it will be a tall task to derail SFA on the road. The Ladyjacks are 50-9-5 since moving to the SFA Soccer Complex in 2003. Coincidentally, UTEP downed SFA in its first road match of 2010, 2-1, in OT on Sept. 3, 2010.
SFA is 1-2-0 overall thus far in 2011 but that record doesn’t tell the whole story. All three of its matches have been on the road, and both of the defeats were of the one-goal variety. It has a +2 goal differential (5-3) while also enjoying an advantage in shots (55-37) and corner kicks (13-11).
The Ladyjacks were rewarded for their play last time out by winning convincingly, 4-0, at Oral Roberts on Aug. 28. The match was indicative of the type of season expected for SFA, as it was tabbed the preseason favorite to claim the 2011 Southland Conference championship.
In looking ahead to the contest at Texas State, it is evident that UTEP will also be challenged. The Bobcats were dominant in drilling Prairie View A&M, 6-0, in their home opener. TSU has been tripped up the past two tilts, but will be looking to reverse that trend with two home matches on tap this weekend. It is 25-6-1 at home over the past three years.
It has been a balanced attack on offense for the Bobcats in 2011. Sydney Curry and Serena Hines have scored twice while Kendell Webber and Erica Michaud sport one goal each. Hines and Michaud were two of five Bobcats to garner placement on the preseason All-Southland Conference team.
TSU enters its match-up against TCU on Friday with a +2 goal margin (6-4), in addition to out-shooting its opponents, 43-32.
Visit UTEPAthletics.com for all the latest on UTEP soccer, in addition to checking out the team’s Facebook Page and Twitter account.