UTEP Soccer To Face Colorado In Playoffs
The UTEP soccer team will renew its rivalry with Colorado College by facing it in the opening match of the 2011 Conference USA Championship at 11 a.m. MT in Memphis, Tenn., on Wednesday. The Miners (10-7-3, 4-5-2) will be seeded seventh at the tournament, and will have a chance to avenge a hard-fought 1-0 “Senior Night” defeat at the hands of the second-seeded Tigers (10-6-3, 8-2-1) on Oct. 28.
UTEP and Colorado College will be squaring off in the quarterfinals of the league’s pinnacle event for the fourth time since 2006, with the Miners aiming to even the ledge at two wins apiece. With a triumph, the Orange and Blue would advance to the semifinals where they would take on the winner of No. 3 seed SMU & No. 6 seed Rice at 4 p.m. MT Friday.
It will mark the first neutral-site match-up for the Miners in 2011 while Colorado College is winless (0-3-0) in the situation this year. History is on the side of UTEP, which has never lost its first match of a league tournament in an odd year. The Miners are 3-0-1 all time in the situation.
UTEP rolled to a record of 10-7-3 during the 2011 regular season, and it is ensured of its 10th straight winning campaign. The Miners accounted for 1.9 goals per game, with seven different players having scored at least four times. Junior Brittany Kindzierski led the way with eight goals, while fellow classmate Tess Hall scored six times.
Senior Katie Dorman and freshman Lauren Katada produced five goals, followed by four each from sophomore Azia Nicholson, and freshmen Mackenzie German and Amanda Pak.
It has been a solid effort at the other end of the pitch, with the opposition being held to 1.3 gpg. Thirteen of the 20 foes on the season have either been blanked or scored just once. Freshman Sarah Dilling has been impressive in net, registering 92 saves (2nd C-USA) to help post a .780 save percentage.
Four different individuals stood out with their play by earning recognition from the league office, though none of them would have been so distinguished without the efforts of their teammates. Nicholson was tabbed to the 2011 All-Conference USA second team, while Hall and Dorman landed on the third team. Dilling earned placement on the all-freshman squad.
Making the accomplishments of this year’s team even more impressive is the fact that it has been relying heavily upon the play of underclasswomen. Twelve individuals have started at least 10 matches, with eight of them being either freshmen or sophomores.
Injuries have played a role in the reliance upon youth, with Hall missing six games and senior Jessie Pettit being sidelined for five contests. The Miners were 8-3-3 on the year when Hall played, and 2-4-0 without her. Additionally, sophomore Gina Soto has missed five tilts.
Colorado College played strong soccer down the stretch, closing out the regular season on a three-match winning streak. Included in it was the 1-0 triumph against the Miners at University Field, in a game that really could have gone either way.
Similar to UTEP, CC has a balanced approach on offense. It produced 1.5 goals per game during the regular season, with four individuals each putting away at least a quartet of chances. Lauren Digregorio tallied a team-high seven goals to lead the way.
Defensively Hanna Berglund has earned all of the minutes in the net, compiling a save percentage of .804 while positing nine shutouts. The Tigers have been at their best in the second stanza of games, with a +six (16-10) differential. They are +1 (12-11) in the first half of contests in 2011.
The complete tournament schedule is as follows.
2011 CONFERENCE USA CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH SCHEDULE
Wednesday, November 2
Match 1 - (2) Colorado College vs. (7) UTEP – 11 a.m.
Match 2 - (3) SMU vs. (6) Rice - 1:30 p.m.
Match 3 - (4) UCF vs. (5) East Carolina - 4:30 p.m.
Match 4 - (1) Memphis vs. (8) Tulsa - 7 p.m.
Friday, November 4 (Semifinals)
Match 5 - Match 1 winner vs. Match 2 winner - 4 p.m.
Match 6 - Match 3 winner vs. Match 4 winner - 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, November 6 (Finals)
Match 7 - Semifinal Winners - 12 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)
All times are Mountain
All Matches played at Mike Rose Soccer Complex (Memphis, Tenn.)