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UTEP to kick off season Friday at home
El Paso, TX — The UTEP soccer team will kick off its 19th season in program history when it plays host to Texas State at University Field 7 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids while participants from the Miner Soccer Academies will get in free with their camp shirt.
The UTEP Alumni Association pre-game tailgate will start at 5:30 p.m. There will be the chance to win prizes and enjoy free food courtesy of Rudy's Country Store and BBQ, while supplies last.
Fans who are unable to arrive early can get prepped for the contest by tuning into Sports Talk with Steve Kaplowitz on AM 600 ESPN El Paso, who will be broadcasting live from the field from 4-7 p.m.
“UTEP Soccer is very excited to kick off the 2014 season this Friday at home against a very strong Texas State team,” head coach Kevin Cross said. “Texas State is very well coached, plays great soccer, and always gives us a great game. It is one of the top teams in the Sun Belt Conference.”
“We are excited to get the season under way, and we will give our all in 2014. We know many people are suffering from World Cup withdrawal, so come out and join the El Paso American Outlaws at our game on Friday night. It will be a fun night!
“We are very thankful for the alumni association and Jackie Reed for again hosting the Alumni Association Tailgate. We appreciate the awesome barbecue from Rudy’s for the tailgate, and KROD ESPN Radio and Steve Kaplowitz for broadcasting live from University Field on Friday.”
The Miners, coming off a 12-6-3, 5-3-2 Conference USA mark during the 2013 season, return six starters and 18 letterwinners from that squad. There are seven true freshmen in the mix as well, giving Cross a big roster to work with. He did a masterful job in the situation last year, utilizing a deep bench to keep everyone fresh. The result was a 9-5-0 record in games decided by one goal.
UTEP has a youth-laden roster in 2014, with 16 of the 24 active players being either freshmen (seven) or sophomores (nine). The most well-known name in the group is preseason All C-USA selection and sophomore midfielder Aleah Davis but fellow classmates Alexa Bain and Bri Barreiro were fixtures in the starting line-ups a year ago.
UTEP's four healthy seniors (D Hannah Asuchak, GK Sarah Dilling, MF Mackenzie German and D Tayler O'Hayre) will be called upon to aid in the development of the younger players while providing steady leadership on and off the pitch.
UTEP is 15-3 in season openers, including 12-1 under Cross. The Miners will also be in search of their 100th home since 2002. They are 99-17-7 in the Sun City in the timeframe. UTEP has enjoyed success against Texas State, leading the series 9-2-0.
As impressive as all of those numbers sound, they are absolutely meaningless come Friday night. UTEP’s focus will be on the task at hand of toppling a program tabbed fourth in an underrated Sun Belt Conference. The Bobcats return seven starters and 16 letterwinners from last year's squad that finished 8-9-2. Headlining that group are preseason All Sun Belt Conference selections F Lynsey Curry and D Brenna Smith.
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