The UTEP soccer team will play host to Southern Miss on its “Senior Night” game at 7 p.m. MDT Friday.
As a show of appreciation to the year-long support by the fans there will be free admission to the match between the Miners (11-6-2, 4-5-0 Conference USA) and Golden Eagles (8-6-2, 2-5-2 Conference USA).
Fans are encouraged to arrive early for the pre-match ceremony for UTEP’s seven-member (Keighton Allen, Alexa Bain, Bri Barreiro, Aleah Davis, Nicole Lindsay, Morgan Rasmason and Bri Thomas). Additionally various Miner alumni will be recognized at halftime in honor of the 20-year anniversary of the program (1996-present).
“We can’t wait for the Southern Miss game,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “They are a very athletic team and they play very hard. We will have to really sacrifice and leave everything we have out on the field to get a positive result. We are looking forward to playing this crucial game at home in honor of our 2016 seniors and alums who are coming in town. The game is FREE, so we hope to see the stands packed for this big game!”
Win And Get In
Heading into the final weekend of the regular season, six of the eight coveted spots for the 2016 Conference USA Women’s Soccer Championships (Nov. 2-6, Charlotte, N.C.) have been taken. Yet plenty of drama remains with six teams (UTEP, 4-5, 12 points, Marshall, 3-4-2, 11 points, Old Dominion 3-5-0, 12 points, UTSA, 3-6-0 nine points, FIU, 2-4-2, eight points and Southern Miss, 2-5-2, eight points) battling for the two remaining bids. While there are all sorts of scenarios, from UTEP’s standpoint a victory against the Golden Eagles will seal a spot in the C-USA Championships.
Scouting Southern Miss
Southern Miss is 8-6-2 overall, but it is 2-5-2 in Conference USA play. The Golden Eagles, though, enter with momentum as they are riding a two-game (1-0-1) unbeaten streak. USM has been challenged on the road (2-4), including a mark of 0-4 during C-USA play. All four road setbacks in C-USA action have been by the score of 1-0.
Overall on the year the Golden Eagles boast a +13 goal differential (26-13), aided by a 4-0 rout of Middle Tennessee last time out on Oct. 23. Stephanie Garcia (six goals) leads the attack with Becky McMullan, Katie Richmond and Bri Schubeck tying for second on the squad with four goals each. USM has a +six differential (12-6) in the first half and a +8 margin (14-6) after the break. It has struggled to earn corner kicks (61) but foes has have no such issue (103).
Series History With Southern Miss
UTEP is 8-1 all-time against Southern Miss, including 5-0 when squaring off in El Paso. Last year the Miners posted a 3-2 double overtime win on the road, which marked their seventh straight victory in the series.
UTEP has recorded nine shutouts on the year. That figure rates tied for second on the program’s single-season records. The school standard (11) was set in 2006 while the 2014 squad also registered nine shutouts.
Defense Does It
UTEP is among the C-USA and national leaders for save percentage (.869-second C-USA/ninth nation)-aided by two team saves- goals against average (0.916-fifth C-USA/67th nation), shutouts (nine-tied second C-USA) and shutout percentage (.474-third C-USA/46th nation).
Palacios Up To The Task
Sophomore GK Alyssa Palacios has emerged as an elite keeper, with simply sensational numbers. She paces C-USA and is among nation’s leaders for save percentage (.867- 20th), total saves (117-third), saves per game (6.16-24th) and GK minutes played (1759:43-sixth). She has recorded at least seven saves in 10 contests, including a career-high matching 10 vs. Rice (10/9). Palacios has also been credited with eight shutouts (third C-USA/20th nation).
More Miners In The Rankings
Senior Aleah Davis paces the Miners in assists (seven-second C-USA/41st nation), game-winning goals (four-first C-USA/32nd nation) and points (17-tied seventh C-USA) while rating second in goals (five-tied 14th C-USA). Top scoring threat Bri Thomas has been relentless in her attack. She leads the team in goals (six-tied 10th C-USA) and total shots (44-sixth C-USA).
Kennadie Chaudhary has thrived since the onset of C-USA action, topping the Orange and Blue in points (eight-tied sixth) goals (three-tied eighth C-USA) and game-winning goals (two-tied first C-USA) while tying for squad best in assists (two-tied ninth C-USA) during UTEP’s nine league tilts.
No Rest For Ross
For the second year in a row, UTEP sophomore sweeper Payton Ross has proved to have unbelievable endurance. Last season she became the first field player since at least 2002 (prior stats are incomplete with minutes played) to play every minute of every match on the campaign. She has continued the trend in 2016; Ross has been on the pitch for all 1768:28 minutes of action.
Balanced Attack In League Play
Nine Miners have helped account for 13 goals during Conference USA play. Kennadie Chaudhary (three goals), Jeanna Mullen and Bri Barreiro (two goals) have multiple tallies while Danielle Carreon, Yesenia Contreras, Lauren Crenshaw, Aleah Davis, Nicole Lindsay and Bri Thomas all have one goal in league action. Overall Thomas still leads with six goals (tied ninth C-USA) while Davis closely follows with five. Davis has shown a flair for the dramatic with four game-winning goals (first C-USA/22nd nation).
UTEP has done most its damage in the second half of contests this year. The Miners have tallied 19 of their 29 goals on the year in the second half. Overall UTEP has a +11 goal margin (29-18); it is even (10-10) in the first half and at +12 advantage (19-7) over the final 45 minutes. UTEP is -1 (0-1) in overtime (goal by UAB in double overtime).
Sharing Is Caring
UTEP has been credited with 32 assists (second C-USA/35th nation) on its 29 total goals (seventh C-USA/88th nation) this year. Aleah Davis keys the efforts with seven assists (second C-USA/42nd nation) while Kennadie Chaudhary and Bri Thomas are tied for second on the team at four. Bri Barreiro, Lauren Crenshaw and Nicole Lindsay share fourth on the squad with three helpers while Devyn Hunley, Jenna Mullen, Carleigh Simmons and Natalie Valentine each have two assists. Yesenia Contreras and Aylin Villalobos both have one helper apiece. The last time the Orange and Blue concluded a campaign with more assists than goals was in 2014 (34 assists, 29 goals). The only other such occurrence at UTEP was in 2008 (39 assists, 35 goals).
UTEP has claimed three Conference USA Players of the Week in 2016, with sophomore Alyssa Palacios netting the C-USA Goalkeeper of the Week twice (Sept. 6 and Sept. 19) and freshman Lauren Crenshaw securing the C-USA Defensive Player of the Week (Sept. 6). Palacios is the first Miner GK to earn multiple weekly honors from the league office since Chandra Morden did so in 2010.
UTEP has recently been recognized by the NSCAA for its performance in the classroom during the ’15-16 scholastic year. The Miners sported a 3.60 GPA, which led Conference USA, and as result have claimed the NSCAA Team Academic Award. It is the sixth straight year that the Miners have been so distinguished. UTEP has also earned placement in the NSCAA Central Region Poll this year. It is no stranger to that type or recognition, having done been regionally ranked for at least one week in 11 of the past 13 campaigns.
Winning Ways On Road Continue
The Miners recorded their school-record winning road record by forging a mark of 5-3-2 on the road in 2016. UTEP now stands 21-10-5 on the road since the streak started in 2013.
Getting It Done Out Of Conference
UTEP compiled a mark of 7-1-2 during non-conference action to improve to 106-29-9 before league play since the start of the 2002 season. The Miners have now posted a winning record in non-conference action for 15 straight seasons.
The Basic Facts
UTEP is in its 21st season as a program, boasting an all-time record of 237-155-30, including 11-6-2 this year. The Miners are under the direction of 16th-year head coach Kevin Cross, who sports a mark of 195-107-23 in that timeframe. He is assisted by two former Miners (Heather Clark and Jessie Pettit). UTEP returned 12 letter winners, including nine starters, from last year’s team (11-7-2, 4-4-2 C-USA).