UTEP will continue its three-game homestand by playing host to CSU Bakersfield at 7 p.m. MT Friday and I-25 rival New Mexico at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Friday will have the annual pre-game UTEP Soccer Alumni Association tailgate starting at 5:30 p.m. with free food from Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q while supplies last.
Additionally, all kids (12 and under) will get in free and there will be a post-game autograph session. As part of “Jersey Day” on Aug. 27, all individuals who wear a soccer jersey will receive free admission.
“UTEP Soccer is ready for an incredible weekend of soccer at University Field,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “The Alumni Association tailgate sponsored by Rudy’s Barbecue is one of the very best events of the year that we really look forward to. We appreciate the Alumni Association and Rudy’s support of UTEP Soccer. How can you beat free barbecue and great soccer! CSU Bakersfield is an excellent program with a great coach and great culture. We tied them last year, so we know they are a very strong program. On Sunday we have our old rival, New Mexico, back on our schedule after a long absence. They have always had a great program, so we are going to have to be at our top soccer to get a good result. It will be a great weekend for all our UTEP Soccer fans!”
Going Back In Time
UTEP went to overtime in both matches to start the year for the first time since 2014. The Miners dropped their season opener in double overtime at NM State, 2-1, on Aug. 18 while falling by the same score in OT in their home lid lifter against ACU on Aug. 20.
Series History Vs. CSU Bakersfield
The two sides are meeting for the second consecutive campaign. Last year the Miners and Roadrunners battled to a scoreless draw in California.
Brief Rundown On The Roadrunners
CSU Bakersfield is off to a 1-1 start, scoring at least three goals in both of the games. Alexa Orrante (two goals, two assists) and Aryana Harvey (two goals) features a balanced attack which has received goals from six different players. The Roadrunners have outshot foes, 46-22, including 20-12 in shots on goal. CSUB lost its opener to Sam Houston State, 4-3, on Aug. 18 before bouncing back to rout Prairie View A&M, 5-0, on Aug. 20.
Series History Vs. New Mexico
UTEP is 5-3-1 all-time against its I-25 rivals, although the two programs haven’t squared off since the 2007 season. The Miners and Lobos played annually from 1996-02 but then not again until 2006 and 2007. When locking up in El Paso the Orange and Blue stand
Brief Rundown On The Lobos
New Mexico was upended in its opener to San Francisco on Aug. 18 before bouncing back to shut out Grand Canyon, 1-0, last time out on Aug. 20. Emily Chavez and Claire Lynch have scored the goals for the Lobos, both of which came in the first half. The Lobos have controlled tempo, outshooting foes 39-19, including 13-7 in shots on goal. They also hold a significant advantage in corner kicks (14-3).
It’s Been A Long While
The Miners have dropped back-to-back matches to start the year for the first time since 2000, the season before Kevin Cross assumed the head coaching position.
Team Of Character
The Miners have a proven track record of bouncing back under Kevin Cross. UTEP stands 5-0-1 since 2013 when entering a match on a two-game winless skid.
Danielle Carreon (one goal), Kennadie Chaudhary (one goal), Vic Bohdan (one assist), Isabel Trevino (one assist) and Aylin Villalobos (one assist) all got involved offensively to start the season.
Save The Day
Alyssa Palacios recorded at least five saves in back-to-back games to start the season. She now has 254 stops in her career to rank fourth on the Miner all-time charts. Up next for Palacios to pass is Brittany Popoff, who recorded 270 saves during her career from 2004-07.
Start It Up
Junior GK Alyssa Palacios started the first two matches of the season, giving her 44 starts in as many matches since the start of her UTEP career. With her next start, presumably Friday against CSUB, she will pull into a tie for fourth with former Miner GK Chandra Morden (2008-11).
Even though the Miners have 13 letter winners returning, including six starters, they are notably young in 2017. Of the 27 student-athletes on the roster, 20 are either freshmen (12) or sophomores (eight). There are only three seniors and four juniors.
Looking At The Line-Up
Eight Miners (Vic Bohdan-Fr., Hannah Burbank-Fr., Lauren Crenshaw-So., Kennadie Chaudhary-Sr., Jeanna Mullen-Sr., Cayla Payne-R-Fr., Alyssa Palacios-Jr., and Payton Ross-Jr.,) started both matches last weekend while seven others also appeared in each of the contests. Overall 21 student-athletes, including 14 underclassmen, have seen action thus far.
Closing In On Club 200
In his 17th year as the Miners’ head coach Kevin Cross has a record of 197-110-23, putting him on the cusp of joining an exclusive club in UTEP Athletics lore. With three more victories Cross will become the fifth head coach in Miner sports history to reach 200 career wins at the school. Previously Don Haskins (men’s basketball, 719-354), Norm Brandl (volleyball, 355-337), Keitha Adams (women’s basketball, 284-209) and co-head coaches James and Kathleen Rodriguez (softball, 211-325) achieved the feat. Cross also has the fourth-most tenured run by a Miner head coach. He trails Haskins (37 years), Jere Pelletier (women’s golf, 22 years and counting) and Bob Kitchens (track & field, 22 years).
Trailing Only Haskins
Not only has Kevin Cross put himself on the cusp of the 200+ win club at UTEP, he has done so in style. His winning percentage entering 2017 stands at 63.6 percent (197-108-23). That figure would trail only Hall of Fame Coach Don Haskins (men’s basketball) among the 200+ victory UTEP head coach club. Haskins had a 67.0 winning percentage (719-354) in his 37 seasons roaming the sidelines.
There’s No Place Like Home
The enthusiasm and passion for UTEP by Coach Cross has helped him build a loyal fan base, which has made University Field one of the toughest places to play at in the country. The Miners have forged a mark at home of 119-30-10 since 2002, including 0-1-0 this year.
The Basic Facts
UTEP is in its 22nd season as a program, boasting an all-time record of 239-156-30. The Miners are under the direction of 17th-year head coach Kevin Cross, who sports a mark of 197-110-23 in that time frame. He is assisted by two former Miners (Heather Clark and Jessie Pettit).
One of the best ways to measure a team’s worth across the board is the RPI, and that’s an area UTEP has thrived in. The Miners have produced a top-100 RPI in five of the eight past seasons and 10 times total under Kevin Cross, including a program-best 31 in 2005. Additionally, the Miners have secured a spot in the NSCAA Central Region top-10 poll in 11 of the past 13 seasons.
Matter Of Consistency
The Miners have averaged 12 wins while appearing in three conference title games and one NCAA tournament (2005, second round) under Kevin Cross. UTEP is one of 12 programs nationwide (325+ programs) to have hit 10+ wins in each year since 2002. Joining the Miners are Boston College, Florida, Florida State, North Carolina, North Texas, Notre Dame, Penn State, Stanford, Texas A&M, Virginia and West Virginia.