Photo courtesy UTEP Athetics

HP Sports In-Depth: UTEP Soccer hits the road for pair of matches

The UTEP soccer team will hit the road for the first time in 2019 with matches at GCU (8 p.m. MT Thursday) and at UTRGV (12 p.m. MT Sunday).

“This weekend will be two good games on the road,” UTEP head coach Kathryn Balogun said. “Up first will be GCU, which also had a tough loss on Sunday. We expect them to come out very strong Thursday in their home opener. It will be a good test of how we come back and execute our gameplan. We will then make the trip across the state to UTRGV, which always has a good team and did really well in the WAC last year. Both of these games are an opportunity for us to introduce our younger players to the travel demands present in C-USA.”

The Miners (0-1-1) will be on the road for four of the next six contests, including this week’s tilts against the Lopes (1-1-0) and the Vaqueros (1-1-0).

Keeping It Tight

UTEP trailed for a combined total of six minutes and 29 seconds (out of 200 minutes) during its opening week of action against Wyoming (T, 2-2, 8/22/19) and Abilene Christian (L, 2-1, 8/25/19). The Miners led for 62 minutes against ACU, compared to being behind for one minute and 15 seconds. In the tilt vs. Wyoming, UTEP was down for a total of five minutes and 14 seconds.

Long Time Coming

Senior Kori Lewis scored her first career goal in the match-up with ACU on Aug. 25. The tally came in her 51st career game. It marked the initial time since 2013 (Kenah Linger) that a three-year Miner letter winner produced their first goal during their senior season. Ashleigh Decker (2006) and Kat McShane (2002) are also members of the unique club at the school.

Making Plays

Freshman Tessa Carlin registered an assist against both Wyoming (8/22/19) and ACU (8/25/19). She becomes the first Miner to have at least one helper in each of the first two games of the season since Skye Schultz also did so in 2012.

Series History Vs. Grand Canyon

UTEP has won all three previous meetings with GCU, including posting a 2-1 victory (8/31/18) last season. Thursday’s contest will be the second between the programs to take place in Phoenix.

Series History Vs. UTRGV

UTEP is 1-1 against UTRGV, with both prior matches coming at University Field. The Miners won the first meeting, 1-0, in 2016 (9/18/16) but were upended at home, 3-2, last year (8/26/18).

Quick Overview On GCU

GCU is 1-1 on the year after splitting its road trip through the “Sunshine State” to start the season. The Lopes knocked off Stetson, 1-0, in their season opener (8/22/19) before being drilled by Conference USA member Florida Atlantic, 7-1 (8/25/19).

They played the final 30 minutes with 10 individuals after a red card, conceding three tallies in that time frame. GCU returned seven starters and 15 letter winners overall from last year’s team (6-13-2).

Quick Overview On UTRGV

UTRGV is off to a 1-1 start on the season, including stomping Alabama State, 6-0, last time out (8/24/19). Sarah Bonney (three) and Emily Zapata (two) have provided the bulk of the scoring.

The Vaqueros brought back eight starters and 18 letter winners overall from last year’s team (12-6-3). The 12 overall wins established a program record while UTRGV also posted its best finish in WAC (tied for second) after going 6-1-1 in league play.

The Basic Facts

UTEP is in its 24th season as a program, boasting an all-time record of 254-176-35. The Miners (0-1-1) are under the direction of first-year head coach Kathryn Balogun. She is assisted by Stewart Givens and Kate Ward and volunteer assistant coach Michael Balogun.

UTEP has 11 true freshmen on the roster in 2019, its highest total since carrying 14 in 2000. The newcomers comprise nearly half of the squad (11 of 24). Eight of the newcomers earned playing time on the pitch in UTEP’s opening weekend, including five who earned at least one starting nod.

For the first time since 2008, UTEP is relying exclusively on a freshman goalkeeper. Newcomers Zoey Lopez (Montwood HS) and Emily Parrott (Lone Star HS) both started a match in the opening week of action, combining for 10 total saves (six by Parrott, four by Lopez).

First-year head coach Kathryn Balogun has a history of success in conference action. During her five seasons (2014-18) at the helm of Texas Southern, she compiled a record of 31-13-7 in Southwest Athletic Conference (SWAC) contests.

Her squad produced winning marks in SWAC action and advanced to the league tournament in all five seasons.

For complete coverage of UTEP soccer, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPSoccer (Twitter), @UTEPMinersSoccer (Instagram) and on Facebook or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics at