UTEP Soccer Faces Challenge With Games At LA Tech And Southern Miss

The UTEP women’s soccer team (6-7-1, 1-4) will have tough road match-ups this weekend. The Miners will play at LA Tech (9-5-1, 2-3-1) at 6 p.m. MT Thursday before traveling to face Southern Miss (9-3, 3-2) on at 11 a.m. MT on Sunday.

“We have two tough games on the road, both LA Tech and Southern Miss have excellent records and dangerous players,” UTEP soccer head coach Kevin Cross said.

“Both teams are very good at home and well organized. Our goal will be to put in a 90-minute performance and for every player to battle for every ball. When we are all on the same page, we are a very dangerous team. We are excited to play these games. We want to pick up right where we left off when we scored three goals in the second half against Western Kentucky.”

The Lady Techsters and the Golden Eagles are a combined 5-5-1 in league play.

Getting To Know LA Tech

LA Tech currently rank eighth in C-USA holding on to the final spot of the playoff race. The Lady Techsters head into Thursday’s game having dropped two of their last three contests, including a draw against FIU. Senior forward Mylene Roy-Ouellet and junior forward Kaylee Zettler lead the squad with six goals each. Roy-Oullet adds six assists to the LA Tech arsenal, accounting for 18 points on the season.

Series History Vs. LA Tech

The Miners have faced the Lady Techsters three times in program history and are looking for their first victory (0-2-1). The last meeting came in 2015, with LA Tech getting a 2-0 win in Ruston, La. UTEP has yet to have a home match against LA Tech.

Getting To Know Southern Miss.

The Golden Eagles currently sit in a three-way tie for fifth place in C-USA. Southern Miss has won two of its past three matches, earning wins over FIU and Charlotte. Sophomore midfielder Miah Zuazua leads the team in goals with eight goals and six assists on the season.

Series History Vs. Southern Miss.

UTEP currently holds a dominant record of 10-1 over Southern Miss. The last meeting came in 2017, with the Miners getting a 1-0 win over the Golden Eagles at USM Soccer Complex. The Miners have won the last nine meetings, outscoring Southern Miss 21-5 across the win streak.

Miners In Conference USA

UTEP holds an all-time C-USA record of 66-59-11. The Miners are coming off a road loss against WKU in a 4-3 shootout. UTEP will need to string together a streak of wins if the team hopes to make the league playoffs. The Orange and Blue will need to move up eight spots in the league standing to make the cut. Four points separate the Miners (three points) and LA Tech (seven points) who hold the final spot.

Strong Across The Board

UTEP has demonstrated that it works as a team with 11 players accounting for 25 goals. Lauren Crenshaw leads the team with six goals on the season. Vic Bohdan follows with five, Anna Jimmerson has netted three, April Pate, Jojo Ngongo and Natalie Valentine all have scored two, while Danielle Carreon, Cayla Payne, Carleigh Simmons, Jackie Soto, and Hayley Vaughan have contributed to the offensive.

The Game Plan

The Miners have started their matches defensively strong. They have given up only nine goals in the first-half action this year. UTEP has put its attack to the test in the second half, scoring the majority of its goals after the break (15 of 25).

Palacios & The Career Rankings

Senior GK Alyssa Palacios has complied some staggering numbers her career in the Sun City. The result has been her stamping her name throughout the UTEP career record book. The Texas native holds the most career shutouts in program history (21), surpassing Sarah Dilling (2011-14). She enters Thursday’s match currently ranked second in saves (406), save percentage (0.8256), third in GK wins (37), GK games started (73), saves per game (5.56), GK minutes played (6,688:52), fourth in GK matches played (73) and fifth for goals against (1.26).

The Basic Facts

UTEP is in its 23rd season as a program, boasting an all-time record of 254-171-31. The Miners are under the direction of 18th-year head coach Kevin Cross who sports a mark of 211-124-23 in that time frame. He is assisted by two former Miners (Heather Clark and Jessie Pettit).

A Maturing Roster

In 2017, 20 of the 27 members of the squad were underclassmen, so its only natural that this year’s squad has a bit more experience. In 2018, the Orange and Blue feature a unit where 14 of the 23 individuals are either freshmen (seven) or sophomores (seven). There are four junior and five seniors who are providing leadership for the still relatively young group.