FILE: UTEP earned a road split last weekend. The Miners fell, 3-1, at Wyoming on Sept. 1 before knocking off Idaho State, 2-1, for their first victory of the season in double overtime on Sept. 3.
The UTEP soccer team returns home to start a three-game homestand which will close out non-conference play by playing host to Incarnate Word (7 p.m. Friday) and Stephen F. Austin (12 p.m. Sunday).
As part of the “Flashback Friday” promotion all fans who wear a “throwback outfit” from any decade will receive free admission. On Sunday it will be “Youth Soccer Day” and all kids (12 and younger) will get in free.
“UTEP Soccer is excited to be back at home for this three game home stand before starting Conference USA play,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “We hope to get some players healthy, and will build off of the momentum of our win on Sunday. We know we have quite a challenge ahead of us as Incarnate Word and Stephen F. Austin are great programs. Incarnate Word plays very hard and has been very competitive against other Conference USA schools this season. Stephen F. Austin typically wins its conference and is always loaded with talent. We need our UTEP Soccer fans to come out and cheer us on this weekend! We appreciate the support.”
Going Back In Time
UTEP earned a road split last weekend. The Miners fell, 3-1, at Wyoming on Sept. 1 before knocking off Idaho State, 2-1, for their first victory of the season in double overtime on Sept. 3.
Series History Vs. Incarnate Word
UTEP is 2-1 against the University of the Incarnate Word, including a 2-0 road victory last year (9/9/16). The Miners also posted a recent home win, downing the Cardinals 4-0 on Aug. 29, 2014. UIW claimed the first match-up in the series, 3-1, back on Sept. 3, 2001, which came during Kevin Cross’s first year on the sidelines as head coach.
Brief Rundown On The Cardinals
UIW is 0-2 on the year and has been idle since Aug. 22. Both of the Cardinal match-ups have come against Conference USA schools, with a 3-0 loss vs. North Texas to start the year on Aug. 18 followed by a 1-0 home triumph against LA Tech on Aug. 22. Sydney Huntsinger has played both matches in goal, recording six saves. Shots favor the opposition, 26-12, including a 10-4 advantage for shots on goal.
Series History Vs. Stephen F. Austin
The series between UTEP and Stephen F. Austin is tied, 4-4, but the Lady Jacks have claimed the past three match-ups dating to 2011. Last year SFA successfully defended its home pitch, 2-0, on Sept. 11, 2016. The two squads first met in 1999, a 5-0 UTEP victory on Sept. 3.
Brief Rundown On The Lady Jacks
Stephen F. Austin lost its first two games of the season but it has bounced back to win consecutive contests, including a 2-1 triumph against Texas State last time out on Sept. 3. The Lady Jacks are led by Hanna Barker (2-2-6) but Katelyn Termini also has a pair of goals on the season. SFA has scored two goals in three straight contests, and in UTEP will be facing its third Conference USA opponent of the campaign. Allyson Smith (12 saves) and Madeline Talbot (11 saves) have split time in the net.
Not only did UTEP secure its first win of the campaign with the 2-1 double overtime victory at Idaho State on Sept. 3, it did so in style. The Miners set season highs for goals scored (two), points (five) and shots (17) in the victory. They also registered their second-highest total for shots on goal (six).
Anna Jimmerson has started to come on, becoming the first Miner freshman to score in consecutive games since Mackenzie German and Lauren Katada both did so in 2011. Jimmerson accounted for the Miners’ lone tally in the 3-1 setback at Wyoming on Sept. 1 before giving UTEP a 1-0 lead in the eventual 2-1 double-overtime victory at Idaho State on Sept. 3. If Jimmerson can put one away Friday, she’d be the initial Miner freshman to do so in three straight tilts since Tameka Sumter in 2006.
Freshmen Power In OT
Redshirt-freshman Cayla Payla hammered home a cross from true freshman Vic Bohdan to lift the Miners to a 2-1 overtime win at Idaho State on Sept. 3. It marked the first time in program history that UTEP had an OT winner where both the goal scorer and individual credited with an assist were both freshmen.
Spreading It Out
Four Miners have helped account for five goals on the season. Anna Jimmerson headlines the attack with a pair of tallies while Danielle Carreon, Kennadie Chaudhary and Cayla Payne each have accounted for one goal apiece. In terms of assists Vic Bohdan paces the team with two (eighth C-USA/114th nation) while Payne, Isabel Trevino and Aylin Villalobos each have one helper to their credit.
Sophomore D Lauren Crenshaw and junior GK Alyssa Palacios have played all 591 minutes of action on the year (98.5 minutes/match) thus far. Senior MF Kennadie Chaudhary (390 minutes-94.2 minutes/match), freshman D Hannah Burbank (546-91.0 minutes/match), senior F Jeanna Mullen (535 minutes-89.2 minutes/match) and junior defender Payton Ross (533 minutes-88.8 minutes/match) have also been heavy on the minutes.
Save The Day
Alyssa Palacios has compiled 41 saves (first C-USA/41st nation) in 2017 (6.83 saves/match-second C-USA/18th nation), including a career-high tying 10 stops against New Mexico on Aug. 27. Her career total now stands at 284 saves which pushed her into third place on the Miner charts. The record holder is Amanda Smith (438; 1996-99) while Sarah Dilling (317; 2011-14) occupies second place. Palacios started the year in fourth place, but has since surpassed Brittany Poppoff (270; 2004-07).
Start It Up
Junior GK Alyssa Palacios has started the first six matches of the season, elevating her total to 48 starts in as many matches since joining UTEP. The effort has allowed her to move from fifth place into fourth place on the UTEP career charts. Brittany Popoff (56; 2004-07) sits in third place.
For the first time in program history UTEP went to overtime in four straight contests to start the season. Overall the Miners have played overtime soccer in five of the initial six matches of the year. The five OT games already ties as the fifth most on the Miner single-season charts.
For the third time in program history (2008, 2015) the first four matches of the season were decided by one goal or less. Overall five of the first six games on the season have been one-goal affairs, including the most-recent contest which was a Miners’ 2-1 double-overtime victory at Idaho State on Sept. 3.
Even though the Miners returned 13 letter winners, 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.
Closing In On Club 200
In his 17th year as the Miners’ head coach Kevin Cross has a record of 198-113-23, putting him on the cusp of joining an exclusive club in UTEP Athletics lore. With two 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 stands at 62.7 percent (198-113-23). 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.
The Basic Facts
UTEP is in its 22nd season as a program, boasting an all-time record of 240-161-30. The Miners are under the direction of 17th-year head coach Kevin Cross, who sports a mark of 198-113-23 in that time frame. He is assisted by two former Miners (Heather Clark and Jessie Pettit).
In 2017 the Miners hope to continue an unprecedented string of success on the road. Last year they went 5-4 in road matches to extend the school-record streak of a winning road record to four straight seasons. Overall they are a combined 22-14-3 on the road in that stretch, including 1-2 in 2017.
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.