The UTEP soccer team (5-2-2) will play host to FIU (2-5) in the Conference USA opener for both squads at 11 a.m. MT Sunday.
“The coaching staff is pleased with how far the girls have come and how well they have responded to what we are implementing,” UTEP head coach Kathryn Balogun said. “We are excited to start conference play at home on Sunday. FIU will be a great first challenge.”
UTEP is 8-4-1 in league openers since joining Conference USA, including victories in back-to-back years. It is opening up C-USA action against FIU for the second straight season.
The Miners will have their league lidlifter at home for the first time since 2013, but then will play three straight matches on the road.
Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids, and may be purchased by calling (915) 747-5234.
Series History Vs. FIU
UTEP is 2-1 all time against FIU, including a 2-0 Miner victory on the road last year (9/16/18). This will be the second meeting between the squads in El Paso. UTEP downed FIU, 2-1, on Oct. 26, 2014.
Quick Overview On FIU
FIU returned 17 letter winners while adding 14 newcomers from last year’s squad (0-17-1, 0-9-1 C-USA). The Panthers are markedly improved in 2019, entering Sunday’s match-up at 2-5 on the season. Most recently FIU emerged with a 3-0 road triumph at USC Upstate (9/15/19). Ellen Halseth and Rayquel Berry lead the attack with three goals each. Yolanda Albalat has been credited with a team-best three assists. Christina Velazquez has started all seven matches in goal, recording 26 saves for a .722 save percentage.
Looking In The Rearview Mirror
UTEP set season highs for shots (25), shots on goal (15) and corner kicks (seven) while matching its campaign best in goals (two) in a 2-0 vanquishing of NAIA program University of the Southwest (9/17/19). It marked the most shots on goal by the Miners since they also had 15 in a 4-0 win against Houston Baptist eight years ago (8/26/11).
We Must Protect This House
UTEP has won three straight home games and enters Sunday’s tilt vs. FIU at 3-1-1 overall at University Field in 2019. The Miners have a +4 (9-5) goal differential in the five home contests, including a +5 margin (6-1) during the three-match winning streak.
Getting After It On Defense
UTEP has held six of its nine foes to one goal or less, including recording three shutouts. The Miners also kept Southern Utah (9/8/19) without a shot on goal, marking the first time they’ve done that in 10 years.
Continued Success In Nonconference Play
UTEP has posted a winning mark in nonconference play in 17 of the past 18 years, including finishing 5-2-2 in 2019. The exception during the nearly two-decade run of success came in 2017 (4-5-0).
Lauren Crenshaw (three), Danielle Carreon (two) and Jojo Ngongo (two) have provided seven of UTEP’s 14 goals on the season. Tessa Carlin, Kam Fisher, Kori Loris, Jackie Miler, Ayana Noel, Nicole Pugsley and Jackie Soto each have one goal in 2019.
Seven of UTEP’s nine games have been decided by one goal or less. There have been two ties and five contests with a one-goal differential. The Miners are 3-2 in the situation this year. Both contests featuring a larger final margin were 2-0 UTEP wins (Southern Utah; 9/8/19 and USW, 9/17/19).
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). Nine of them have earned playing time thus far in 2019, including five who have secured at least one starting nod.
Youth Served In Goal
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) have both seen action. Parrott has started eight of nine matches, making 25 saves and recording three shutouts. Lopez had a quartet of saves before getting injured in the match against Abilene Christian (8/25/19).
Balogun’s History Of Success In League Play
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.
UTEP will play at Marshall at 5 p.m. MT on Sept. 26 in the first of three straight road matches. The Miners will also lock up at UAB (6 p.m. MT, Oct. 3) and at Middle Tennessee (12 p.m. MT, Oct. 6) before having four of their final six league tilts at University Field.
UTEP Soccer on Social Media
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 UTEPMiners.com.