The UTEP soccer team (4-10, 1-5 C-USA) will lock up with C-USA West Division leader Southern Miss (7-3-2, 3-1-2 C-USA) on “Senior Night” at 7 p.m. MT at University Field Friday (Oct. 22).
“It’s an honor to celebrate our seniors,” UTEP head coach Kathryn Balogun said. “I’m sad that our season’s results have not yet shown how dedicated these young women have been to our program. Some of these players have been here all four years with two different coaching staffs while others joined us in the transition period. All of them have been dedicated to leaving the program better than they found it, for which we are grateful.
“We are excited to have an opportunity to once again play another strong program,” Balogun said. “Southern Miss sits at the top of our side of the conference. They have some very skillful and speedy players. It will be a great match-up for anyone who likes a possession-based style of play.”
Still In It
UTEP still has a path toward qualifying for the 2021 Conference USA Championships. There are multiple scenarios for the Miners to make it into the league tournament for the second time in three years under head coach Kathryn Balogun, but all of them include UTEP winning its final two contests of the regular season. The Miners play host to Southern Miss on Friday (Oct. 22), before wrapping up the season at UAB on Oct. 28.
UTEP rolled to a 2-0 win at WKU on Oct. 17 to thoroughly knock off a 10-win team on the road. The Miners equaled their season high for goals while also notching their third shutout of the campaign.
Vanessa Cabello, Emerson Kidd, Molly Sutherland and Cayman Tamez are the only four players on the squad to have started all 14 matches on the season. Kidd (44) and Tamez (24) have earned starting nods every match of their career.
Jojo In The Clutch
Junior Jojo Ngongo has tallied a team-leading four goals on the year, with three of them holding up as match winners. She leads the league and is 47th nationally for game-winning goals.
Ten of UTEP’s 14 games this year have been decided by one goal, with the Miners standing 3-7 in the situation. But despite the challenges, UTEP still has a chance to right the ship by getting for the final two weeks of play.
Sharing Is Caring
UTEP is sixth in Conference USA with 1.14 assists per game. The Miners have accumulated 16 assists on 12 goals this year. Kam Fisher (three) leads the way, followed by two each from Vic Bohdan, Ayana Noel, Molly Sutherland and Cayman Tamez. The rankings are indicative of the possession-based style of play that the Miners have deployed on the campaign, with goals coming from a quality string of passes.
Junior Jojo Ngongo (four goals) and Jackie Soto (three goals) have accounted for more than half of the goals on the year. Vic Bohdan (two) also has multiple strikes on the season. Kam Fisher (three) tops the team in assists. Bohdan paces the Orange and Blue for shots (25) and shots on goal (10).
Twenty six different Miners have earned playing time this season, with 14 of them appearing in all 14 matches. There have also been 18 Miners to secure at least one start, with nine starting at least 10 contests.
The 411 On Southern Miss
Conference USA West Division leader Southern Miss is 7-3-2, 3-1-2 C-USA, on the year. It has played three straight double-overtime contests, including a 2-1 win over Rice on Oct. 14 last time out. USM has the top offense in the league, putting up 2.5 goals per game. It also paces C-USA in assists per game (2.1), points per game (7.1), save percentage (0.849), shot accuracy (0.618), total goals (30) and total points (85). Ilana Izquierdo (six goals) and Blessing Kingsley (five goals) lead the charge offensively, but six other players have scored at least two times. Ariel Diaz (six assists) has been the top distributor. Kendall Mindnich has given up just 11 goals in 10 starts at GK. She has made 50 saves and been credited with three shutouts.
The Series With Southern Miss
UTEP is 10-3-1 all time against Southern Miss, but USM has claimed the past two meetings. The Miners are shooting for their first victory against the Golden Eagles since 2017, which was the last in a stretch of nine straight wins by the Orange and Blue.
Living On The Road
For the second straight season, UTEP will have more road games than home match-ups. Overall this year the Miners will play 10 contests outside of El Paso (nine road, one neutral) compared to six home tilts, marking the second straight year that UTEP will have more road games than home match-ups during the regular season.
Quick Rundown On UTEP
UTEP returned 23 letter winners from last year’s team (3-6-2, 2-3-1 C-USA), including nine starters. The Miners also added six newcomers. The Orange and Blue are under the direction of third-year head coach Kathryn Balogun, who sports a mark of 17-23-5 in the Sun City, including 4-10 this year.
Tickets for the contest are $8 and can be purchased through the Eisenberg Family Ticket Office by calling (915) 747-UTEP, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, visiting www.UTEPMiners.com/Tickets or in person at 201 Glory Road (Brumbelow Building, UTEP campus) Monday thru Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Group tickets are also available for $5 (minimum of 10 tickets).
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