Danielle Carreon | Photo courtesy Michael Reese
The UTEP soccer team (8-5-3, 3-3-1 C-USA) will wrap up the road portion of its schedule by playing at co-league leader Charlotte (11-3, 6-1 C-USA) at 5 p.m. MT Thursday and at Old Dominion (8-3-4, 2-3-2 C-USA) at 10 a.m. MT Sunday.
“We have two important games on the road this weekend,” UTEP head coach Kathryn Balogun said. “Every game at the end matters but for us it’s the opportunity to make the tournament for the first time in three years. We will start the with Charlotte, who will be very good. They are disciplined and have a great amount of earned confidence. ODU is similar to us and fighting for a spot in the tournament. “
With three games remaining in the regular season, the Miners are in a three-way tie for sixth place in the C-USA standings. UTEP stands at 3-3-1 in league play, giving it 10 points to share sixth with LA Tech (3-4-1) and Middle Tennessee (3-4-1). But with UTSA (3-4, nine points), ODU (2-3-2, eight points) and UAB (2-3-2, eight points) close behind, the Miners need to find a way to secure points on the two-game roadswing.
UTEP is in search of a top-eight showing, which would allow it to qualify for the C-USA Championships for the first time since 2016.
With the 2-0 blanking of LA Tech on Oct. 17, UTEP was able to move past its win total for both overall (eight) and C-USA (three) contests from a year ago. The Miners have been solid both at home (5-3-1) and on the road (3-2-2). UTEP sports a +2 goal differential (24-22) while also staking advantages for both shots (229-190) and shots on goal (105-74).
UTEP enters Thursday’s match with a 3-2-2 road record, which is a vast improvement from the readout of 1-4-3 away from home in 2018. With a win or tie this week, the Miners would be assured of their first road record of .500 or better since 2016 (5-4-2).
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).
UTEP split a pair of home games to conclude a three-game homestand. The Miners cruised past LA Tech, 2-0, on Oct. 17 before being tripped up by Southern Miss, 3-1, on Oct. 20.
Series History Vs. Charlotte
UTEP has a slight edge of 3-2-1 in the series with Charlotte, with all of the meetings occurring since the 49ers joined Conference USA. The Miners have won back-to-back matches against Charlotte, including a 1-0 home conquest last year (10/18/18). UTEP is making the cross-country trip to lock up with the 49ers for the first time since 2016. That year the Orange and Blue won a wild 4-3 contest (9/30/16) during the regular season but were upended in the semifinals of the C-USA tournament, 1-0, by host Charlotte (11/4/16).
Quick Overview On Charlotte
Charlotte is riding a six-match winning streak and enters Thursday’s contest at 11-3, 6-1 C-USA. The 49ers are tied for first place in Conference USA. Megan Greene (eight) and Julia Grainda (seven) top the team in goals. Grainda has also been credited with a squad-best seven assists. Abby Stapleton has started every match in net, recording 38 saves and a 70.4 save percentage.
Series History Vs. ODU
UTEP is 2-1-2 against ODU, which includes a 1-0-1 mark when playing in Norfolk, Va. The two sides battled to a 2-2 draw last year in El Paso (10/26/18).
Quick Overview On ODU
ODU is 8-3-4, 2-3-2 C-USA on the season. The Lady Monarchs have thrived at home, however, compiling a record of 4-1-2 when playing in Norfolk, Va. They have outscored the opposition by a count of 33-19, with Amanda Nhek (eight goals, five assists) keying the attack. Kasey Perry has played the most in net. She has a 69.6 save percentage and a total of 32 saves.