Tessa Carlin | Photo courtesy UTEP Athletics

UTEP Soccer to play at I-10 Rival NM State, Utah Valley

The surging UTEP soccer team (3-1-2) will hit the road to lock up with I-10 rival NM State (4 p.m. MT Thursday) and Utah Valley (7 p.m. MT Saturday). 

“Thursday will be a big I-10 rivalry game at NM State,” UTEP head coach Kathryn Balogun said. “To increase the stakes both teams come into the game on multiple-game unbeaten streaks, which will be fun. Then we turn around and head to Utah for a good game in a great stadium at Utah Valley. It is going to be really important as we move into these last nonconference games that we start to focus on the immediate task at hand, both on and off the field.”

The Miners are riding a four-match unbeaten streak (3-0-1), including a perfect 2-0 mark on their most-recent homestand.

Series History Vs. NM State

UTEP is 7-1 all time against I-10 rival NM State, including a 2-1 advantage when playing in Las Cruces, N.M. The Miners drilled the Aggies, 4-1, at home last season (9/23/18). NM State’s lone win in the series came two years ago (8/18/17), when it emerged victorious, 2-1, in double overtime at home.

Series History Vs. Utah Valley

UTEP leads the series with Utah Valley, 6-3, but the two sides haven’t locked up since the 2015 season. The Miners posted a 1-0 win that year.

Quick Overview On NM State

NM State is 1-2-2 on the year, but it is unbeaten (1-0-1) over the past two matches. The Aggies have been outscored, 10-5, on the season, with that figure hindered by a 4-0 deficit in the first half of contests this year. Oregon State transfer Shea O’Connor has accounted for a team-leading two goals while Xitlaly Hernandez tops the team in assists (two).

Dmitri Fong has started all five matches in goal, making 32 saves on 42 shots on target. NM State finished 2-16 last year but they were 9-10-1 in 2017.

Quick Overview On Utah Valley

Utah Valley got off to a 2-2 start but it has dropped back-to-back matches, including falling at Santa Clara, 5-0, last time out on Sept. 8. It is 2-0 on the season at home (+3 goal differential) and 0-4 on the road (-9 goal differential). Amber Tripp is responsible for three of the team’s five goals on the season. Allie Jara has earned the bulk of playing time in net, recording 18 saves on 24 shots on goal.

On A Roll

UTEP is riding a four-match unbeaten streak (3-0-1), having outscored the opposition by a count of 6-2 during the surge. Six different players have scored and freshman GK Emily Parrott has made 12 saves on 14 shots on goal during the stretch.

Strong Start

The Miners enter this week at 3-1-2 on the year, their best record through six games since 2016 (4-0-2). They have a +3 goal differential (9-6), in addition to advantages for shots (75-70) and shots on goal (36-28).

Smothering Defense

UTEP posted its second shutout of the season during its 2-0 win against Southern Utah on Sept. 8. The Miners didn’t allow a shot on goal in the game, marking the first time they’ve pulled that off since a season-opening win against NM State in 2009.

Road Success

UTEP went 1-0-1 on its first road trip of 2019, emerging victorious 2-1 at Grand Canyon (8/29/19) and playing to a scoreless draw at UTRGV (9/1/19). The strong play allowed the Miners to stand unbeaten on the road through two matches for the first time since 2013 (5-0-1, finished 6-2-1).

Balanced Attack

UTEP has relied on a balanced offensive approach in 2019, with seven different Miners accounting for the team’s nine goals. Seniors Danielle Carreon and Lauren Crenshaw are tied for the squad lead with two tallies while Kam Fisher, Kori Loris, Jojo Ngongo, Ayana Noel and Nicole Pugsley also have found the back of the net.

Freshmen Power

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 five of six matches, making 18 saves and recording two shutouts. Lopez had a quartet of saves before getting injured in the match against Abilene Christian (8/25/19).

Getting It Done 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.

The Basic Facts

UTEP is in its 24th season as a program, boasting an all-time record of 257-176-36. The Miners (3-1-2) are under the direction of first-year head coach Kathryn Balogun. She is assisted by Stewart Givens and Kate Ward and volunteer assistant coach Michael Balogun.

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.