UTEP’s Vanessa Cabello | Photo by Charlie Lengal
The UTEP soccer team will open its 2021 season when it plays at Big 12 foe Texas Tech on Thursday, August 19th.
“We’re excited to play Texas Tech,” UTEP head coach Kathryn Balogun said. “They’re going to come out in a strong 4-4-2 box diamond, something we’re pretty familiar with as we’ve played it before. We’re looking to help ourselves and learn how to play through a really competitive, really high-pressing, high-tempo team.”
The Miners have 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 13-13-5 in the Sun City.
The game, set for at 6 p.m. MT/7 p.m. CT, will be streamed on ESPN+.
Start It up
The Miners are 17-6-2 in season openers since the program’s inception in 1996. Thursday’s contest marks the second straight campaign that UTEP is kicking things off with a road match against a power conference opponent. Last year the Miners were clipped, 3-1, at Arizona State on Feb. 4, 2021.
Road Games A Plenty
UTEP will play five of its first six games on the road, including match-ups at power conference members Texas Tech (Aug. 19) and nationally-ranked Texas A&M (Sept. 5). Overall on the year the Miners will have 10 road contests 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.
Facing Foes From Power Conferences
For the second straight season, UTEP will have multiple match-ups against teams from power conferences. Last year the Miners had three such games. This year they will have two contests against power five teams, playing at the Big 12’s Texas Tech (Thursday, Aug. 19) and at the SEC’s Texas A&M (Sept. 5).
The 411 On Texas Tech
Texas Tech was predicted to finish in fourth place in the Big 12 preseason poll. It was 5-6-2 last year but 15-4-3 in 2019, which resulted in its second straight trip to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Red Raiders return their leading goal scorer Kirsten Davis (four goals, two assists), in addition to Macy Schultz (three goals). Davis is a two-time All-Big 12 first team honoree with 31 career goals. Also back is GK Madison White, who two years ago was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year.
Both Davis and White were named to the Preseason All-Big 12 team.
The Miners lead the series with Texas Tech, 5-4, but the two sides have not squared off since 2009. That meeting resulted in a 4-3 win for TTU on Aug. 30, 2009.
The Miners will play host to Abilene Christian in its home opener at 1 p.m. Sunday (Aug. 22). The game is one of two nonconference contests on the schedule, with the Miners also set to square off against NM State in the Battle of I-10 on Sept. 9.
Season tickets remain on sale this week for soccer, but single-game and group tickets may also be purchased. For questions and more information, call (915) 747-UTEP, go online, or stop by the Eisenberg Family Ticket Office (Brumbelow Building on UTEP campus, 201 Glory Road) Monday thru Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For complete coverage of UTEP soccer, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPSoccer (Twitter),@UTEPMinersSoccer (Instagram) and on Facebook or click here to visit the official home of UTEP Athletics.
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