UTEP will put the finishing touches on a three-game road trip by playing at CSU Bakersfield (6 p.m. MT Friday) and Grand Canyon University (2 p.m. MT Sunday). The Miners’ (1-0-1) contest at CSUB (1-1-0) will be streamed live, for free, via the Roadrunner Sports Network.
The match Sunday against the Lopes (0-2-0) will also be streamed live, for free, with links available on GCU’s website.
“UTEP Soccer has a real challenge ahead of us playing two quality sides on the road,” head coach Kevin Cross said. “We have to be playing our very best game on the road in order to secure positive results. We are ready for the challenge as we have picked up our intensity this week.”
Scouting CSU Bakersfield
CSU Bakersfield returned eight starters from last year’s squad (6-12-3, 3-5-2 WAC). The Roadrunners were shutout on the road (L, 0-2) in their season opener at Sacramento State on Aug. 19 but bounced back with a resounding 4-2 win at home vs. Fresno State on Aug. 21.
Sabrina Delgado, the reigning WAC Offensive Player of the Week, led the offensive onslaught with a pair of goals. Sophie Freeman and Jordin Bartel also found the back of the net. Aminah Settles was credited with two helpers while Madi Giammona and Freeman each had one. Jen Padilla started and played the entirety of both games in goal. She recorded a .667 save percentage.
Series History With CSUB
Friday’s match-up is the first between the programs.
Scouting Grand Canyon University
GCU brought back nine starters and 22 letter winners from its 2015 team (7-9-3, 4-4-2 WAC). The Lopes are 0-2-0 on the season, with both setbacks coming on the road. GCU was upended, 1-0, in overtime at Eastern Washington on Aug. 19 before falling, 3-1, at Idaho on Aug. 21. Mackenzie Cook has the lone goal on the campaign for the Lopes. Blakely Fraasch has started both matches in net, posting a .636 save percentage.
Series History With GCU
UTEP downed GCU, 4-1, on Sept. 11, 2015, in El Paso in the only prior contest between the schools.
The Orange and Blue bounced NM State, 5-0, on Aug. 19 to improve to 13-2-1 in season openers under Kevin Cross and 16-4-1 all time in the situation since the program’s inception in 1996. UTEP followed that up by battling to a scoreless draw at Abilene Christian on Aug. 21.
The Miners enter this weekend at 1-0-1, and they’ve yet to yield a goal. It’s the fifth time in program history (’16, ’14, ’11, ’08 and ’97) that UTEP has opened the campaign with consecutive shutouts.
Palacios Up To The Task
Sophomore GK Alyssa Palacios recorded 13 saves total last weekend, turning away six shots in the 5-0 win vs. NM State on Aug. 19 before making seven stops in the scoreless draw at ACU on Aug. 19. She also received a big boost from the defense at ACU, with the Miners recording a pair of team saves by clearing shots off the line.
A Return To Health
Redshirt-freshmen Jodie Enokson-MF and Paige Harm-D and redshirt-senior Keighton Allen-GK all missed the 2015 season with injuries. In a testament to the UTEP athletic training and strength and conditioning staffs, each rehabbed and played in the opening weekend. Enokson appeared in both matches and converted a penalty kick vs. NM State. Harm and Allen also earned playing time against the Aggies.
New Faces Making Impact
Eight newcomers made their debut last weekend, including four true freshmen (Danielle Carreon-F, Lauren Crenshaw-D, Kori Lewis-D and Natalie Valentine-MF) who started both matches. Emily Blaettner-MF, Priscilla Garcia-F, Devyn Hunley-MF (junior-college transfer) and Kobi McNutt-F earned playing time off the bench. Blaettner scored a highlight-reel goal in the 5-1 win vs. NM State. UTEP’s 10 true freshmen on the roster are the second most during the Kevin Cross era; the 2013 unit had 12 such players.
Five different Miners (senior Aleah Davis-14:30, senior Bri Barreiro-45:51, senior Bri Thomas-67:25, freshman Emily Blaettner-73:07 and redshirt-freshman Jodie Enokson-84:02) scored for the Miners vs. NM State on Aug. 19. Davis had two assists while sophomore Carleigh Simmons, Thomas, Barreiro and sophomore Yesenia Contreras also added helpers. It marked the first career assist for Contreras. For Davis, it was the third time of her career that she has recorded two helpers in a contest.
The Basic Facts
UTEP is in its 21st season as a program, boasting an all-time record of 227-149-29, including 1-0-1 this year. The Miners are under the direction of 16th-year head coach Kevin Cross, who sports a mark of 185-101-22 in that timeframe. He is assisted by two former Miners (Heather Clark and Jessie Pettit). UTEP returned 12 letter winners, including nine starters, from last year’s team (11-7-2, 4-4-2 C-USA).
UTEP has strong leaders in place with a seven-member senior class (Keighton Allen-GK, Alexa Bain-D, Bri Barreiro-MF, Aleah Davis-MF/D, Nicole Lindsay-MF, Morgan Rasmason-GK and Bri Thomas-F).
Following the weekend’s road games, the Miners return home to play host to Wyoming (7 p.m. MT, Sept. 2) and Texas State (12 p.m., Sept. 4). Fans who wear USA gear get in free vs. Wyoming while there will be free doughnuts (while supplies last) courtesy of Krispy Kreme vs. Texas State.