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El Paso, TX — The UTEP soccer team will play host to Incarnate Word (7 p.m. Friday) and Houston Baptist (1 p.m. Sunday) as part of the Fifth-Annual Border Shootout at University Field this weekend.
There is free admission for the match-up ¬against the Cardinals (0-2-0) while tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for the contest against the Huskies (0-3-0). Fans may gain free entry to the HBU tilt by wearing a club or country soccer jersey as part of “Club & Country Day.” There is also a Soccer and Splash soccer clinic after Sunday’s game.
The Miners (2-0-1) will be aiming to build off the momentum of the 5-0 rout of New Mexico State in the FirstLight Federal Credit Union Battle of I-10 on Aug. 27.
“We have a very big weekend with our Border Bash Tournament,” UTEP head coach Kevin Cross said. “We have two top sides in town, and we are hoping for El Paso to support us in these two big games. Incarnate Word beat UTEP the last team that we played them, and Houston Baptist gave us an extremely hard match that we had to really fight hard for last year.
“They both are excellent teams, very well coached, and will give us tough matches where we will have to be at our best to win. UTEP Soccer needs to continue improving upon its last match played to be successful. We are very appreciative of El Paso’s support of UTEP Soccer.”
UTEP stands at 2-0-1 on the year, which each of the wins via shutout. The effort matches the longest such start to a season in school history, as both the 2008 and 2011 teams did so. No UTEP team has ever posted more than three consecutive shutouts to christen a campaign while the overall school standard for shutouts in a row is six (8/31-9/15/2006).
Senior Sarah Dilling has been the anchor of the stop troops with 12 saves in as many shots faced, including a season-best seven in the win against the Aggies.
Offensively the Miners broke through in a big way against NM State. After scoring once in the opening weekend of play, the Orange and Blue erupted for five goals against the Aggies. Given UTEP’s track record for putting up plenty of goals, it was only a matter of time that the flood gates opened up.
Sophomores Bri Barriero (2-2-6) and Hannah Nicholson (1-3-5) have been the catalysts while junior Angela Cutaia (1-0-2), sophomore Aleah Davis (1-0-2) and senior Mackenzie German (1-0-2) have also found the back of the net. Junior Lauren Katada (0-1-1) has pitched in with a helper.
Overall UTEP holds advantages in shots (34-26), shots on goal (22-12) and corner kicks (21-9). Perhaps the most compelling stat, though, is the fact that there have been 10 offside infractions on the opposition compared to just three on the Miners. The only area the aggression by Cross’s charges has been a hindrance has been on fouls, with 27 infractions on UTEP compared to 21 by the foes.
Incarnate Word is 0-2 on the campaign, having dropped away match-ups against Nebraska-Omaha (8/22) and Creighton (8/24) by identical 2-0 scores. The contests are part of a season-opening five-game roadtrip for the Cardinals. UIW graduated its top-three goal scorers from last year, which has led to a slower start on offense. It has been outshot 28-17, including 15-7 in shots on goal.
Incarnate Word is directed by first-year head coach Anne Felts, who was the top assistant for the past two seasons under Tina Patterson. Patterson ran the program for 20 years, piling up 246 wins in the process. Felts has championship pedigree, having won a national championship as a player at North Carolina.
This will be the second meeting all-time between the programs. The Cardinals defeated the Miners during Cross’s first campaign as head coach, 3-1, on Sept. 3, 2001.
Houston Baptist will start the weekend at NM State before venturing to El Paso. It dropped a double overtime contest to UTSA, 1-0, in its opener on Aug. 22 before being upended at Big 12 power Baylor on Aug. 24. The Huskies are in the midst of playing four straight road matches to christen the campaign.
HBU has nine starters and 15 letterwinners back from last year’s team (5-12-2), while also adding five newcomers.
While the offense has yet to click, the Huskies’ defense has been solid. HBU has allowed only three goals to date. It has been outshot30-12, but the difference for shots on goal is only 8-6.
The Huskies are directed by Misty Jones. She is 120-113-15 in her 12th season as a collegiate head coach, including 73-70-15 in her ninth year on the HBU sideline.
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