Oct. 9, 2008
UTEP Welcomes Defending C-USA Champ UCF To Town
The UTEP soccer team is set to battle 2007 Conference USA co-champion UCF at 7 p.m. at University Field. The match is the third of a four-game league homestand for the Orange and Blue while the Knights are opening up a brief two-tilt roadswing.
The Basic Facts
UTEP enters the match against UCF at 9-4 on the year and 2-2 in Conference USA play. The Knights, who have been nationally ranked this year and currently possess an RPI of 26, boast respective records of 7-3-2 and 2-1-1. The Miners have done a tremendous job of defending their home turf, sporting a mark of 8-1 at University Field in 2008. UCF has been strong in hostile territory, checking in at 3-2-1 on the road.
Miners Right In The Thick Of Things
By virtue of its 2-2 start in Conference USA play, the Miners find themselves right in the thick of things early on. UTEP’s six points places it tied for fifth place, but it is only one-point shy of fourth-place UCF, three points short of second-place Colorado College/Rice and four points behind league leader East Carolina.
Expanded C-USA Slate Picking Up Steam
The tilt vs. UCF marks the fifth of 11 Conference USA contests for the Miners this year (six at home and five on the road). In prior years, there were nine league games for each of the 12-teams which comprise C-USA in women’s soccer.
Miners Topple UAB, 2-1
Behind goals from Jo Radcliffe and Chelsea Winbush, the UTEP soccer team knocked off UAB, 2-1, in a wind and rain-soaked match at University Field on Oct. 5. Cara Nordin played a large role in the triumph, controlling the middle of the pitch for UTEP. She also secured her team-leading fourth and fifth assists on the campaign, setting up both Radcliffe and Winbush with breath-taking passes. The Miners’ stop troops had the ultimate bend but don’t mentality, coming up with the big plays when they needed them most. Freshmen GKs Sara Kaltwasser and Chandra Morden registered six saves, including five in the first half, to help lead the way.
Not Too Shocking Considering….
The victory against the Blazers moved the Orange and Blue to 8-1 since 2002 in the ensuing game following a home setback or tie. Furthermore, UTEP has drubbed the opposition by a combined figure of 32-3 in those tilts.
Historic Win For Coach Cross
The triumph against the Blazers was especially sweet for head coach Kevin Cross, who secured his 100th career triumph as result. His record entering the UCF tilt stands at a staggering 100-47-6. The accomplishment is the latest of many for Cross, who has been the architect behind building the Orange and Blue into a regional and national power.
Next Triumph To Extend School-Record Streak
If the Miners can knock off UCF on Friday, they would pick up their 10th win of 2008. It would mark the program-best seventh straight year with at least 10 triumphs, all of which have been under head coach Kevin Cross’ guidance. The Miners only surpassed the 10-victory barrier one time in the five years prior to Cross’ appointment as head coach, thanks to a 13-win effort by the 1998 squad.
Miners Remain Resilient Bunch During Cross Era
While the Miners have not lost often during the Kevin Cross era, they have proven to be quite capable of dealing with adversity. Thanks to the win vs. UAB on Oct. 5, the Orange and Blue improved to 7-0 when faced with looking to an a two-match setback skid. Furthermore, UTEP has out-scored the opposition to the tune of 16-6 in those tilts.
Successive Setbacks Have Been Extremely Rare
UTEP has been the epitome of consistent success during the Kevin Cross era. One way of proving that point is the fact that the Miners have been saddled with consecutive losing streaks only seven times (only four in league matches) since 2002. That is a span of 137 matches, making the achievement even more impressive.
20 Multiple Win Streaks In Time Frame
While UTEP has experienced consecutive setbacks only seven times since 2002, there has been no such problem in finding a way to win a bunch of games in a row. Consider the following. In that same time frame, UTEP has posted 20 separate win streaks of at least two consecutive contests. The breakdown for each of the streaks is as follows;
· 12 game-win streak (once)
· 11 game win streak (once)
· Seven-game win streak (once)
· Six-game win streak (once)
· Five-game win streak (three times)
· Four-game win streak (once)
· Three-game win streak (seven times)
· Two-game win streak (five times).
Needless to say, that is certainly a lot more winning than losing.
Conference Win Streaks Common As Well
Along the lines of the previous note, the Orange and Blue have experienced 11 different unbeaten streaks of at least two matches in league play dating to 2002. Needless to say, that is certainly much more multiple-game win streaks compared to successive setbacks.
Home Still Rather Sweet
Although UTEP was dealt its initial home setback against Memphis on Oct. 3, it has nothing to be ashamed of. The Miners enter Friday’s match vs. UCF at 8-1 in the Sun City this year, having out-scored the opposition to the tune of 18-8 in those games. Furthermore, UTEP has registered 128 shots compared to a paltry 75 by its foes.
Plenty Of Success In The Sun City Since 2002
Maybe it is the higher altitude, maybe it is the passionate and rambunctious fans, or maybe it is the fact that the UTEP soccer team has been quite talented since 2002. Whatever the reason is, the Miners have been simply incredible in defending their home pitch the past seven seasons. UTEP has compiled a dazzling record of 58-7-2 in El Paso during that period. But wait, there’s more. In those 67 contests, UTEP has out-scored the opposition to the tune of 211-53. For the math fans, the average score of a UTEP home game since 2002 is UTEP 3.2, its Opponent, 0.8.
UTEP Leading C-USA In Home Attendance Again
UTEP, which has paced Conference USA in attendance the past two years, is well on its way to doing so for a third consecutive season with the way fans have flocked to the University Field in 2008. Through nine home matches, the Miners have attracted a league-best average of 573 fans per match. No other school in C-USA can boast at least 610 fans per match, let alone the near 600 the Orange and Blue claim. UAB is the closest threat to the Miners, checking in with 471 fans per tilt.
Miners Love The Big Crowds
For some teams, playing in front of a big crowd at home can be intimidating. That is certainly not the case for UTEP during Kevin Cross’ tenure, and the squad proved so again vs. Air Force on Sept. 19. For the Miners, it is a simple equation. The larger the crowd, the better they play. The breakdown for UTEP’s record in correlation for the crowd size is as follows:
· 1,000+ fans- 5-0
· 900+ fans- 6-0
· 800+ fans- 6-0
· 700+ fans- 6-1
· 600+fans- 14-0
· 500+fans- 17-1-2
· 400+fans- 26-3-2.
Miners’ “D” Shutting Down The Opposition
UTEP’s stop troops have been sterling in 2008, holding the opposition to 1.1 goal per game. That figure would rank as the second-best average in program history if the year ended today. The school standard is 0.95, courtesy of the 2006 Miners.
Nothing New Under Cross
The fact that the Miners’ defense has been difficult to decode in 2008 should come as no surprise, as stingy play on the back line has been a staple during the Kevin Cross era. Seven of UTEP’s top eight GAA have come under Cross’ watchful eye.
Less Shots Helping Ease Pressure On Freshmen GKS
UTEP’s defense has done a good job of shielding freshmen goalkeepers Sara Kaltwasser and Chandra Morden from being asked to do too much in their inaugural campaigns. The Miners have held their foes to 10.3 shots and 5.2 shots on goals per game. UTEP’s best effort in regards to those categories in program history was in 2002, when the Orange and Blue smothered their foes to the tune of 9.8/4.9.
Miners’ Offense Have Been Balanced Throughout Year
Through 13 matches this year, the Miners’ 23 goals have come from nine different players. Cortney Casey and Tameka Sumter are the ringleaders (five/four), followed by three from Brandi Aston and Chelsea Winbush. Cara Nordin and Brittany Vacca each have lit up the scoreboard twice while Melissa Desilets, Katie Dorman and Jessie Pettit have provided one strike a piece.
Quite A Contrast From A Year Ago
While the Orange and Blue were also talented offensively in 2007, they were much more dependant on the play of their top forwards. Through 13 games last year, all but six of their tallies were courtesy of four players.
What Does All Of This Mean
The bottom line behind UTEP being much more balanced in its attack is the fact that the opposition can no longer focus on shutting down one or two players. Rather, the Miners’ foes must be concerned with a multitude of players, which certainly eases the pressure on individuals such as Cortney Casey and Tameka Sumter.
Miners Almost Doubling Up The Opposition
UTEP enters the tilt vs. UCF having out-scored its foes by a combined tally of 22-13 in 2008. Additionally, the Miners have registered 172 shots compared to 138 for the opposition.
Miners Atop C-USA For Overall Wins
Heading into the UCF match, the UTEP soccer team owns an overall mark of 9-4-0. The nine wins rank tied as the most overall victories of any Conference USA squad.
Simply The Best
The UTEP soccer team has been the standard bearer since joining Conference USA in 2005, boasting the most overall wins, fewest total losses and top winning percentage in the 12-team league. Entering the match vs. UCF, the Miners’ record during that timeframe stands a dazzling 57-21-3 (.722 win percentage).
In A Class Of Their Own
No other school can even come close to matching UTEP’s exploits since 2005. Memphis, is second in overall victories with 46- (10 behind UTEP) while Colorado College (.669) is the closest in win percentage.
Getting To Know UTEP Soccer
· The city of El Paso is certainly fortunate to have such an impressive soccer program at UTEP. While it may not be common knowledge across the nation, head coach Kevin Cross has guided the Miners to incredible heights.
· UTEP boasts a Conference USA best 57 wins since joining the league in 2005. The next closest team is Memphis, checking in with 46.
· The Miners’ lay claim to 97 victories since 2002 to rank tied for 14th nationally
· The Orange and Blue are fifth in the country for goals scored since 2002
· UTEP won a school-record 20 games in 2005 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament by defeating Texas. The Miners finished the year with a national ranking of 31st, tops in C-USA
· The Miners have claimed the top GPA in the athletics department five times since 2002
· UTEP has earned 52 league and national academic awards since 2005
· The Miners have garnered 42 league and national athletic awards since 2005
Four Shutouts In 2008
UTEP enters the match against UCF with four wins via the shutout. That figure ranks ninth-highest single-season total in program history.
Newcomers Playing Well Beyond Years
Entering the match vs. UCF, UTEP’s newcomers have proven to be crucial to their 9-4 start. Offensively, newcomers have accounted for 14 points. At the other end of the pitch, Brittany Gonzalez has earned every start at sweeper. And let’s not forget the freshmen GKs (Chandra Morden and Sara Kaltwasser) who have teamed up to post a 1.07 GAA average and a respectable 79.7 save percentage.
Sumter Climbing Career Goals List
Tameka Sumter enters the match against UCF with 28 career goals, to stand alone in third place all time at the institution. Up next in her radar is former assistant coach Holly Cohen, who tallied 31 strikes.
Nordin Doing So With Points
Those close to the UTEP soccer program know just how talented a player Cara Nordin is. For those not paying close attention, maybe the fact that thanks to her two-assist effort against UAB Nordin now ranks tied for third all time at UTEP in points. Entering the match against UCF, Nordin’s career point total stands at 71 (26 goals/19 assists). She trails only current assistant coach Kelly Parker (84 points) and former great Jami Tullius (112).
Not To Mention Assists
Cara Nordin is also rapidly climbing the all-time charts for assists, having racked up 19 career helpers. The effort places her in a deadlock for third all time at UTEP. Her next helper will put Nordin alone in third, with only Kelly Parker (30) and Kia Sams (24) having registered more.
Casey Cracks Top 10 In Career Goals
Senior Cortney Casey’s tally in the setback against Memphis on Oct. 3 was the 20th of her career. The effort allowed Casey to enter the top 10 for the category all time at UTEP.
Has A Flair For The Dramatic
Senior Cortney Casey has played a big role in the Miners’ success this year, racking up a team-leading five goals along with two assists for a squad-best 12 points. Perhaps her most impressive stat in 2008, though, is the fact that she has secured a Conference USA best three match-winning strikes. The tallies have lifted her career total for that category to seven, which places her sixth all time at UTEP.
Winbush Thriving In New Role
Junior Chelsea Winbush, who was moved from defense to midfield prior to the tilt against Air Force on Sept. 19, has flourished at her new position. She has accounted for three goals and two assists in that timeframe. Making her exploits even more impressive is the fact that Winbush, a career defender, entered 2008 with only two points her first two years in the Sun City.
Who Needs The Media Guide Anyways
While freshman midfielder Katie Dorman may not be in the 2008 UTEP soccer media guide, she will certainly be a household name with Miner fans by year’s end at the rate she is going. The homeschooled native of El Paso joined the team following training camp, and quickly made an impression with the Miners’ coaching staff. Dorman is the only reserve to have played in every match, and was the first sub off the bench in four of those contests.
Memphis Edges UTEP, 2-1
The UTEP soccer team was dealt a hard-fought 2-1 loss by Memphis at University Field on Oct. 3. Senior Cortney Casey tallied her team-leading fifth goal of 2008 (10th minute), but the Lady Tigers snuck past the Miners behind tallies from Kylie Hayes (sixth minute) and Lauren Laufenberg (39th minute). The latter strike came on a penalty kick.
Corner Kicks Galore
The Miners earned a season-high 10 corner kicks against Memphis, compared to just one for the Lady Tigers.
UTEP Tripped Up At SMU
The UTEP soccer team battled hard but came up short at SMU, 1-0, on Sept. 28 in a contest televised nationally by CBS College Sports. A tally by the Mustangs’ Lauren Shepherd in the 75th minute proved to be the difference. UTEP played extremely well in spite of the loss, registering 16 shots. SMU netminder Courtney Webb was credited with five stops, but it was only due to a few unlucky plays that UTEP did not light up the scoreboard. Senior Brandi Aston rifled a shot that beat Webb only 10 minutes in, but the try clanked off the post. In the waning minutes of the match, Jo Radcliffe’s blast appeared destined for the back of the net. The try sailed over the arms of a helpless Webb, but instead of proving to be the game-tying-goal it crashed off the crossbar.
Kaltwasser Impresses Despite Setback
Freshman GK Sara Kaltwasser registered a career-high seven stops at SMU on Sept. 28. Included among those wife five stops in a furious seven-minute span by the Mustangs, which kept the match scoreless at the time Lauren Shepherd was the only Mustang who managed to best Kaltwasser, and that strike came on a point-blank try.
UTEP Storms Past Tulsa, 4-1
The UTEP soccer team raced out to a 2-0 lead at the half on the way to trouncing Tulsa, 4-1, on the road in the Conference USA opener for both squads on Sept. 26. Brandi Aston, Cortney Casey, Cara Nordin and Brittany Vacca each scored for the Orange and Blue, with Aston, Nordin and Tameka Sumter earning assists to boot. Freshman GK Sara Kaltwasser was solid in net for the Miners, making three saves.
Hey, Don’t Forget About Us
The Miners’ offense might have been overshadowed by the play of the stop troops in the 4-1 at Tulsa on Sept. 26, but it certainly shouldn’t be taken for granted. Entering the contest, the Golden Hurricane had permitted a mere six goals through the first 10 matches of the season.
Balanced Attack Does In Tulsa
Not only did the Miners torch TU with four goals, but it did so with four different players providing the strikes. It marked the third straight game in which all of the goals in the game for the Orange and Blue were courtesy of different players.
Two Straight C-USA Opening Wins Vs. TU
UTEP’s 4-1 triumph at Tulsa on Sept. 26 allowed the Orange and Blue to start 1-0 in Conference USA play for the second straight year. Ironically, both of those wins have come at the hands of the Golden Hurricane. Last year, the Miners derailed Tulsa, 2-1, in front of a then school-record crowd of 1,269 fans on Oct. 5, 2007.
UTEP Continued To Thrive In Conference Lid Lifters
By virtue of the 4-1 win at Tulsa on Sept. 26, the Miners moved to 7-3-3 all time in conference openers in program history, including a sizzling 4-1-3 under head coach Kevin Cross. UTEP improved to 2-1-1 in league lid lifters since joining Conference USA, a respectable mark considering three of those matches were played in hostile territory.
Stop Troops Come Up Big At Tulsa
The Miners’ defense stepped in a big way in the 4-1 win at Tulsa on Sept. 26. The Orange and Blue limited the Golden Hurricane to nine shots, only five of which were on target. Furthermore, TU mustered only four corner kicks.
Just How Good Had Tulsa’s ‘O’ Been?
The effort by UTEP’s defense was particularly impressive considering the vaunted offensive attack the Golden Hurricane had displayed in their prior nine matches. TU entered the tilt having paced C-USA in corner kicks goals (58/6.4), goals (30 overall/3.3), shots (170 overall/18.9 per game). Moreover, ranked sixth in the country for goals per game heading into the showdown against the Miners.
Goals A Plenty To Kick Off Conference Play In Fine Fashion
The Miners’ offense produced four goals in the triumph at Tulsa on Sept. 26, equaling the second-highest goal total in a league lid lifter in program history. The school record for this stat came in 2002, when UTEP dropped Nevada, 6-0, in the initial conference match on Oct. 4, 2002.
UTEP Dispatches Northern Colorado, 3-1
A balanced offensive attack and a strong defensive effort across the board proved to be a winning combination for the UTEP soccer team against Northern Colorado, with the Miners dispatching the Bears 3-1 at University Field on Sept. 21. Brandi Aston, Cortney Casey and Chelsea Winbush each scored for the Orange and Blue. Aston, Casey, Melissa Desilets, Brittany Vacca and Winbush all picked up assists. Freshmen goalkeepers Chandra Morden and Sara Kaltwasser combined to register six saves in leading the stop troops.
Another Tournament, Another Title
The Miners’ 3-1 triumph against Northern Colorado on Sept. 21 propelled them to the title of the 2008 edition of the Border Shootout. Furthermore, it marked the third tournament crown on the year for the Orange and Blue. UTEP also took home the championship at the Miners’ Classic from Aug. 29-31 and the Sun City Invite from Sept. 5-7.
Did Anyone Say Déjà-Vu?
Thanks to the aforementioned three in-season tournament wins, the 2008 version of the UTEP soccer team stands alongside the record-setting 2005 squad to have achieved the feat. Coincidentally, that was the year that the Miners won a school-record 20 games and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament. UTEP’s fate for 2008 remains to be seen, but they are certainly off to a sizzling start at 8-4 through 12 games.
Cap Non-Conference Play On A High Note
By virtue of the victories the weekend of Sept. 19, the Miners were able to finish non-league action on a two-game win streak and at 7-2 overall. That effort should come as no surprise, though, to those who follow the UTEP soccer program closely. The Orange and Blue boast a dazzling mark of 33-8-1 in non-conference action since 2005.
Winbush Makes C-USA Women’s Soccer
UTEP junior Chelsea Winbush was selected as the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week, the league office announced on Sept. 22, making C-USA women’s soccer history in the process. Winbush, who was chosen as the C-USA Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 23, 2006, during her freshman campaign, becomes the first player in the annals of C-USA women’s soccer to have earned an offensive and defensive weekly award during a career. Since 1997 (the first year that C-USA awarded weekly winners for both offense and defense), there have been 244 players of the week awards (127 on offense and 117 on defense) handed out to 164 different players. While there have been some tremendously talented individuals in that bunch, Winbush stands alone in her all-around ability.
League Honors Nothing New For UTEP
While the offensive player of the week was the first of its kind for Chelsea Winbush, recognition from Conference USA is certainly nothing new for the Miners. Since joining the league, UTEP has now claimed 15 player of the week awards. To truly appreciate that fact, consider that the Miners had a combined 14 POW winners from 1996-2004.
UTEP Soars Past Air Force, 3-1
Melissa Desilets, Brittany Vacca and Chelsea Winbush each scored their first goals in 2008 to lead the UTEP soccer team to a decisive 3-1 victory against Air Force on the opening night of the ninth-annual Border Shootout at University Field on Sept. 19.
What A Crowd!
A raucous crowd of 951 was on hand to urge the Miners to victory against Air Force on Sept 19. It marked the sixth-largest attendance in the 12-year history of the program. Moreover, UTEP moved to 11-0 under Kevin Cross when playing in front of a crowd which eclipsed the 900-fan barrier.
Now That’s Balance
The Miners could not have been more balanced during their dispatching of Air Force on Sept. 19. Three different players accounted for each of the goals (Melissa Desilets, Brittany Vacca and Chelsea Winbush) while two more individuals picked up assists. Tameka Sumter set up Winbush’s strike, and Cara Nordin was credited with a helper on the insurance tally by Desilets.
UTEP Edged At Utah State
UTEP soccer team fought hard but ultimately fell, 2-1, at Utah State on Sept. 14. Cara Nordin’s first goal of the year afforded the Miners a 1-0 lead 11 minutes in, but the Aggies rallied behind strikes from Lauren Hansen (27th minute) and Erin Salmon (31st minute). Outside of a challenging four-minute stretch in which Utah State decoded the Orange and Blue’s defense, the Miners played rather well. UTEP registered 10 shots, including five on goal, while earning four corner kicks.
Morden Responds To Busy Workload In Utah
Freshman Chandra Morden, whose season for saves in a match heading into the Sept. 12 match at Weber State, was tested early and often by the Wildcats. The native of Winnipeg handled the larger quantity of shots (WSU had 23 shots, including 12 on goal) quite well, coming up with 10 stops. Morden followed that stellar performance up by turning away five shots at Utah State on Sept. 14.
Miners Tripped Up At Weber State
The UTEP soccer team was dealt its initial loss of the 2008 season after Weber State crept past the Miners, 2-0, at PE Playfield on Sept. 12. Freshman Kierstin Wood provided both tallies for the Wildcats (27th minute and 81st minute). The Orange and Blue recorded eight shots (three of which were on goal) but could not find a way to beat WSU netminder Rebecca Ritchie.
Miners Claim Sun City Invite Crown
The UTEP soccer team defeated South Dakota, 4-3, in a wild back-and-forth affair on Sept. 5 before dispatching Houston Baptist, 2-0, on the way to securing the Sun City Invitational title. Cortney Casey, Jessie Pettit and Tameka Sumter each tallied four points to lead the offensive attack at tournament. The Miners' defense had some uncharacteristic breakdowns in the match against the Coyotes but responded in a big way vs. previously unbeaten HBU. UTEP's stop troops did not permit the Huskies to register a shot on goal on the way to securing their fourth shutout.
Looked Especially Impressive In Title Match
UTEP dominated the tilt against Houston Baptist from the opening whistle on the way to a 2-0 triumph on Sept. 7. The Miners held a staggering advantage of 23-3 in shots, including 11 which were on target. HBU garnered only one corner kick, compared to the 10 earned by the Miners. Moreover, the Wildcats could not muster a shot on net.
Defense Back On Track
After an uncharacteristic showing by the Miners’ defense in the 4-3 triumph against South Dakota on Sept. 5, UTEP’s stop troops reverted to form in the victory against Houston Baptist on Sept. 7. The Miners permitted only three shots in the game, none of which were on net.
Putting That Feat Into Perspective
By not allowing Houston Baptist to register a shot on goal, the 2008 edition of the Miners joined a very exclusive group at the institution. It marked the first time since 2003 (achieved twice) and just the fifth time since the program’s inception in 1996 that an opponent could not muster a shot on target.
Morden Claims C-USA Honor
UTEP freshman goalkeeper Chandra Morden was tabbed as the Conference USA defensive player of the week after turning in sterling performances in a pair of 1-0 UTEP wins the weekend of Sept. 5. She registered consecutive shutouts to help lead the Orange and Blue to the crown at the 11th-Annual Miners Classic. The native of Winnipeg registered six saves, including four stops against Texas State on Aug 29. Against the Bobcats, two of the stops were of the point-blank variety while another was made while using perfect technique to punch a shot over the net. For an encore, Morden registered two saves while flying off her line twice to secure potentially dangerous through balls in the tilt against Louisiana Lafayette.
Distinct Keeper Flavor With Morden’s Honor
Chandra Morden’s recognition marked the sixth time in the past seven years that an Orange and Blue goalkeeper has been so honored. Kyla Clark, Carol Moore, Brittany Popoff and Jessica Salvi reaped a combined eight awards during that timeframe. What makes Morden’s achievement stand out is that of those eight honors, seven were snared by upperclassmen.
UTEP Holds Off South Dakota, 4-3
In a wild back-and-forth affair, senior Cortney Casey’s clutch goal with six minutes remaining proved to be the difference in UTEP’s emotional 4-3 victory against South Dakota at University Field on Sept. 5. The match had the makings of a blow-out early on, with the Orange and Blue racing out to a 2-0 lead less than 25 minutes in. Uncharacteristic defensive breakdowns by UTEP in the final 15 minutes of the opening stanza allowed the Coyotes to tie the match, though, and suddenly the Miners found themselves in an unwanted dog fight. South Dakota forged ahead at the onset of the second half courtesy of a strike by Katie Quinones, but the Miners kept their composure. The approach paid off as Tameka Sumter’s second goal on the night tied the contest with 21 minutes left. Following the strike, UTEP elevated its intensity, and Casey’s heroics capped the comeback.
UTEP Wins Every Stat Battle, Including The Most Important One
In soccer, the most important stat is obviously the final score. But other stats (such as shots, corner kicks earned for example, often correspond directly with the outcome of the match). That wasn’t quite the case for the UTEP soccer team during its heart-pounding 4-3 victory against South Dakota on Sept. 5. UTEP out-played USD in almost every facet of the game, holding a 24-7 edge on shots- including 12-5 in shots on goal- not to mention a 9-3 advantage in corner kicks, yet found itself deadlocked late. Fortunately for the Miners, the match against the Coyotes simply went down as a close call.
Firsts All Around
Melissa Desilets, Jo Radcliff and Brittany Vacca each notched their first assists of the 2008 campaign in the 4-3 victory against South Dakota on Sept. 5.
All Good Things Come To An End
The 4-3 triumph against South Dakota on Sept. 5 brought to a close of the incredible defensive effort by the Orange and Blue at the onset of the campaign. The Miners had posted three straight shutouts, marking the first time in program history it had accomplished that feat to kick off the year. The 1997 squad previously held the standard with two shutouts to open the year.
Couldn’t Have Lasted Forever
In knocking off Louisiana Lafayette on Aug. 31, the Miners picked up their third straight 1-0 victory. Prior to 2008, UTEP had never posted consecutive 1-0 blankings. While the streak game to the end against South Dakota on Sept. 5, the Miners’ offense did come alive with four goals to carry the squad to the 4-3 win.
Shots Had Been At A Premium
UTEP limited the opposition to 19 shots, only seven of which were on net, in the first three games, mark. It was the fewest combined shots allowed/on goal in the opening three contests in program history, topping the record of the 1997 squad (23/13 by the 1997 team). The breakdown for each year is as follows: 2007, 40/19. 2006, 27/16. 2005, 50/14. 2004, 24/16. 2003, 26/17. 2002, 32/25. 2001, 37/21. 2000, 42/17. 1999, 33/22. 1998, 48/23. 1997, 23/13. 1996, 51/42.
More Fun With Defense And The Numbers.
As noted earlier, UTEP’s defense through three games was the best it had been to start a season. It was also impressive regardless of time in the season, as the last time UTEP had allowed fewer than 19 shots in a span of three consecutive games was in 2003.
Looking Back At The Miners’ Classic
The Miners turned in stellar showings on the way to notching the crown at the 11th-Annual Miners’ Classic. UTEP knocked off Texas State and Louisiana Lafayette by identical 1-0 scores. Freshman goalkeeper Chandra Morden earned both of the triumphs, making a combined six saves. Junior Tameka Sumter provided the offense with the gamewinning strikes in each match.
Boast Seven Miner Classic Titles Now
By virtue of the efforts against Texas State and Louisiana Lafayette, UTEP has now won the Miners’ Classic seven times. The Orange and Blue’s showing continued their domination of the event, improving their all-time record at the tournament to 19-4-0. Moreover, they have out-scored the opposition 73-14.
Another Goalie, Another Win
A week after freshman GK Sara Kaltwasser helped lead UTEP to a 1-0 victory against Baylor, fellow classmate Chandra Morden was called upon against Texas State. The end result was the same, with the Miners posting a 1-0 victory. Morden was sharp in the match, making four stops on the way to securing her initial collegiate win.
Miners Down Big 12 Foe Baylor To Kick Off 2008 In Fine Fashion
The UTEP soccer team kicked off its 2008 campaign in fine fashion with a 1-0 triumph against Baylor on at University Field on Aug. 22. Senior Brandi Aston put the Miners ahead with a goal at the 18th minute, and UTEP’s suffocating defense did the rest. The Miners limited the Bears to only two shots, both of which came in the latter stages of the game as they frantically sent players ahead.
Season Openers And Shutouts Quite The Rage
UTEP has experienced tremendous success in campaign lid lifters (10-3 all time and 7-1 under Kevin Cross). The Miners aren’t content simply by winning those tilts. Rather, they take aim at shutouts. By blanking Baylor, 1-0, it marked the second season-opening shutout in the past three years. Moreover, it is the third shutout in a campaign lidlifter under Cross.
Been A Long Time Coming For Aston
Brandi Aston, who due to unforeseen circumstances at the onset of the 2007 season forced her to sit out as a medical redshirt, was back and better than ever against Baylor on Aug. 22. The senior buried a shot in the 18th minute, and UTEP’s defense made it stand up as the game-winning goal. It marked her first strike since Oct. 29, 2006, in a 4-0 triumph at Marshall.
In Case You Need A History Lesson
Individuals who have followed the UTEP soccer program in recent years know what Brandi Aston did against Baylor is exactly the type of play she is capable of when healthy. But if you are a new Miner fan, or simply are in need of a quick refresher about the Deer Park, Texas, native, this is the place to be. In 2006, Aston’s last full year as a Miner, she was second on the team in goals (eight) and fourth in points (24).
Pettit Shined In Debut
Freshman midfielder Jessie Pettit played a phenomenal match in her debut for the Miners. In 84 minutes of action, Pettit showed poise not often found in rookies and came up with a game-deciding play in the 18th minute. She stepped in front of a pass by a Baylor defender and then deftly touched the ball to Brandi Aston. UTEP’s senior forward rifled a blast that beat the Bears’ keeper for the game-winning-tally.
Not To Put Pressure On Pettit, But…
Jessie Pettit registered the game-winning assist in the Miners’ 1-0 toppling of Baylor on Aug. 22. The last Miner newcomer to be credited with the match-winning helper in a season-opening triumph was Anoop Josan in 2006. The Edmonton, Alberta, native set-up former Orange and Blue standout Melissa Abraham’s strike in a 1-0 victory at Air Force on Aug. 25, 2006. Josan would go on to post 14 assists that year, which doubled the freshman school standard and ranked second all time in program annals.
Fans As Far As The Eye Can See
UTEP soccer, which has led Conference USA in attendance the past two seasons, traditionally receives tremendous support from the institution, city and surrounding area. Things were taken to another level on Aug. 22 against Baylor, when the Miners put on a show for a program-best 1,426 fans.
Kaltwasser Steady In Net
While she may have not registered an official save, freshman netminder Sara Kaltwasser performed admirably in her collegiate debut against the Bears. She was vocal throughout, and made a key play to break up a dangerous situation midway through the second stanza. At the 67-minute mark, Baylor lifted a ball into the box. Kaltwasser read the play perfectly, and punched the ball out of harms way while surrounded by a myriad of players.
Seven Miners Debut Overall
Seven players made their debuts for the Orange and Blue against Baylor, including three who earned starting nods. Brittany Gonzalez (defense), Sara Kaltwasser (goalkeeper) and Jessie Pettit (midfield) were part of the top 11. Katie Dorman, Felicia Jones, Brittany Thornton and Brittany Vacca all appeared in the match in reserve roles. Dorman, a former walk-on who was added to the roster after training camp, was the first sub off the bench. She played 31 minutes, registering a shot.
Taylor Saves The Day
The excitement stemming from the home opener was almost all for not, as Baylor had a great chance at the equalizer with less than 10 minutes to play in the match. Junior defender Neresa Taylor had other ideas, though, heading away a would-be strike while standing on the goal line perfectly positioned. The fundamentally sound defensive play was the lone save credited to the Miners during the match, as the only other shot Baylor managed in the contest was well wide of the target.
Defense Smothers Baylor
UTEP’s defense smothered Baylor by limiting it to only two shots, marking the lowest shot total by a Miner opponent since 2003. The Miners limited Sam Houston State to one try on Sept. 14, 2003, during a 5-0 UTEP triumph.
Miners Know How To Start Season Right
By virtue of the triumph against the Bears, UTEP improved to 7-1-0 in campaign lid lifters under head coach Kevin Cross. The lone setback came coincidentally in 2004 at the hands of Texas State, 3-2, in double overtime. Overall, UTEP is 10-3 in program history in season-opening contests.
More On Campaign Lid Lifters
Not only did the Miners improve to 10-3 in season-opening matches by defeating Baylor, but they have now out-scored the opposition 44-15 in the initial contest of the campaign.
Respect, Not Fear, For Miners When Taking On BCS Programs
One of the principles head coach Kevin Cross has instilled since assuming control of the program has been an attitude of respecting your opponent, but not being afraid of it. There is nothing better to prove that point than to look at UTEP’s effort against Baylor in the 1-0 season-opening win. The outcome improved the Miners to 8-1 against BCS schools since 2002.
Program-Best 13 Home Games On Tap
The Miners will play at University Field early and often in 2008, with the end result being a school-record 13 home matches on the docket.
Looking To Lead C-USA In Attendance Again
The UTEP soccer team has paced Conference USA in average home attendance the past two years, and it has aspirations of doing so again in 2008. The Miners attracted 6,470 fans to their 11 home tilts in 2007, an average of 588 per match. Both the overall total and the average were the best in the program’s 12-year history.
Nordin Set For Senior Season… Finally
UTEP midfielder Cara Nordin may have taken longer than expected to reach her senior year, but she is certainly excited that the moment has arrived. There were times that it seemed like she would never make it to this position, but the Kamloops, B.C. native never lost hope. Even when she was sidelined for more than a year with a lower leg injury that she sustained during spring of 2006, her spirits remained high.
Rewarded For Her Persistence
Due to her attitude and mental toughness skills she’s displayed throughout her career with the Miners, Cara Nordin has been appointed the captain of the 2008 edition of the Miners. Traditionally soccer teams have more than one captain, but Nordin is the type of individual who is so well respected by her teammates that she is up to the task.
Hoping To Go Back In Time
Cara Nordin returned to the pitch in 2007 after being sidelined for more than a year with that nagging lower leg injury. She contributed one goal and a pair of assists while re-acclimating herself to the college game. Heading into 2008, Nordin looks like she has re-gained her form that made her such a magical player during her freshman and sophomore campaigns with the Orange and Blue.
Josan Could Showcase Talents On Grand Stage
Junior Anoop Josan will redshirt the 2008 season, in hopes of playing for Team Canada at the 2008 U-20 Women’s World Cup later this fall. Josan has trained for the team in years past, and has been invited to vie for a roster spot. While UTEP will certainly miss her presence in the middle of the pitch, the opportunity for Josan to compete for her native country at an event of such prestige is simply too much to pass up.
Looking Back At The 2007 Season
The Miners went 13-7-2, including 8-1-2 at home, on the way to advancing to the semifinals of the 2007 Conference USA tournament. The Orange and Blue had a never say die attitude a year ago, evidenced by six come-from-behind victories. A 33-9 advantage in the second half played a large role in that aspect of the team. Individually, senior Jami Tullius was named the 2007 Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year. She had a banner campaign, leading the Miner’s prolific offense in assists, goals and points. Additionally, Tameka Sumter earned all-league honors by virtue of 27 points on 11 goals and five assists.
Plenty Of New Faces
While the Miners returned a talented group of 10 letterwinners from last year’s team that posted a 13-7-2 record, there certainly is not a shortage of newcomers on the 2008 roster. Eleven rookies were added since the end of last year. The breakdown was as follows; nine freshmen and two junior-college transfers.
Senior Class Small In Numbers Only
While the 2008 senior class consists of only three individuals (Brandi Aston, Cortney Casey and Cara Nordin), don’t count them out. The trio has played a large role in the Miners success since arriving in the Sun City, and has a good chance to go down as the winningest class in program history. Since the start of 2005, the Orange and Blue boast a record of 55-20-3.
Miners Cruise Past Alumni, 4-1
Behind freshman Jessie Pettit’s two goals, the UTEP soccer team defeated 4-1 Team Alumni in its annual preseason tune-up at the Sun Bowl on Aug. 16. Brandi Aston and Tameka Sumter also scored for the Miners. UTEP played well throughout, out-shooting the Alumni 24-14 and boasting a 6-3 edge in corner kicks. Freshman netminder Sara Kaltwasser registered five saves for UTEP.