UTEP Announces 2005 Soccer Schedule
The UTEP soccer team will play a school-record 12 home games and face eight teams that participated in the NCAA Tournament last year, according to the 2005 schedule released by head coach Kevin Cross on Monday.
After playing an exhibition game against an alumni team on Aug. 20, UTEP will open its 10th season against North Texas and Eastern Illinois in the Eighth Annual Miner Classic Aug. 26-28.
Division II power West Texas A&M will visit University Field on Aug. 30 before the Miners hit the road for the first time. UTEP will play Southland Conference champion Texas State on Sept. 2 and Sam Houston State two days later. Texas State handed the Miners their only home loss in the 2004 season-opener.
Mississippi State and Sacramento State will participate in the Sun City Invitational, Sept. 9-11. The Mississippi State game on Sept. 9 will mark the return of former Miner Ja'net Esparza, who is currently an assistant coach for the Bulldogs.
UTEP will play host to Texas Tech on Sept. 16 before traveling to Louisiana where it will face defending SWAC champion Grambling State on Sept. 18.
The Sixth Annual Border Shootout will see the Miners face Utah Valley State and Louisiana-Monroe Sept. 22-25 in El Paso. UVSC snapped UTEP's seven-game winning streak last year and ULM was the SLC runner-up to Texas State.
UTEP's inaugural Conference USA contest will come Sept. 30 on the road against defending league tournament champion UAB. Two days later the Miners will face Memphis, which is coming off a school-record 11-win campaign.
The Miners return home to University Field for four consecutive games, including a pair against UCF the Atlantic Sun champion in 2004 and rival SMU. UTEP defeated the Mustangs 3-2 in overtime last season. The homestand is bookended with games against Southern Miss and Tulsa.
UTEP will travel to Houston on Oct. 21 and Rice on Oct. 23. Rice defeated the Miners twice last season, including a 2-1 decision in the WAC Tournament. The regular season will conclude at Tulane on Oct. 29.
The conference tournament will be held Nov. 2-6 at a site to be announced at a later date. Under the conference's soccer format, UTEP will not face Marshall or East Carolina in the regular season.
UTEP returns seven starters and 13 letterwinners from last year's 13-5-1 squad which advanced to the WAC semifinals. The 13 victories marked the third consecutive 10-plus win season in school history.