UTEP Soccer Notes / C-USA Semifinals / Memphis
Nov. 8, 2007
Miners Set For C-USA Semifinals Showdown With MemphisThe UTEP soccer team (13-6-2) will play for a spot in the championship match of the 2007 Conference USA women's soccer championship when it takes on Memphis (15-3-1) at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. The second-seeded Tigers routed No. 7 seed Southern Miss, 6-0, on Wednesday while UTEP picked up a thrilling 3-2 win against Colorado College.
UTEP's History With The TigersThe match against Memphis is the fourth meeting all time between the two programs. UTEP is 3-0 historically against the Tigers, including 1-0 in the C-USA tournament. The two programs most recently squared off on Oct. 15, 2006, a game in at University Field in which UTEP won, 4-1. Don't let that score deceive you, though, as the Tigers registered 24 shots in the game, including 16 shots on goal.
Miners Rally For Dramatic 3-2 Win In Double OTJami Tullius' golden goal at the 102-minute mark in double overtime lifted the UTEP soccer team to an emotional 3-2 victory against Colorado College in the quarterfinals of the Conference USA women's soccer championship at University Field Wednesday evening. The tally capped an incredible comeback by the Miners, who rallied from a 2-0 deficit with only 33 minutes to play in the match. Tameka Sumter notched her 11th goal of the campaign to bring the Miners within one at the 58-minute minute mark before Cortney Casey's strike with 12 minutes left evened the match. The effort was the latest second-half display of magic by UTEP, which has now out-scored the opposition 33-9 in the second period of games this year.
Deja VuThe triumph against Colorado College on Wednesday marked the second time this year that the Miners have overcome 2-0 deficits against the Tigers. UTEP rallied from a 2-0 hole on the road on Oct. 13. Anoop Josan scored with 16 seconds left in the first half to make it a 2-1 contest at the break. With 15 minutes to play in the match, Jami Tullius tallied the game-tying-goal before the Miners moved ahead for good a mere 62 seconds later on Cara Nordin's first strike of the season.
Miners' Second-Half Magic ContinuesUTEP's incredible ability to dominate matches in the second half this year played a huge role in the Miners' come-from-behind triumph against Colorado College. UTEP out-scored the Tigers, 2-0, in the second half to force overtime. By virtue of the effort, the Orange and Blue have now out-scored the opposition 33-9 in the second stanza this year.
Miners' Offense Loves The Second HalfUTEP's offense is one of the best in the country, evidenced by the Miners ranking 20th nationally in goals per game. UTEP would probably rate even higher if it can figure out how to get its offensive attack going in the first half. Entering the match against Memphis, 33 of the Orange and Blue's 51 goals on the campaign have come during the second stanza.
UTEP's "D" Does TooThe Miners' offense is not the only part of the squad to be thriving in the second half. UTEP's defense has been equally impressive after the break, allowing only nine second-half goals. That is quite a feat, considering UTEP has played 21 matches.
Knocking Off Plenty Of Regionally-Ranked FoesThe triumph against the Tigers marks the fourth win in 2007 for UTEP against a team regionally ranked. The Miners have knocked off SMU (No.10) Colorado College twice (No. 8 and No. 12) and Rice (No. 12). More impressive is the fact that two of those wins came in hostile territory. UTEP has a chance for another triumph against a regionally-ranked foe on Friday, as Memphis is rated seventh in the NCAA's Central Region.
Comeback KidsThe Miners' triumph against Colorado College was their sixth come-from-behind victory in 2007. Incredibly, that means that almost half of UTEP's wins (six of 13) this year have been of the comeback variety.
No Quit In This Year's Edition of the MinersThe 2007 UTEP soccer team has faced plenty of adversity this year, but it has never shown any signs of giving up. The opposition has scored the match's first goal in 13 out of 21 contests in 2007, but the Miners have managed to post a very respectable record of 6-5-2 in those contest. Additionally, UTEP has picked up two wins to go along with a tie in a trio of matches in which it trailed 2-0.
UTEP Can Handle A Lead TooThe Miners are also more than capable of playing with a lead, as they are 13-1 on the campaign in games in which they have held the lead at some point during the match. The only setback came at Southern Miss, 2-1, a match in which UTEP out-shot the Golden Eagles 21-15 and took seven corner kicks.
Fans Help MinersA raucous crowd of 1,126 fans packed University Field Wednesday night, which helped propel the Miners to the dramatic 3-2 triumph. . Passionate, loud crowds have been the norm game after game, making University Field one of the toughest places to play not only in Conference USA but in the nation as well. The Miners now have played before 19 crowds that surpassed the facility's 600-person capacity the past five seasons, posting a record of 18-0-1 in those matches.
50-6-2 At Home Since 2002 Not Too ShabbyAlthough the Miners' loss against Weber State on Sept. 9 halted a 13-match winning streak in El Paso, they have responded since then with a record of 6-0-2. The Miners have out-scored the opposition, 20-8, in those contests. Overall, the Miners are 50-6-2 at home since 2002. Additionally, they have emerged victorious in 38 of their past 41 matches in the Sun City. That is quite an advantage for the Orange and Blue heading into the semifinals tilt against Memphis.
More On UTEP's CrowdsEntering this year, the Miners had played in front of two crowds in the 11-year history of the program which topped the 1,000 fans barrier. By virtue of the overflow crowd of 1,126 fans against Colorado College on Wednesday, it marks the second time this season that more than 1,000 fans have packed University Field for a single game. A school-record 1,269 fans filled University Field in UTEP's triumph against Tulsa on Oct. 5.
One Final Note On The FansThe Miners are averaging 588 fans per match in 2007, which not only leads Conference USA, but would set a school record for the highest single-game attendance mark in program history. Additionally, it would allow UTEP to pace the C-USA for the second consecutive year.
History Is On Their SideUTEP has been extremely tough to beat at University Field, evidenced by the record of 50-6-2 at home since 2002. That includes a record of 8-1-1 versus the seven squads that join UTEP to comprise the field for the C-USA Championships.
UTEP Rated In Regional Rankings By SoccerBuzzThe UTEP soccer team enters Friday's match against Memphis rated a season-high 10th in the NCAA's Central Region by SoccerBuzz. The Miners have appeared in the poll for a school-record four straight seasons.
Also Recognized By NSCAAThe Miners also garnered recognition from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll, checking in at 10th in the NCAA's Central Region in the final rankings of the regular season. UTEP also was rated in the organization's poll last year, marking the first time in program history that the Miners have been recognized by the NSCAA for two straight seasons.
Popoff Delivering In ClutchBrittany Popoff, who was inserted into the starting lineup at halftime of the East Carolina game on Oct. 28. has responded in a big way. The senior has allowed only two goals while making 14 saves over a span of three-and-a half games. She picked up her 18th shutout of her illustrious career against Rice on Sunday to equal the school standard.
Tullius Named C-USA Offensive Player of the YearAfter turning in a sensational senior season, UTEP forward Jami Tullius has been named the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year. The native of El Paso was presented with the award at a banquet on the eve of the C-USA Championship. Tullius becomes the first player in program history to be so honored with the distinction. Tullius had a banner regular season, leading UTEP's prolific offense with 12 goals and eight assists for 32 point. The 32 points paced C-USA, with the next closest player checking in with 25 points. Her total of 12 goals also led C-USA. Tullius managed to find time to be a playmaker too, registering eight assists to place third in the league. Tullius was especially impressive in Conference USA games. In nine league tilts, she racked up 20 players. The next closest player only tallied 15. Tullius did so with eight goals, two better than the No. 2 scorer, and shared the league lead with four helpers.
What A CareerIt is fitting recognition for Tullius, who already owns almost every offensive record at UTEP. Entering the semifinal match against Memphis, Tullius' career numbers are simply incredible. She is the only player in program history to top the 100-point barrier (112 points) and holds the school standard for goals (47), game-winning goals (12), shots (252) and shots on goal (141). She ranks fourth all time with 18 assists and is second in games played (83) and games started (83).
Not The Only One HonoredJami Tullius was not the only player to garner Conference USA recognition on Tuesday. Tameka Sumter was voted to the all-conference second team, while Lauren Hamson garnered placement on the all-freshman squad.
All-Conference Honors The Norm At UTEPUTEP earning all-conference recognition is nothing new. By virtue of the Miners' picking up a pair of all-conference nods this year (Jami Tullius first team and Tameka Sumter second team), they have now netted at least one all-conference member. Additionally, UTEP has had a player on the all-freshman team each of the past two seasons.
Tullius Adding To Record With Every GoalSenior forward and El Paso native Jami Tullius recorded her 13th goal on the year against Colorado College on Wednesday. Tullius has now registered a school-record 47 goals in her time in the Sun City.
Moving Way Past 100-Career Point BarrierBy virtue of her goal in the win at Rice, Jami Tullius now has a total of 112 points in her career. She is the only player in program history with to have topped the 100-point barrier.
Picks Up One Record, Closing In On AnotherAlready the school record holder for career goals, game-winning goals, points, shots, shots on goals senior Jami Tullius is on the cusp of one other career mark. She checks second in multiple-goal games (nine). Holly Cohen owns the multiple-goal games standard (10).
UTEP Out-Scoring Opposition By PlentyUTEP has tallied 51 goals on the year while holding the opposition to just 28 strikes. Helping the Miners achieve the impressive feat is the fact that they are taking almost 19 shots per game while limiting their foes to just 14 chances on average.
Sumter's Strong Start Vaults Her Into Record BooksSophomore forward Tameka Sumter had a sizzling start to the 2007 season, scoring 10 goals in non-conference play. Sumter's career total now stands at 23 goals, which places her tied for seventh in program history. With her strike against Alabama A&M on Sept. 14, Sumter reached the 20 goal plateau in just 27 games. That effort was the second fastest in program history. Only current assistant coach Holly Cohen (22) recorded her 20th career tally with fewer games played.
Teams Keyed On The Sophomore In C-USA PlayOpponents focused their defensive efforts on slowing down Tameka Sumter during Conference USA play. That strategy opened the door for other Miners, with eight different players having tallied goals in conference action. Sumter has continued to be a factor, as well, putting pressure on the opposition with her speed while also racking up a pair of assists.
Miners Pace C-USA In Goals Scored.....AgainFor the third straight year, the UTEP soccer's team prolific offense allowed it to lead Conference USA in goals scored. The Miners tallied a league-best 48 goals during the regular season.
Do So In Other Categories, TooUTEP also led the league in points, shots and attendance.
Faring Well Nationally AlsoHeading into the weekend, UTEP checks in 20th in the country in goals per game.
Miners Placed Plenty Among C-USA LeadersUTEP's individuals took care of business statistically in Conference USA, as well, as the Miners were responsible for leaders in plenty of categories. Jami Tullius paced the league in points and goals, while ranking third in assists. Tameka Sumter checked in second in points and third in goals while Cortney Casey tied for fourth in points, sixth in assists and seventh in goals.
Doing So In National Categories TooThe Miners are well represented in statistics across the country, with Jami Tullius ranking 31st in points per game, 56th in goals per game and 72nd in assists per game. Tameka Sumter checked in 96th in gpg while Jessica Salvi was 53rd in saves per contest.
Three-Headed Scoring MonsterCortney Casey, Tameka Sumter and Jami Tullius have accounted for 34 of UTEP's 51 goals on the campaign. Freshman Melissa Desilets, freshman Lauren Hamson, senior Angle Kleinfelder, junior Cara Nordin, junior college transfer Jo Radcliffe, sophomore midfielder Anoop Josan and senior defender Kristin Wernimont are responsible for the other 11 tallies.
Hamson Performing Well As FreshmanFreshman Lauren Hamson quietly turned in a solid rookie campaign, scoring five to go along with a trio of helpers. That effort ranks her tied for fifth and fourth, respectively on the squad. With an athletic frame and tremendous vision, look for the freshman to continue to rack up the points throughout the postseason.
Sumter And Tullius Have Knack For Scoring In Same GameNot only are Tameka Sumter and Jami Tullius great goal scorers, but they have developed an uncanny ability to both score in the same game. The match against Colorado College marked the eighth time that Tullius and Sumter have each registered a goal in the same game.
Miners Peppering The Opposition With ShotsUTEP took 388 shots on the year (almost 19 per game). That average is more than two shots higher than what the Miners averaged throughout the 2006 campaign, and it would establish the school standard. More important, though, is that UTEP has converted 51 of those chances into goals.
Don't Forget The "D"UTEP's defense has also been impressive, limiting the opposition to 321 shots (67 fewer than UTEP) and just 28 goals. It has been a mix of veterans and newcomers alike handling the task, with head coach Kevin Cross blessed with a very deep base of talent.
Taylor's Transition To Defense SeamlessSophomore defender Neresa Taylor, who fought through an injury-riddled campaign in 2006 to appear in nine games as a midfield, is healthy this year and making a big impact. The native of Beaumont, Texas, who is possibly the fastest player on the squad, switched to defense in the offseason and has been very solid on the outside for the Miners. She has started every game on the year-surpassing her total from 2006-, doing a good job of positioning and winning balls. Taylor hasn't forgotten her offensive roots, though, as she picked up her second assist on the year against St. Mary's on Sept. 4 after making a brilliant play to set up Tameka Sumter's gamewinning goal.
Desilets Steady As Can BeFreshman defender Melissa Desilets earned her first career start against Weber State on Sept. 9, and the native of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, performed admirably. She did a solid job with her marking, and showed off an ability to win balls in the air. She has continued to play well since that point, evidenced by her starting the past 16 matches.
Wernimont The WarriorSenior defender Kristin Wernimont has been one of head coach Kevin Cross' most consistent players since she arrived on campus four years ago. That is the case again for the co-captain in 2007, as Wernimont has played all 1954:49 minutes on the campaign thus far. She has done so splendidly, holding down the important sweeper position.
Miners Trounce HoustonLauren Hamson notched a hat trick and Jami Tullius scored twice to lead the UTEP soccer team to a 6-0 rout at Houston on Nov. 2. The Miners dominated the match, out-shooting UH 24-10 and taking 10 corner kicks compared to just one for the Cougars. Jordan Freiberg picked up her first-career goal while Cortney Casey, Ashley Cole, Melissa Desilets, Angie Kleinfelder and Tullius all added assists. Senior goalkeeper Brittany Popoff made three saves to register her second shutout in 2007. The offensive explosion marks the most goals scored in a league game since 2003 and equals the 10th-highest total in program annals. Additionally, it matches the third-most goals tallied in a road tilt in school history.
UTEP Battles To 1-1 Tie With East CarolinaIn a hard-fought match, the UTEP soccer team rallied from a 1-0 deficit at the half to earn a 1-1 tie against East Carolina at University Field on Oct. 28. Anoop Josan scored on a laser beam blast off a free kick at the 67-minute mark to force overtime. UTEP dominated possession of play and registered eight shots on goal compared to just three for the Pirates. Senior goaltender Brittany Popoff, who replaced Jessica Salvi at halftime, finished with two saves. ECU's Amber Campbell made seven stops.
Popoff Steps UpSenior Brittany Popoff replaced Jessica Salvi at halftime against East Carolina, and the senior came through in a big way. She made two saves, both in overtime, and directed traffic defensively to help the Miners shut down the Pirates after the break. The effort allowed UTEP to battle back and earn a tie against a very talented squad.
Seniors Go Out In StyleJami Tullius scored twice, including a golden goal 1:03 into overtime, to lift the UTEP soccer team to an emotional 2-1 victory against Marshall on "Senior Night" at University Field on Oct. 26. Tullius, one of the five seniors on the squad honored prior to the match, helped her fellow classmates go out in style. By virtue of her two-goal effort, Tullius became the first Miner in program history to eclipse the 100-point barrier. She now has 103 career points.
Comeback KidsThe Miners' triumph against Marshall on Oct. 26 was their fifth come-from-behind victory in 2007. Incredibly, that means that half of UTEP's wins this year have been of the comeback variety.
10 Win Seasons Under Cross The NormThe victory against Marshall was the 10th of the year for UTEP, marking the school-record sixth consecutive campaign with at least 10 victories. That is quite a feat considering that UTEP registered only one 10-plus win season prior to head coach Kevin Cross' first year at the helm of the program in 2001.
UTEP Comes Up Short At Southern MissThe UTEP soccer team dropped a hard-fought match at Southern Miss (6-8-0, 3-3 C-USA), 2-1, on Oct. 21. Jami Tullius added to her school record total with her 41st career goal to afford the Miners a 1-0 lead at the break, but second-half tallies from Jana Mason and Erin Bunyard helped USM creep past UTEP. The Miners out-shot the Lady Eagles 21-15 and had seven corner kicks, but were unable to convert on key opportunities. Jessica Salvi made three saves in net for UTEP, while senior captain Kristin Wernimont recorded her first assist on the year with a good pass to set up Tullius' goal.
UTEP Falls At UCFUTEP got goals from Lauren Hamson and Jami Tullius and Jessica Salvi made 13 saves, but it wasn't enough as the Miners fell at UCF 4-2 on Oct. 13. It was a high-flying offensive contest, as the two squads combined for 27 shots on goal and 16 corner kicks. The Miners had plenty of chances, but UCF's Jennifer Manis did just enough in the net by making eight saves.
Miners Rally For 3-2 Win At Colorado CollegeThe UTEP soccer team (9-4-1, 3-0 C-USA) remained perfect in Conference USA play with a come-from-behind 3-2 victory at Colorado College (6-4-2, 1-2) on Oct. 13. UTEP showed incredible heart in securing the victory, as it trailed 2-0 just 15 minutes into the tilt. Anoop Josan scored with 16 seconds left in the first half to make it a 2-1 contest at the break. With 15 minutes to play in the match, Jami Tullius tallied the game-tying-goal before the Miners moved ahead for good a mere 62 seconds later on Cara Nordin's first strike of the season. Tullius also registered a pair of assists to go along with her goal, Senior netminder Jessica Salvi played a huge role in the triumph, as well, notching a then season-high 11 saves.
Defeat Second Straight Regionally-Ranked OpponentThe win at Colorado College marked the Miners' second consecutive contest against teams ranked in the NCAA's Central Region. SMU, which UTEP knocked off 1-0 on Oct. 7, carried a ranking of 10th into the match. The Tigers, meanwhile, were rated eighth.
Winning At Colorado College Quite An AccomplishmentMaking UTEP's victory at Colorado College even more impressive was the fact that historically the Tigers have been nearly unbeatable when playing in Colorado Springs, Colo. The win by the Miners made CC's all-time home record 194-37-16.
Tullius Leads The WayJami Tullius had an outstanding game at Colorado College on Oct. 13. She assisted on Anoop Josan's tally in the first half with 16 seconds left to get the Miners within one at the break (2-1) before registering the game-tying-goal with 15 minutes to play. A mere 61 seconds later, Tullius made a brilliant pass to set up Cara Nordin's match-winning-strike.
Nordin Picks Good Time To Score Season's First GoalCara Nordin came through in the clutch in UTEP's 3-2 win at Colorado College, posting her initial goal of the campaign. In fact, it marked the initial tally for Nordin since the 2005 season. The effort by the junior is the latest sign of encouragement that Nordin is getting back to her form from that year. She had missed the entire 2006 season due to an injury.
Miners Knock Off Preseason Favorite SMUPowered by Jo Radcliffe's second-half goal and stifling team defense, the UTEP soccer team defeated Conference USA preseason favorite SMU, 1-0, at University Field on Oct. 7. Making the victory even more impressive is that the Mustangs carried a regional ranking of 10th into the match. Jessica Salvi was tremendous in net for the Miners, making nine saves. Included among those stops were three chances from within five yards.
Salvi Garners Conference, National HonorsBy virtue of allowing just one goal in 180 minutes of action in wins against both SMU and Tulsa, senior netminder Jessica Salvi picked up a pair of awards. She was named the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week, in addition to garnering placement on the National Team of the Week by SoccerBuzz.
UTEP Opens C-USA Play With 2-1 Triumph Against TulsaSpurred on by a school-record crowd of 1,269 fans, the UTEP soccer team knocked off Tulsa, 2-1, in its Conference USA opener at University Field on Oct. 5. The Miners raced out to a 2-0 lead on the half on goals by Melissa Desilets and Angie Kleinfelder, and UTEP's defense did just enough down the stretch to hold off the upstart Golden Hurricane squad.
Miners Shatter School Attendance RecordMuch credit in UTEP's triumph against Tulsa on Oct. 6 should go to the 1,269 raucous fans that were in attendance. The tremendous support by the community and student body helped the Miners establish a school standard with 1,269 fans. The previous standard was 1,106, which came in a 1-0 victory against No. 17 Rice on Oct. 8, 2006.
Miners Fall At Sacramento StateThe UTEP soccer team dropped a heartbreaker at Sacramento State, 1-0, in overtime on Sept. 30. The Hornets' Katie McCoy tapped in a rebound at the 94th minute for the game's lone tally. The Miners battled hard from the opening whistle but were unable to beat Sacramento State netminder Mandy Trojan. At the other end of the pitch, the Hornets were denied time after time by senior netminder Jessica Salvi before finally breaking through in the extra period.
UTEP's Rally At Fresno State Falls Short, 3-2A late push by the UTEP soccer team came up just short at Fresno State, as the Miners dropped a hard-fought contest, 3-2, on Sept. 28 UTEP trailed 3-0 with six minutes to play in the match before it staged a furious rally. Cortney Casey buried a shot to slice into the Bulldogs' lead before freshman Lauren Hamson notched her first-career goal less than two minutes later to bring the Miners within one. The Orange and Blue made one final rush up field in the final minute, desperately trying to send the contest into overtime but they were unable to do so.
Salvi Saves Season-High 10 ShotsWhile the Miners suffered a 3-2 setback at Fresno State, they were able close thanks to the play of senior netminder Jessica Salvi. She turned away a season-high 10 shots, including three in the first five minutes of the match.
Miners Battle Lobos To 2-2 DrawIn a physical game with plenty of emotion, the UTEP soccer team played to a 2-2 draw in the championship match of the eighth-annual Border Shootout at University Field on Sept. 23. UTEP now stands at 6-2-1 on the year, while the Lobos move to 4-2-2. The Miners showed plenty of heart in earning the tie, as they rallied from a 2-0 deficit less than three minutes into the match. Tameka Sumter notched her 10th goal of the campaign to start the comeback and senior Kristin Wernimont capped it by burying a rebound with 10 minutes left to force overtime.
Winning Streak Hits Three With 4-1 Win Against IdahoUTEP erupted for two goals in a span of less than one minute to break open a 1-1 game at the half en route to cruising past Idaho, 4-1, to open the eighth-annual Border Shootout in fine fashion at University Field on Sept. 21. It was an impressive offensive showing for the Orange and Blue, as Idaho had permitted just four goals in five games entering the match. Cortney Casey scored twice, and added an assist, to lead the offensive onslaught. Jo Radcliffe and Jami Tullius also registered goals, while Tameka Sumter picked up an assist. Senior netminder Jessica Salvi made seven saves, including two spectacular stops in the first half, to key the defensive efforts.
Miners Take Care Of Business At Texas State, 2-0Tameka Sumter's two second-half goals in a span of less than four minutes, combined with stifling team defense, added up to a 2-0 win at Texas State on Sept. 16 for the UTEP soccer team. The Miners were dominant on both ends of the pitch, out-shooting TSU by a margin of 20-9, including an edge of eight to three in shots on goal.
Casey's Hat Trick Sends UTEP Past Alabama A&M, 5-0The UTEP soccer team thrashed Alabama A&M, 5-0, at University Field on Sept. 14, with Cortney Casey notching her first career hat trick to lead the offensive onslaught. The Miners dominated in every facet of the game, out-shooting the Lady Bulldogs 23-6. In fact, A&M, which led the nation in scoring in 2006, managed just two shots on net.
Conference USA Honors SumterTameka Sumter was named the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 17, after scoring three goals to help lead the Miners to a perfect 2-0 mark this against Alabama A&M and Texas State. It marked the second time of her career that the sophomore native was so honored.
Popoff Steady In 2007 DebutAlthough she was tested only twice against Alabama A&M, senior netminder Brittany Popoff was solid in her 2007 debut against the Lady Bulldogs. The native of Westbank, B.C., turned away both of the chances to pick up her 16th career shutout. That figure ranks second all time in program annals.
Casey's Hat Trick Puts Her In The Record BooksCortney Casey's hat trick against Alabama A&M on Sept. 14 was the first of her career at UTEP and the 14th all time in program history. That's quite an accomplishment for a player who spent most of the spring and summer training sessions working on converting to a defender.
UTEP Falls To Weber State, 2-1The UTEP soccer team lost a hard-fought game to Weber State, 2-1, in the championship match of the 10th-annual Miner Classic at University Field on Sept. 9. Tameka Sumter scored her Conference USA leading sixth goal of the campaign for UTEP's lone tally.
Miners Blank Portland State, 2-0Anoop Josan scored on a penalty kick in the 66th minute to break a scoreless tie, and UTEP's defense did the rest as the Miners knocked off Portland State, 2-0, to kick off the 10th-annual Miner Classic in fine fashion at University Field on Sept 7. Jessica Salvi made six saves on the night to record her first shutout of the 2007 campaign, while Jami Tullius registered her third goal on the year to give the Miners some much needed breathing room with eight minutes to play.
Salvi Shines In ShutoutSenior goaltender Jessica Salvi was in top form against Portland State on Sept. 7, making six saves against the Vikings to register her first shutout in 2007. The effort improved Salvi to 3-1 on the campaign and 13-2 all time in UTEP, with the winning percentage of .867 tops in program annals.
Makes History As WellNot only did Jessica Salvi turn in a brilliant performance against Portland State, but she made history in the process. It wasn't for her goaltending, though, but rather for a booming kick to clear away a Portland State thru ball that set up Jami Tullius' insurance goal. In being credited with the assist, Salvi became the first UTEP netminder in program history to register an assist. Salvi's kick easily cleared midfield, and the large bounce sent Tullius streaking in alone on net.
Josan Delivers In The ClutchAnoop Josan has displayed nerves of steel since arriving in the Sun City in 2006. The most recent example came in UTEP's triumph against Portland State on Sept. 7. Josan made a brilliant pass to a streaking Tameka Sumter, who was dragged down in the box to set up a UTEP penalty kick. It was the 66th minute, and the match was scoreless, but Josan was as calm as can be as she stood over the ball. Josan drilled it past a helpless PSU netminder to put the Miners up 1-0 on her first goal of 2007. Overall, three of Josan's six career goals have served as gamewinning tallies.
Perfect In PKsAnoop Josan's penalty kick against Portland State on Sept. 7 made her a perfect two-for-two in her career in the Sun City on penalty kicks. Both of her goals have served as match winners, as Josan's other conversion on a penalty kick came against No. 17 Rice in a 1-0 victory last season.
UTEP Gets Back On TrackTameka Sumter scored twice, including a spectacular goal on a bicycle kick, to lead the UTEP soccer team past an upstart St. Mary's squad, 2-1, in front of the third-largest crowd in program history at University Field on Sept. 4. UTEP out-shot the Ratters, 26-8, including 14-3 on goal. The Miners were in control most of the night, dominating possession and earning eight corner kicks compared to one for St. Mary's. A raucous crowd of 928 cheered on the Orange and Blue from the opening kickoff.
What A CrowdThe Miners' season-opening match against St. Mary's attracted 928 fans to University Field on Sept. 4. That figure ranks as the third-highest total in the 11-year history of the program. The school record for attendance at a home match stands at 1,106, which came on Oct. 8, 2006, in UTEP's 1-0 victory against No. 17 Rice.
Cross Reaches 80-Win PlateauThe win against St. Mary's on Sept. 4 was the 80th career triumph for head coach Kevin Cross. In the midst of his seventh season at the helm of the program, the native of Richardson, Texas, has built the Miners into a regional and national power. UTEP has enjoyed a school-record five straight 10-plus win seasons. Entering the 2007 campaign, Cross ranked 27th nationally with a .672 career winning percentage.
Miners Fall In High-Scoring Affair At North Texas, 4-3In a game featuring two of the top offenses in the country, the UTEP soccer team (1-1) fell at North Texas (2-0), 4-3, on Sept. 2. The Miners showed plenty of heart in the setback, erasing a 2-0 deficit at the half to tie the match in the 73rd minute on Cortney Casey's goal, but UNT retook the lead for good courtesy of a penalty kick with less than seven minutes to play. Casey, Jami Tullius and Tameka Sumter each scored for the second straight match for the Miners, while senior netminder Jessica Salvi registered nine saves. Casey also added an assist.
Tough To SwallowUTEP fought back against a very talented North Texas team, which went 15-5-2 in 2006, to tie the match at two late in the second half. The hard work by the Miners was undone, though, when the Mean Green were awarded a penalty kick with less than seven minutes to play in the game. Traditionally in soccer, officials tend to put their whistles in their back pocket late in the match, especially when action is inside the box. UTEP did not get discouraged, though, even after North Texas added another goal two minutes later thanks to the Miners having to alter their strategy in an effort to find the equalizer. Rather, the Orange and Blue went on the offensive and climbed back within one with Tameka Sumter's tally.
UTEP Whips Sam Houston State, 6-1, In Season OpenerThe UTEP women's soccer team kicked off the 2007 campaign in fine fashion, trouncing Sam Houston State 6-1 at Pritchett Field on Aug. 31. The game was tied, 1-1, at the half before the Miners erupted for five goals in the second period to coast to victory. Jo Radcliffe and Tameka Sumter each scored twice to lead the offensive onslaught, while senior netminder Jessica Salvi made five saves. UTEP registered 25 shots on goal while limiting the Bearkats to only six tries on net. The Miners took eight corner kicks compared to one for SHSU.
Success In Campaign Lid Lifters Nothing NewWith the triumph against Sam Houston State, the Miners improved to 9-3 all time in season-opening matches, including 6-1 under head coach Kevin Cross. UTEP has dominated in campaign-christening contests, out-pacing the opposition to the tune of 43-15.
That's A Lot Of GoalsThe six goals against Sam Houston State are the most in a game by the Miners since UTEP tallied 11 against Grambling State on Aug. 31, 2006. The effort tied as the 10th- highest sum in program annals.
And It Happened On The RoadNot only did UTEP score six goals on Aug. 31, but they accomplished the feat in enemy territory. The offensive outburst checked in as the third-highest total by the Miners in a road contest in school history.
Must Have Been Some Half Time SpeechWho knows exactly what head coach Kevin Cross said to his charges at the half, but whatever it was, the message certainly hit home. The Miners' offense came to life for five second-half goals against Sam Houston State. That figure ties as the third-most tallies during the second half in the Cross era.
Miners Tabbed Fourth In C-USA Preseason PollThe UTEP soccer team was predicted by the leagues' coaches to finish in fourth place for the 2007 season, according to the preseason poll released by the Conference USA office on Aug. 16. It is the highest the Miners have been tabbed in the preseason poll since joining the league, which means that conference foes are starting to develop a healthy respect for the Orange and Blue.
Anoop Garners RecognitionAnoop Josan, who had a tremendous rookie campaign in 2006, was selected to the Preseason All-Conference USA squad, it was announced by the league office on Aug. 16. It marks the second straight year that the Miners have placed an individual on the conference's all-preseason team.
And The Captains Are...Head coach Kevin Cross recently announced the captains for the 2007 squad, with seniors Jami Tullius and Kristin Wernimont sharing the honors. It is a fitting pair, as each is entering her fourth year with the squad. The duo has played a large role in the Miners posting a 50-16-2 since arriving on campus.
Same Face, Different PlaceOne of the reasons that UTEP has been so successful under Kevin Cross has been the willingness of players to put the team before themselves. The most recent example of this was during the offseason, when several players changed positions for the good of the team. Senior Angie Kleinfelder has switched to the midfield position after playing forward for three years. Junior Cortney Casey, UTEP's top scorer off the bench in 2006, has learned to play defense and will use her skills to shut down the opposition's top scoring threats. Also converted to defender was Neresa Taylor, who is considered the fastest player on the squad.
Plenty Of New FacesWhile the Miners return a talented group of 12 letterwinners from last year's team that posted a 15-6 record, there certainly is not a shortage of newcomers on the 2007 roster. Ten rookies have been added since the end of last year. The breakdown is as follows; six freshmen and four junior-college transfers. Each of the players is expected to contribute in some way throughout the year.
What A Group Of SeniorsThis year's senior class of Brandi Aston, Angie Kleinfelder, Brittany Popoff, Jessica Salvi, Jami Tullius and Kristin Wernimont has been extremely successful since arriving in the Sun City. UTEP has posted a record of 52-17-2 since 2004, the best three-year stretch in terms of most wins, fewest losses and winning percentage in program history. While the 2007 slate will once again be challenging, count on this group to set the bar for success high and continue to make Miner fans proud.
We Aren't Scared Of Those BCS TeamsOne 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 record against BCS schools since 2002, which is a sparkling 7-1.
Looking Back At 2006UTEP went 15-6 a year ago, including 10-0 at University Field, and extended its streak to 11 straight conference tournament appearances. The Miners defeated two nationally-ranked opponents, No. 17 Rice and No. 25 Colorado College. Other accomplishments included setting program records for goals allowed (20), goals against average (0.93) and shutouts (11). Six of those blankings were consecutive, which also established a school standard. The Miners scored 56 goals-the third-highest sum in program annals-to pace Conference USA, with their average of 2.67 goals per game placing them 12th nationally. UTEP also led the league in save percentage, checking in at 14th in the country. Individuals continued to be noticed for their play, as five different players combined to reel in a program-best-tying six league player of the week accolades, including sweeping the award two straight weekends. Nationally, four different Miners were placed on national teams of the week a school-record eight times.
UTEP Plays To 1-1 Draw With AlumniIn a tune-up for the regular-season opener against Sam Houston State, the UTEP soccer team battled the Alumni Team to a 1-1 tie at University Field on Aug. 25. Cortney Casey scored with 25 minutes to play in the second half to put the Miners up 1-0, but the Alumni Team found the equalizer with two minutes left in the game courtesy of current assistant coach Kelly Parker's goal. UTEP out-shot the Alumni Team 32-12 and held a 10-2 edge in corner kicks. Junior Kira Lazenby patrolled the net for the Alumni Team, making 11 saves while seniors Jessica Salvi and Brittany Popoff combined for five stops for the Miners.