LARAMIE, Wyo. – The Cowgirls travel to El Paso, Texas to face the UTEP Miners on Friday at 7 p.m. MT before making their way to Las Cruces, N.M. for a matchup with the New Mexico State Aggies on Sunday at 11:30 a.m.
Wyoming looks to bounce back after its first loss of the season to Iowa last Sunday. The Cowgirls carried a 2-1-1 mark through their second week of games, tying for the second-best record in the Mountain West, and still rank near the top of the conference in several statistical categories. Wyoming averages the third-most shots per game (15.25) and goals per game (1.75) in the MW. Corner kicks continue to be a strength for Wyoming, now with a conference-best 29 attempts.
After a two-goal game against the Hawkeyes, senior defender Katie Marcheso is tied for fourth in the MW in scoring. Senior forward Laurel Ramer leads Wyoming in shots with nine, which ties for the seventh-best mark in the conference. The Cowgirls are also the only MW team to have earned two penalty kicks this season, and one of three conference teams to convert on at least one.
On the defensive end, the Cowgirls own the second-lowest goals-against average at 0.95. Junior goalkeeper Georgia Rowntree’s 13 saves rank second in the MW and her save percentage of .765 is tied for fifth. Rowntree and junior defender Alisha Bass lead the team in minutes with 380 and 356, respectively.
“We’re back on the road and there’s never an easy road game in Division I,” head coach Pete Cuadrado said. “Going to UTEP on Friday night, we have to deal with travel and the elements, but those are things we should be used to. We’ve got to show that we’re a veteran team when we get on the road.”
UTEP returns nine starters and 12 letterwinners, including seven seniors, to a squad that finished the 2015 season with an 11-7-2 record. The Miners concluded their conference slate with a 4-4-2 mark, good for ninth in Conference USA.
The Miners currently sit at 2-0-2 on the year. In their last outing, UTEP notched three goals in a six-minute span to bury Grand Canyon, 3-2. The win kept the Miners undefeated and put them back in the win column after draws against Abilene Christian and CSU Bakersfield in their previous two matches.
Senior defender Aleah Davis earned Conference USA Preseason First Team and Co-Defensive Player of the Year honors. Davis was also a C-USA First Team selection and third team All-Region last season. She finished her 2015 campaign with five goals and seven assists.
Wyoming and UTEP have not faced each other since 1998, but the Cowgirls are 0-3-0 all-time against the Miners.
“UTEP is a very strong team, especially at home,” Cuadrado said. “They’re going to come at us, be direct and throw the kitchen sink at us. It will be a good challenge.”
New Mexico State was tabbed sixth in the Western Athletic Conference’s preseason poll after a 4-6-0 mark and fifth-place finish in 2015. The Aggies return nine starters, including three of their top four goal-scorers, and bring in 11 newcomers.
In their first four games of the season, the Aggies posted a 0-4-0 record and were outscored 12-1 by their opponents. UTEP dominated New Mexico State, 5-0, in both teams’ season-opener. The Aggies will face Texas State on Friday before hosting the Cowgirls on Sunday afternoon.
Wyoming is 0-2-0 all-time against the Aggies. This will be the first game in the series played in Las Cruces.
Live stats and the live stream of Friday’s game are available at the links above. Live stats for Sunday’s contest at New Mexico State can also be found above. Follow the Cowgirls on Twitter (@WYOSOCCER) for live updates throughout each match.