Women get first crack at I-10 rivalry
Miners take 6-2 record to Las Cruces as they wrap up preseason schedule
Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
As the football team prepares to take on long-time rival NM State for the 90th time on Sept. 15, the women’s soccer team will get first crack at the Aggies as they meet for the final preseason game on Sept. 12 in Las Cruses.
Games against the Aggies are always a passionate subject for the Miners, as the annual matchups draw the entire communities of El Paso and Las Cruces out to watch the battle of each game.
Despite the Aggies having a young program, established in 2009, in comparison with other schools, the Miners are expecting the rivalry game to be an intense 90-minute competition and they are not going to take it lightly.
“They have a very good program that battles hard,” head coach Kevin Cross said. “They are going to be a tough team to beat. Any rivalry game is going to be tough to win because both teams are playing with so much emotion. If we are not playing our very best soccer, we are not going to be able to win. They hustle; they stick it and fight for everything, so we need to go out there focused and ready.”
The Aggies currently stand with a 1-4-1 record and took last place in the Sept.7 and 9 Third-Annual Border Bash Tournament that they co-hosted with UTEP.
A leading player in Miner offense, senior midfielder, Tess Hall knows that strategy will be key in winning the game and bringing home title of I-10’s best.
“As a team we want to be able to focus for 90 minutes,” Hall said. “We are going to play at our best and work on not having a silly let-downs and concentrate on putting for a full 90-minute strong game.”
El Paso native, sophomore forward, Stephanie Sazo knows the UTEP-NM State rivalry all too well and looks forward to every opportunity her and the team get to play the Aggies.
“I grew up the rivalry, so it is definitely a game that I want to win,” Sazo said. “It is one of the more exciting games because of the crowd that comes out because it is so local. The rivalry is a community event, and everyone just fires up, from the fans to the starting lineup. Everyone is in for an interesting game between two aggressive teams.”
In the 2011 season, the Miners toppled the Aggies 2-0 in the season opener. The two teams last met up on the soccer field the 2012 Exhibition Spring Season, where the Miners again locked in another win against their rivals with a consecutive ending score of 2-0.
The game will kick off at 4 p.m. on September 12, at the NM State soccer complex.
“We play them every year and with each year the rivalry just becomes stronger and stronger,” Hall said. “The soccer rivalry between UTEP and NMSU is just as stronger as or maybe even stronger than other sports because we play each other so often and every single time it always is a battle.”
Audrey Westcott may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.