Oct. 27, 2005
There are a lot of great things to be said about the three seniors on this season's team. Each senior has brought different strengths to the New Mexico program on and off the field and in talking with each recently they all expressed a genuine love and appreciation for the experiences they have gained while playing for the Lobos.
Nicole McCarty, Nicole Pitcock and Kristen Winters have been New Mexico's solid base this year, always helping, always working hard and always providing inspiration and motivation. Below is a feature interview with each senior to show what being in college and playing New Mexico soccer has been all about for these three.
This Saturday, the seniors will play in their very last home game as the Lobos take on TCU at the UNM Soccer Complex, starting at 7 p.m. Come out to support the seniors and your Lobos.
If you could pick one song to play when you ran out on the field, what would it be?
NM: It's not a song necessarily for me, but as a team. If our team was coming out, it would be "Aint No Mountain High Enough." It's been a song throughout this season that we've really picked up as a team. In the weight room if things are hard we sing it and in the vans we sing it. It just kind of gets us together.
Who has been by far the funniest person on the team this season?
NM: Shannon Adragna. She's hilarious and she's just random. She's always trying to make things in a good spirit and make people laugh. When things are serious, she just tries to loosen things up. She's hilarious and really random.
Who is you favorite Lobo women's soccer player?
NM: I'm going to have to go with Ashley Lowery. She's what makes our team go I think. She's what holds us together defensively and has saved us in numerous games. I've just developed a relationship over the past two years with her that I just look up to her as a player. I just think she's amazing. She's saved us a lot and she has a good attitude all the time and works her butt off. She's just really inspirational to me.
If there was going to be a reality show based on this team what would the show be called?
NM: We talk about having a reality show all the time and how we could have one on our team. I don't know. (calls out to Kaela Kelly) If we had a reality show what would be a good name for us? (Kaela's answer) Random Girls Gone Wild. (Nicole laughing) That's good, there you go.
What do you think your role has been this season as a senior and a team captain?
NM: On the field I think kind of just calming us down and giving us confidence. Not necessarily verbally doing anything, but on the field doing things that show your experience. Like when you have a minute left in the game, play simple, play the corner flags, things like that. Just playing smart and simple that you don't think of when you're younger. That stuff just comes with experience. And I also feel I just kind of help get things organized and get us all going and keep us positive and motivated during the season because it's a long season for everyone. Kind of getting us through that and all the little stuff like getting everyone to practice on time, little things like that.
What's in store for you after you graduate?
NM: (smiles) That's a really good question. I think come December I'm going to be in a lot of shock because I'm done with school and I'm done with soccer. I'm planning to go to Europe in the next two months and I'd like to go for six months to a year and if an opportunity comes to play soccer out there I would definitely take it. I'm not searching for it, but if it comes I'd definitely do it. And then I'm planning on going into the medical field like in nursing. I would really like to go to med school in the next few years too.
How much do you think you've grown since coming into the program in 2001?
NM: I can't even begin to explain how much I have grown as a person, as a student, as an athlete. I've learned so much about life just through sports. I've learned about being disciplined, being on time and to what a team really is. I can't even begin to explain how much I've learned. It's the best experience I could've ever had. I would suggest Division I sports for anyone and especially with coming into a program like this. It's been amazing. From when I came into college and to now, I'm a completely different person. You kind of find yourself through it all because you have so many struggles and ups and downs.
Can you believe your time with the Lobos is almost over?
NP: No. It's actually gone by really quick because I'm the only senior that's done it in four years. The other two did it in five and six. So when they say time goes by fast, it really did for me.
What are you going to miss most about being on the team?
NP: Hanging out with the girls and getting to travel with them and just all that extra time with the girls. That's what I'll miss the most.
Who is your favorite Lobo women's soccer player?
NP: I have to say the other two seniors. I look up to them even. They're great fellow captains.
As one of the smallest players on the field, have you ever been intimidated by an opponent that's bigger than you? How do go out there and attack somebody as a defender knowing that they are bigger?
NP: Sometimes in pregame I'll look out and be like okay this is a tall team, but then you'll come against girls that are tall, but can't jump. I'm short and luckily I can jump. So you'd be surprised that I can even win headers over some of the taller girls. From the start of the game I just tell myself okay I'm going to win this. I don't get intimidated.
How does it feel to sign autographs after the game for the kids that watch you guys play?
NP: I love that. When I was being recruited by UNM I saw that and I thought that was the coolest thing. So all four years I've enjoyed doing that after the games.
What makes home games special to you?
NP: Our crowd. I love that we get a large amount of people and normally I'll have a parent sitting in the crowd. So it makes it that much better.
What do you hope to do with your Exercise Science degree?
NP: I'd like to become a personal trainer and then maybe from that go on to being like a general manager and still be involved in personal training if I could. I also want to look into coaching youth players. That's something I would actually like to do right away.
What do you think is the best way to get in shape if you're going to be a soccer player?
NP: I'd say it be a combination of running like the mile or run quick ladder type of things. Run quick sprints, long sprints and then spending some time in the weight room as well, doing agility or plyos or putting on some heavier weights. Just kind of a combination of everything.
What kind of role do you think you've played this season as a senior and a team captain?
NP: I'd say compared to the other captains I'm kind of like the silent leader by example type. They're definitely the more talkative, outgoing ones. Some of the players see the hard work I put in and I've done it for four years so I'm the leader by example.
How much do you think you've grown since coming into the program?
NP: I think I've grown a lot looking back on it. I think ever since the spring of my freshman year I was able to learn that having confidence was a huge part of my game and even in pregame I'll look at the opponent especially the one I'm going against and mentally tell myself I can beat her. And that has helped me get on the right track, right from the start of the game.
You've been around the program for six years. Are you ready for it to end or are you going to be sad when it's over?
KW: I'm glad it's going to be over because then I can start doing other things because I've been playing soccer for like 18 years, but I'm going to be really sad because it's been so much fun and all the girls are like family to me now. I'm going to miss that whole aspect in playing because it's just fun to be intense and competitive and do different things with people.
What do you think of the young goalkeepers that are behind you that are going to be taking your spot?
KW: I have the most confidence in them. They're both awesome keepers. They both have a lot of potential and a lot of skills already and I think when I leave they're just going to step in and it's going to be really competitive for both of them because they both are great keepers.
What kind of goalkeeper coach has Jorge been for you?
KW: I've actually had the most fun with him. He can be intense at times, but other times you can just joke around with him. It's a lot of fun. He makes it intense when he wants to get something out of it, but then when it gets too intense he kind of tapers off and just lets you have fun and just play. I would do anything for him and that's the kind of relationship that I think I've built with him.
Do you enjoy making those diving saves?
KW: Yeah, I love it. Not always in practice because I don't like killing my body, but in the game you don't even feel it. Adrenaline kicks in and it's just so much fun doing it.
How do you feel about going up against penalty kicks?
KW: I say bring it on. You can't go in there being nervous because penalty kicks are hard to save in the first place. Just thinking I'm going to get one of these is the best motivation ever especially when you do get one or they miss and it's like yes I intimidated them or they can't handle the pressure.
How's the master's program at UNM?
KW: I've actually enjoyed it a lot more than my undergrad. The teachers work with you more and just the whole master's program makes it more real life because you do a lot more case studies and it's not all theoretical. It's a lot more fun because you actually work with groups and it seems more like something I'd be doing in the future instead of being like okay how is this going to work later on.
Who's your favorite Lobo women's soccer player?
KW: There's a lot of them, but the one that always stands out to me is Alanna Abeyta because she's always working hard, she's always throwing herself for balls and getting up and getting back. She'll just kill herself for the team.
How much have you grown since coming into the program?
KW: Tremendously. I think I've become more outgoing and actually standing up to people when I don't agree with things. And I think just being out there and being like it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks or what I do, it's what I want to get out of it. Before it was more about pleasing other people and making people so they wouldn't get upset, but I've learned it's not going to happen with so many girls on one team. You can't please everyone, so I've learned how to not get upset about that or worry about the little things.
Any advice you would give someone wanting to play college soccer?
KW: It's a lot of hard work and what you put into it is what you'll get out of it. It's so much fun and you're attitude is what makes it fun and just striving to get better and being competitive with others. And you have to realize it's not the end of the world if something doesn't go your way. Everybody is going to face adversity sometime through college and you have to realize it's not the end of the world.