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Lobo Women's Soccer Hosts Idaho State in Season Opener
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  08/19/2009
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Aug. 19, 2009

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.-- The University of New Mexico women's soccer team will take on the Idaho State Bengals on Friday, Aug. 21 at 7 p.m. MT at the UNM Soccer Complex. Head coach Kit Vela and her staff return 15 letterwinners and 11 starters to the pitch in 2009 as they start their quest to the program's first conference championship and first NCAA Women's College Cup berth.

The Lobos will hit the road next week when they travel to Las Vegas, Nev. for the UNLV Nike Classic, Aug. 28-30. New Mexico will take on Cal State Bakersfield on Friday, Aug. 28 at 5:30 p.m. MT and Illinois State at 11:30 a.m. MT on Sunday, Aug. 30.

HEAD COACH Kit Vela's WEEKLY ADDRESS

"We are going to have an exciting team. We are young but it's going to be a fun and exciting season. It's an opening match so that means we are 0-0-0. Everyone around the country is trying to make their mark in their opening match. With the first matches you have first match jitters and excitement. I think we will come out with a lot of energy and so will they. It's going to come down to who can find the back of the net faster. They're a good team and a good first opponent for us and we are looking forward to it."

"Opening at home is an added bonus for us. The girls are very excited, especially to get out there and play someone else."

LIVE STATS AND VIDEO

All Lobo women's soccer home matches will be streamed live through Lobo.TV on www.GoLobos.com. Lobo women's soccer Sports Information Director Daniel Archuleta will provide play-by-play and former Lobo great Shannon Adragna will add color commentary. Live stats will be available through Gametracker on www.GoLobos.com for all women's soccer home matches.

SERIES INFORMATION AGAINST IDAHO STATE

Friday's match will be the first ever meeting between Idaho State and the Lobos. New Mexico was 4-0 last season when facing teams it has never played before.

SCOUTING IDAHO STATE

The Idaho State Bengals finished the 2008 season with a 3-12-4 overall record and were 1-9-1 on the road. The Bengals return last season's leading scorer, junior Lauren Ryan who had four goals and two assists for 10 total points. Sophomore goalkeeper Bailey Williams saw action in 12 matches last season and posted a 2-7-2 record for the Bengals. Williams was named honorable mention All-Big Sky.

17th SEASON OF LOBOS WOMEN'S SOCCER BEGINS

Friday night marks the 17th season of Lobo women's soccer. The Lobos are 7-5-4 in season openers all-time. Head coach Kit Vela has a 2-3-3 record in season openers.

The Lobos tied 2008 NCAA Women's College Cup participant Northern Arizona 1-1 in last seasons opener.

FIREPOWER RETURNS

The Lobos return more than 75 percent of their total points scored from last season. Leading the way for the Lobos is junior Alexis Ball, who scored seven goals and notched four assists last season for 18 total points. Sophomores Jennifer Williams and Zaneta Wyne were second on the team with four goals apiece.

LAST MATCH

The Lobos took on a familiar foe in the Cherry-Silver Intrasqaud last Sunday, Aug. 16. The match ended in a 1-1 tie but the Silver squad advanced 5-4 on penalty kicks. Senior Veronika Strnadova put away the winning penalty for the Silver squad in the sixth round of PK's. The Cherry squad failed to convert on the equalizing penalty.

A TRADITION OF WINNING

Head coach Kit Vela is entering her ninth year at the helm of the women's soccer program. Since coming on in 2001 Vela has led the Lobos to the MWC Tournament seven out of eight years and has reached the championship match twice. In 2001 Vela was awarded the MWC Coach of the Year award.

Vela's squads have earned four consecutive winning seasons and are a force to be reckoned with in the MWC. Last season Vela earned her 50th career victory 1-0 over Drake, on Sept. 5. Her first victory came in dramatic fashion as the Lobos stunned then No. 12 Kentucky in Lexington, Ky. on Sept. 30, 2001.

BALL CHASES THE RECORDS

Junior Alexis Ball has led the Lobos in scoring over the past two seasons in. Her 13 career goals ties her for fifth all-time at New Mexico and is only five away from third place. Ball has proven to have gold in her strikes as well. She is ranked third all-time with six gamewinning goals. Ball is also tied for seventh all-time with 31 career points and is only seven points from being in the top-5.

LOBOS PICKED TO FINISH SIXTH IN MWC PRESEASON POLL

The University of New Mexico women's soccer team was picked to finish sixth this season by the conference head coaches. The Lobos were picked to finish sixth last year and ended the season in a tie for fourth place with UNLV. The top six teams at the end of the season get invited to the conference tournament which will be hosted by BYU in Provo, Utah.

NEW ERA BETWEEN THE PIPES

For the first time in four years the Lobos' will start the season with a new goalkeeper. Redshirt freshman Kelli Cornell will be the Lobos last line of defense in the season opener against Idaho State on Aug. 21. She had a solid spring and went 3-0-1 against Division I competition. Cornell was groomed all summer by keeper coach Jorge Vela to take over the reins from Shannon Adragna.

Adragna was the Lobos' netminder for the previous four seasons and left UNM as one of the best keepers to play at New Mexico. Adragna was 8-7-5 and reached the MWC Tournament semifinals.

SENIORS SHINE

Two seniors will wear the Cherry and Silver for the final time this season. Jess Quador and Veronika Strnadova are the two lone seniors on the Lobo roster. Quador came to UNM as a transfer from Colorado last season. She has become one of the on field leaders on the backline and of the entire team.

Strnadova has shown the heart of a lion. She has faced adversity in the form of an knee injury before the 2008 season. After a successful surgery, Strnadova was able to make a full recovery and is at 100 percent for her senior season.

BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE

New Mexico welcomed 11 incoming freshmen to the squad this fall. Hailing Southern California are goalkeeper Sydney George, defenders Sinead Fleming and Lauren Irwin, and midfielders Shelbie Luna and Channing Perea. From the Land of Enchantment are midfielders Kelly Angerosa, Ashley Espinoza and Rachel Montoya. From Colorado are midfielders Chandler Guetz and Stephanie Rowe. Out of Utah is utility player Melanie Ward.

The strong group of freshman all have the talent to see immediate playing time in coach Vela's system. Each new Lobo brings a wealth of soccer knowledge and prior acomplishments with them.

UNM SOCCER COMPLEX

For the 14th season the Lobo women's soccer team will take the pitch at the UNM Soccer Complex. The home field for the Lobos seats 6,200 fans and is equipped with endline bleachers and a Daktronics scoreboard.

The Lobos will play nine matches at the UNM Soccer Complex. On Sept. 11-13, New Mexico will host the Nike Classic and face off against Cal State Northridge on Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. MT and Tulsa on Sept. 13 at 1 p.m. MT. New Mexico will play seven of its nine home matches under the lights.

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