Aug. 6, 2009
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The University of New Mexico women's soccer team will start its path to the programs first Mountain West Conference championship with fall camp this week. Head Coach Kit Vela returns a talented group with 22 returning players from last years squad and 11 newcomers. Fall camp is a three week battle lasting Aug. 5-20 and leads right to the Lobos first home match against Idaho State on Aug. 21 at 7 p.m. MT.
"We are very excited for this seasons camp," said Vela. "We have 33 players checking in to this years camp and all can play well at this level. We feel that the freshmen will acclimate well because they are very athletic and they are all determined and hungry. It's going to be a very exciting preseason."
During fall camp the Lobos will hone their skills and get conditioned for the upcoming season. On Aug. 11 the Lobos will have their first of two scheduled intrasquad scrimmages with the Cherry-Silver Scrimmage on Aug. 16 at 1 p.m.
All 11 positions for the Lobos will be up for grabs this season. While 22 players return -including15 returning letter winners and 11 returning starters, 11 young and hungry newcomers will be in the mix for starting positions.
FORWARDSReturning in the attack for the Lobos will be juniors Katie McKernan and Kate Wyrick, sophomores Jennifer Williams and Jordan Craig and redshirt freshmen Natalie Jenks and Alexandra Wodka. Williams will be the catalyst in the Lobo attack and was the Lobos third leading scorer as a true freshman with four goals and one assist.
"We are very deep up front with Jen Williams, Zaneta Wyne, Katie McKernan, Kate Wyrick, Jordan Craig and Alex Wodka, said Vela. "All of these girls trained hard over the summer and played a lot over the summer, which is a good thing. We had more players play club soccer this summer then we ever had which bodes well for the team. It shows how committed they are to the program."
MIDFIELDERSA stacked group of midfielders will dictate the pace and control the flow of the match. Returning to the midfield will be the Lobos' leading scorer over the past two seasons, junior Alexis Ball. Ball netted seven goals and notched four assists, which earned her All-MWC first team honors. Joining Ball in the midfield will be a star-studded cast including senior Veronika Strnadova and sophomores Amanda Collins, Jael Fanning, Nicole Reed and Zaneta Wyne. The returning midfield group combined for more than 60 percent of last seasons goals scored. Add to the mix incoming freshmen Kelly Angerosa, Ashley Espinoza, Chandler Guetz, Lauren Irwin, Shelby Luna, Rachel Montoya and Stephanie Rowe who will all compete for playing time in the deepest midfield UNM has seen in some time.
"We are very deep this year in midfield," said Vela. "We have good numbers through and through. We have six returning midfielders who are all very competent in Amanda Collins, Rachel Fields, Veronika Strnadova, Alexis Ball, Jael Fanning and Nikki Reed. We have added tremendous youth depth with Shelby Luna, Chandler Guetz, Ashely Espinoza, KellyAngerosa and Rachel Montoya. It is the deepest midfield since we started coaching here and we are excited about that. The midfield is the engine of the team and you're only as good as your engine."
DEFENDERSThe last line of defense for the Lobos will consist of four players who all have starting experience. Anchoring the backline will be senior Jess Quador, juniors Megan Bodenheimer and Liz Lambert and sophomore Roxie McFarland. All four have seen major minutes for the Lobos and are match tested. As strong as the projected first backline will be the reserves are just as capable of stepping in when needed. Sophomores Gianna Cavuoto and Courtney Carpenter have seen the field and earned a letter with the team last season. Redshirt freshman Megan Carpenter had a great showing in spring ball and could surprise a lot of people this fall. Junior Kerrin Stephan has yet to prove herself but will have a great opportunity in fall camp. Incoming freshman Sinead Fleming, Channing Perea and Melanie Ward bring an aggressive and tough mentality to a deep backline.
"Our backline is steady," said Vela. "We have four outstanding center backs all returning with Liz Lambert at the lead, plus Megan Bodenheimer Megan Carpenter and Gianna Cavuoto. Any of the four of them can play and that's a good sign for us. Both of our outside backs played all spring in Jess Quador and Roxie McFarland. They both have great experience and are both great kids. Well have to see where Kerrin Stephan works in and see how hard she worked over the summer. Courtney Carpenter put in a lot of hard work over the summer. We add some tremendous defenders with Sinead Fleming who was all everything for a good high school team and played for a very good club team. Melanie Ward is a great athlete who can play anywhere on the field. We have some versatile young athletes who are tremendous soccer players."
GOALKEEPERSRedshirt freshman Kelli Cornell will face trial by fire but showed in spring ball that she has prepared herself after a year of learning from Lobo great Shannon Adragna and Lobo goalkeeper coach Jorge Vela. Cornell will see her first Division I action in the Lobos home opener on Aug. 21 against Idaho State. Incoming freshman Sidney George will look to gain the same experience in her first year that Cornell did by redshirting.
"Two outstanding Southern California girls," said Vela. "Kelli Cornell has showed her ability in the spring and she is very good. Sidney George is coming in and is very athletic and after a year under her belt she'll be ready to go."