Sept. 5, 2008
By Richard Stevens
The message Lobos coach Kit Vela delivered at halftime to her New Mexico Lobos was simply enough: run faster, move quicker, play harder.
"We were lethargic in the first half," Vela said after her Lobos' 1-0 win over Drake Friday night in the University of New Mexico Classic. "It was almost like we strutted out onto the field like we owned the world without doing anything. We kind of lit into them at the half."
Actually, the Lobos kind of owned the field in the first half at the Lobos Soccer Complex. UNM dominated the action, but failed to find the net. UNM had five shots-on-goal in the first half to three for the visitors.
Still, the pace was not what Vela wants the Lobos' pace to be in 2008 -- all out fast, all out aggressive.
Things got better in the second half, but the best moment came at the 71:30 mark when UNM's Jael Fanning crossed a ball from the left side and placed it nicely at the feet of Nicole Reed. She one-touched it into the net.
"I got the ball from Jael, right in front, and I just wanted to put something on it," said Reed, a 5-foot-5 freshman. "I wasn't looking at a spot (in the net). I just wanted to get a touch on it. If I missed it, I figured one of my teammates would be following me up."
Reed didn't miss, but UNM did miss a couple of nice opportunities in the second half.
Fanning got a perfect cross and pounded a dead-on header toward the open net.
Drake's goalie Jenny Schroeder, who played at Sandia High in Albuquerque, came across to her right to make an outstanding save. UNM's Hannah Hand also got a cross to her feet in front of the net, but Schroeder made another nice save.
"We had a lot of missed opportunities, but that's part of the game," said Reed. "You just have to take advantage of your opportunities when you have them and eventually you'll probably score."
The Lobos dominated field position in the first half, but Vela didn't exactly like the pace of the domination.
"They were a slow-playing team and we started out as a slow-playing team," she said. "That wasn't our style. But that comes with youth. I know we wanted it. It was just a matter of figuring things out."
Which happened at the half. Vela had figured things out long before the break and passed on her conclusions to her young Lobos. "I said, "Hey, pick it up,'" she said.
The Lobos took 22 shots to seven for Drake, with UNM launching nine shots on goal to four for the Bulldogs. UNM's Shannon Adragna had four saves and Schroeder had eight.
The Lobos Kaci Paetz was injured on a collision of heads and had to be taken to a local hospital. Vela said Paetz broke her nose. "She broke it pretty good," said Vela. The Lobos' next game is Tuesday at the Lobo Complex against Hawaii.