Fourth Seed New Mexico Takes on Fifth Seed UNLV at Mountain West Conference Tournament
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  11/03/2008
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Nov. 3, 2008

Hannah Hand Interview

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Hand Receives Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Week
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.--The University of New Mexico women's soccer team has earned the fourth seed at the Mountain West Conference Tournament and will take on fifth seed UNLV Wednesday, at 4 p.m. MT. Both semifinals and the championship matches will be televised on the Mountain Sports Network. Bill Riley will provide the play-by-play and Mark Rogondino will have the color commentary for The Mtn's broadcast of the Mountain West Conference Tournament.

This will be the second time in five days that the Lobos (8-5-5, 3-3-1 MWC) will take on the Rebels (11-6-2, 3-3-1). New Mexico won the last match by a score of 2-1 to earn the fourth seed. After missing last seasons tournament, New Mexico fought its way back in to the six team tournament and will make a run at capturing its first conference tournament championship. The winner of the MWC Tournament earns an automatic berth to the 2008 NCAA Women's College Cup.


"The tournament is always such a great event. I think the fact that we are eight teams deep in this conference, when you bring the top six teams in, anyone can win at any moment. I think our conference really showed that up until the last weekend there was a lot of unknowns. Most conferences have their teams that are on the top and those teams at the bottom but not in the Mountain West. This season has shown the value of our conference and of the conference tournament."

"I think that every conference tournament around the country, everything goes back to zero. It doesn't really matter what happened during conference, now every game is a must win and it's do-or-die. I honestly think that with the top six teams in this tournament, any match can go either way."


The Mountain West Conference Tournament will take place on Nov. 5-8 in Las Vegas Nevada. First seed and regular season champion BYU and second seed Utah will have first round bye. BYU will take on the winner of the fourth seed New Mexico and fifth seed UNLV which takes place Wednesday, at 4:00 p.m. MT. Utah will take on the winner of third seeded TCU and sixth seeded San Diego State which takes place Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. MT.


The Lobos are 5-8-1 all-time at the Mountain West Conference Tournament. Under head coach Kit Vela the Lobos have reached two championship matches (2002, 2005), two semi-final matches (2003, 2006) and two quarterfinal matches (2001 and 2002). Vela has a MWC tournament record of 5-6-1 during her eight years of coaching the Lobos. New Mexico's last appearance in the MWC tournament was a 2-1 loss to then 10th-ranked Utah in overtime. The Lobos did not make the 2007 tournament.


Thursday's semifinal matches will be televised live on The Mtn. at 1:00 p.m. MT. and 4:00 p.m. MT. Saturday's championship game will also be aired via same-day tape delay on The Mtn. at 11:30 p.m. MT, and re-air Sunday, Nov. 9 at 2 p.m. MT. The Mtn, television network can be seen on Comcast channel 276, Direct TV channel 616 and Cable One channel 329 in Rio Rancho.

Live Stats will be available through Gametracker at www.GoLobos.com.


UNLV holds a 7-4 all-time series lead over New Mexico and are currently on a five match winning streak over the Lobos. The Lobos last victory over the Rebels came on Oct. 24, 2003, in a 1-0 win in Albuquerque. Last year the Rebels escaped Albuquerque, with a narrow 2-1 victory in overtime. The Lobos haven't won in Las Vegas since Oct. 13, 2002 when they brought home a 1-0 victory over the Rebels.


UNLV is 11-6-2 on the season and is 3-2-1 in MWC play. The 2007 MWC regular season champions are lead by Ashleigh Shoughro who has 11 goals and five assists for 27 points which is the second most in the MWC. In goal for the Rebels is Alicia Lugo who is 11-3-1 on the season and has posted a 0.83 goals against average. The Rebels are 7-1-0 at home this season.


Playing on the road has been kind to the Lobos this season. All three of New Mexico's conference wins have come on the road. The Lobos picked up a pair of 1-0 wins over Air Force on Oct. 10 and Wyoming on Oct. 12. The Lobos last road win came against UNLV, on Oct. 31 in a 2-1 victory.


Senior Hannah Hand has been awarded the Mountain West Conference Player of the Week honor. Hand, a Los Angeles, Calif. native scored the gamewinnner against UNLV, in a 2-1 victory over the Rebels. Hand picked up a cross from freshman Jennifer Williams and headed the ball past the UNLV keeper for the gamewinner in the 62nd minute. With the win the Lobos secured a spot in the Mountain West Conference Tournament and earned the fourth seed.

Hand is the third recipient of the award this season for the Lobos. True Freshman Nicole Reed won the award on Oct. 1 and Senior goalkeeper Shannon Adragna picked up two player of the week awards on Sept. 29 and Oct. 13.


The Lobos are a perfect 6-0 when leading at halftime. New Mexico lead by at least one goal at halftime to pick up wins against Baylor on Aug. 29, Fairleigh Dickinson on Sept. 14, Utah Valley University on Sept. 26, Central Arkansas on Sept. 28, Wyoming on Oct. 12 and UNLV on Oct. 31.

The Lobos have scored 31 goals so far this season with one match left to play in the regular season. In 2007, the Lobos found the back of the net 18 times. The 28 goals are the most the Lobos have scored in a single season since 2002 when they scored 37. The most goals scored in a single season is 42 in 1996. The Lobos are also assisting each other better than in 2007. This season New Mexico has 27 assists compared to 16 in 2007. The Lobos 27 assists are the most since 1997 when the Lobos notched 51 assists.


Sophomore Alexis Ball and senior Hannah Hand have grown accustomed to having their names show up on box scores. Ball the goal scorer and Hand the assist machine have hooked up for a total of six times in the last two years. The most recent occurrence was on Oct. 10 at Air Force when Ball took a cross from Hand and put away the game-winner in the 32nd minute of the match.


The Lobos are currently ranked 73rd in the country in the current RPI rankings released Oct. 21. This seasons schedule has been one of the toughest in school history. New Mexico has seen five teams ranked in top-50 in the RPI ranking, including No.4 UCLA, No. 16 BYU, No. 26 Wisconsin-Milwaukee and No. 29 San Diego. New Mexico has the third best RPI in the MWC behind BYU and TCU and Utah.


New Mexico women's soccer lit up the scoredboard on Sept. 28 against the Central Arkansas Bears at the 4th Annual High Altitude Tournament. In route to a tournament championship with a 2-0 mark, the Lobos recorded a season-high seven goals and tied a NAU Lumberjack Stadium record for goals scored in a single match. True freshman Zaneta Wyne and sophomore Kate Wyrick each had two goals while redshirt freshman Jordan Craig, sophomores Alexis Ball and Rachel Fields each netted one goal a piece.


New Mexico is currently ranked second in the MWC for home attendance. The UNM Soccer Complex is averaging 1,253 fans in the Lobos' eight home matches. The biggest crowd of the season, 2,173 fans, saw the Lobos tie the San Diego State Aztecs 1-1 in overtime. In the Lobos eight home matches the crowds have been over 2,000 fans three times and over 1,000 five times.


Seven of New Mexico's 10 goal scorers found the net for the first time in their young careers. True freshmen Jael Fanning, Jennifer Williams, Nicole Reed, Amanda Collins, Zaneta Wyne, redshirt freshman Jordan Craig and sophomore Rachel Fields each have ripped the ball into the back of the net. The first timers have accounted for 64 percent of New Mexico's scoring. Wyne and Williams each have four goals, which is tied for the team lead.


Alexis Ball had a dream freshman season as she lead the Lobo offense with six goals and one assist and is the only all-MWC selection from last year. Ball scored the game winning goal in four games last season which ranks her in a six-way tie for sixth place all-time at UNM. Ball was also the MWC player of the week on Oct. 1, 2007 as well as the Soccer Buzz Elite Team of the Week on Oct. 2, 2007. While she has a nose for the net, Ball is no different in the classroom. She received all-MWC Academic Honors. Ball has roamed the midfield this year and scored five goals and notched three assists. Ball has started every game to this point and moved in to third place all time at New Mexico with her sixth game-winning goal that she netted against Air Force on Oct. 10.


Senior Hannah Hand is rapidly moving up the UNM all-time assist record for a career. Since coming on in 2005 Hand has 18 assists that ranks her second all-time at UNM. The senior from Los Angeles Calif., recorded her eighth assist of the season against Air Force on Oct. 10. Hand is now only five behind Laurie Hegedorn with 18 career assists and still has at least two games left in her career.


The Lobos secured a spot in the six-team MWC Tournament by defeating UNLV 2-1 on Oct. 31. The Lobos found goals from Alexis Ball in the 34th minute and the gamewinner from senior Hannah Hand in the 62nd minute. The finished the regular season 8-5-5 and 3-3-1 in MWC play.


New Mexico head women's soccer coach Kit Vela reached a milestone of 50 career wins against Drake on Friday, Sept. 5. The Lobos blanked the Bulldogs 1-0. Vela has become the only women's soccer coach at UNM to reach the 50 win mark. She has since picked up her 56th win against UNLV by a score of 2-1. Vela's record at UNM is 56-68-25 and has included three straight eight-win seasons. Vela has taken her team to the MWC tournament six out of seven years and have advanced to the MWC Championship game twice in 2002 and 2005. Vela has an overall MWC record of 17-24-10.

During her tenure at UNM, Vela has made remarkable strides in a short period. In 2005, Vela's squad was 2-0-1 against nationally-ranked opponents. Perhaps the biggest win of the season came when the Lobos defeated sixth ranked BYU in Provo 1-0. The Lobos would go on to defeat No. 22 Utah in the MWC tournament. In 2001, Vela's first year, the Lobos had their best conference finish with a mark of 3-2-1.

Vela's first victory came in dramatic fashion as the Lobos took down No. 12 Kentucky 1-0 on Sept. 30, 2001.


The New Mexico women's soccer team has selected four senior players as captains. Goalkeeper Shannon Adragna, defenders Samantha Bevis, Kaci Paetz and Krista Peterson were selected by their teammates for ability to lead on the field and how to represent the Lobos and the University off of it. The four captains will lead the Lobos in to the 2008 season with energy and excitement.


Senior goalkeeper Shannon Adragna is on track to leave UNM as the best to play her position. Adragna is currently ranked in the top-five in eight UNM single season and career school records. The product of Albuquerque's Sandia High School, Adragna is ranked first in goals against average with a 0.89 mark since 2004. Adragna is currently in second place all-time at UNM in shutouts with 20, only five behind leader Kristen Winters. Her seven shutouts this season was good for fourth best in a single season and her eight wins last season ranks her fifth. Adragna is also fourth all-time in saves with 194.


New Mexico welcomes 15 new freshmen to the University in their pursuit of higher learning. The newcomers will don the Cherry and Silver in pursuit of playing time and a collegiate career. The freshmen come from far and wide to play soccer for head coach Kit Vela, with six from right in New Mexico and as far as Adelaide, Australia. Five come from the Calif. while Ariz., Utah, and Texas each have one current lobo on the roster for the Lobos.
Monday, August 17
7:00 PM - 
Women's Soccer
vs. Fort Lewis (exhibition)
Friday, August 21
5:00 PM - 
Women's Soccer
at USC vs. Texas Tech
7:30 PM - 
Women's Soccer
vs. Florida State
Sunday, August 23
10:30 AM - 
Women's Soccer
at USC vs. Florida State
1:00 PM - 
Women's Soccer
vs. Texas Tech
Wednesday, August 26
6:00 PM - 
Women's Soccer
at New Mexico State
Sunday, August 30
1:00 PM - 
Women's Soccer
at Colorado