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Women's Soccer Travels to Northern Arizona for 4th Annual Altitude Challenge
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  09/23/2008
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Sept. 23, 2008

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.--The University of New Mexico women's soccer team heads west to Flagstaff, Ariz., this weekend for the 4th Annual High Altitude Challenge hosted by Northern Arizona. The Lobos will take on the Utah Valley University Wolverines Friday, at 6 p.m. MDT and the Central Arkansas Bears Sunday, at 12 p.m. MDT. New Mexico will not only deal with top-level competition but also a 2,000 ft jump in elevation. Flagstaff sits 7,000 ft above sea level and will test the fitness level of all teams in the rightly named High Altitude Challenge.

This will conclude the Lobos non-conference part of the 2008 schedule. New Mexico will continue its seven-match road trip when they kick off conference play on Oct. 5 when they take on TCU in Fort Worth, Texas at 12 p.m. MDT.

HEAD COACH Kit Vela's WEEKLY ADDRESS

"We wanted to go up to 7,200 ft to prepare us for conference. It's great to play on Northern Arizona's field because it's usually windy and it will prepare us for the worst. We want to experience two games at this altitude with nine freshmen because we will be doing that in two weeks when we play Air Force and Wyoming. Our sites are set on continuing to learn and prepare for TCU. I think that Utah Valley and Central Arkansas our going to give us a good run for our money in the sense that it's going to be a fight to the end."

"I'm looking forward to playing this weekend. Our players are looking forward to playing this weekend. They wanted to play this Monday because they are happy and hungry to play soccer. This is how we want to be going into the TCU weekend."

LIVE STATS

Both New Mexico matches will have Gametracker available on www.GoLobos.com.

New Mexico vs. Utah Valley University 6 p.m. MDT. Friday, Sept. 26, 2008. http://naustats.newtier.com/soccer/xlive.htm

New Mexico vs. Central Arkansas 12 p.m. MDT. Sunday, Sept. 28, 2008. http://naustats.newtier.com/soccer/xlive.htm

SERIES INFORMATION AGAINST UTAH VALLEY UNIVERSITY

New Mexico leads the all-time series with UVU 1-0.

The Lobos beat the Wolverines 3-1 on Sept. 8, 2007 in Albuquerque.

SCOUTING UTAH VALLEY UNIVERSITY

The Wolverines are 4-2-1 on the season and had won four of their first five matches before dropping the last two. UVU is lead offensively by Jennifer Lohner who has three goals and three assists on the season.

SERIES INFORMAION AGAINST CENTRAL ARKANSAS

This match will be the first between the two programs.

PREVIEWING CENTRAL ARKANSAS

The Bears are on the season 1-3-0 on the season. Central Arkansas has been out scored 13-6 this season. The Bears are lead offensively by Randi Condley who has two goals on the season.

ADRAGNA HOLDS HER OWN AGAINST TOP-25 CONTENDERS

Senior goalkeeper Shannon Adragna showed why she is one of the best net minders in UNM school history this past weekend against two top-25 teams at the UCLA Women's Cup in Los Angeles, Calif. The senior from Albuquerque faced two of the top teams in the country in 25th-ranked San Diego and 2nd-ranked UCLA. The Toreros and Bruins fired off a combined 35 shots with 22 shots on goal. Adragna posted 18 saves which is one more than she had in the previous seven matches combined. Against San Diego Adragna, posted a season high 10 saves that were all nothing short of spectacular and kept the Toreros defense off the scoreboard with her 17th career shutout. Adragna now takes over sole possession of second place all-time at UNM for career shutouts. She is now eight behind Kristen Winters 25 career shutouts.

NEW MEXICO RECIEVES REGIONAL ATTENTION

The University of New Mexico women's soccer team has caught the attention of Soccer Buzz Magazine regional polls. New Mexico who has won or tied seven out of its last eight matches, has received votes to be placed in the top-15 of the Central Division.

The Lobos have tied two top-25 teams this season. On Sept. 12, New Mexico battled 24th-ranked Wisconsin-Milwaukee to a 1-1 tie and on Sept. 19, and held the leading scorer in the nation, Sarah Hagen to one goal on six shots. The Lobos held off 25th-ranked San Diego, winners of five consecutive matches. The Lobos blanked the Toreros for the first time in five matches. Coming in to the match with New Mexico San Diego averaged 2.2 goals per game.

HOME AWAY FROM HOME

The New Mexico women's soccer team was the visiting team this past weekend at the UCLA Women's Cup in Los Angeles, Calif. The stands however told a different story. A sea of Cherry and Silver flooded the home stands of UCLA. The New Mexico roster lists 11 players from the state of Calif., and was their presence felt. Parents, siblings, friends, old coaches and even a few pets made the trip from various parts of Calif. all with Lobo gear in hand. In Sunday's match against 2nd-ranked UCLA the Lobo fans took over Drake Stadium sending the UCLA fans to the opposite side of the field.

SOPHOMORE SENSATION

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 had a nose for the net, Ball was no different in the classroom. She received all-MWC Academic Honors. Ball will roam the midfield this year and has already scored a goal and notched an assist in an exhibition against New Mexico Highlands. Ball has started every game to this point and scored the her first goal of the season against Fairleigh Dickinson of Sept. 14.

ASSIST QUEEN

Senior Hannah Hand is rapidly moving up the UNM all-time assist record for a career. Since coming on in 2005 Hand has 16 assists that ranks her second all-time at UNM. Hand is seven behind all-time leader Laurie Hegedorn. Hand could be a major weapon for the Lobo offense this season.

LAST MATCHES

The Lobos went 0-1-1 this past weekend at the UCLA Women's Cup in Los Angeles, Calif. On Sept. 19, the Lobos battled San Diego to a scoreless draw 0-0. Senior goalkeeper Shannon Adragna picked up her 17th career shutout and took over second place all-time at UNM for career shutouts. Adragna posted a season high 10 saves and constantly put a stop to the San Diego offensive charge. Senior Hannah Hand and sophomore Rachel Fields lead the Lobos offensively. Both had two shots with two shots on goal. The Lobos defense successfully defended 13 corner kicks by the Toreros and kept them from getting on the scoreboard.

On Sept. 21, the Lobos fell to 2nd-ranked UCLA 3-0 on what was strong defensive performance by the Lobos. In UCLA's previous two games the Bruins posted 69 shots against Brown on Sept. 14 and Miami on Sept. 19 in the first match of the UCLA Women's Cup. The Lobos held the Bruins to only 16 shots. Adragna once again looked spectacular making save after save. She ended up with 8 saves on the day.

COACH VELA NETS 50th CAREER VICTORY

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 51st win against Fairleigh Dickinson by a score of 5-0. Vela's record at UNM is 51-65-24 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 15-21-9.

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.

LOBOS SELECT CAPTAINS FOR 2008 SEASON

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.

KEEPING HISTORY

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 1.14 mark since 2004. With the Lobos tie against 25th-ranked San Diego on Sept. 19, Adragna took over sole possesion of second place all-time at UNM in shutouts with 17 and fourth all-time in saves with 157. Her seven shutouts last season was good for fourth best in a single season and her eight wins ranks her fifth.

FRESHMEN A PLENTY

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.
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