Aug. 23, 2004
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UPCOMING: The University of New Mexico women's soccer team kicks off the new season this weekend when it travels to West Lafayette, Ind., for the Boilermaker Challenge Cup Tournament hosted by Purdue. The Lobos face the Cincinnati Bearcats for their season-opener on Friday, Aug. 27 at 10:00 a.m. (MDT). Following Friday's match, UNM will take on the Purdue Boilermakers on Sunday, Aug. 29, at 2:00 p.m. (MDT).
CINCINNATI BEARCATS (0-0-0, 0-0-0 C-USA)
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Conference: Conference USA
Head Coach: Meridy Glenn (Brown `80)
Record at Cincinnati: 235-140-28 (21st year)
Starters Returning/Lost: 6/5
2003 Record: 5-13-1
2003 Conference Record: 3-7-0 (11th)
UNM vs. Cincinnati: First Meeting
Top Goal Scorer Returning: 6 players tied with 1
Top Assists Returning: 3 players tied with 1
Top Goalie Returning: Sherry Slye (1.58 GAA)
Notes: Cincinnati was picked to finish seventh out of 14 teams in the CUSA preseason poll. The BearCats are returning six starters and 13 letterwinners from the 2003 squad. For preseason training, the team traveled to Europe for five exhibition games where they went 4-1-0.
Web Site: www.UCBearcats.com.
PURDUE BOILERMAKERS (0-0-0, 0-0-0 BIG TEN)
Location: West Lafayette, Ind.
Conference: Big Ten
Head Coach: Rob Klatte
Record at Purdue: 62-49-9 (6th year)
Career Record: 118-94-15 (11th year)
Starters Returning/Lost: 5/6
2003 Record: 14-6-3
2003 Conference Record: 6-2-2 (3rd)
UNM vs. Purdue: First Meeting
Top Goal Scorer Returning: Lauren Sesseimann (10)
Top Assists Returning: Lauren Sesseimann (10)
Top Goalie Returning: Lauren Mason (1.16 GAA)
Notes: Purdue had a strong 2003 outing, advancing to the Sweet 16 at the NCAA Championships before losing to North Carolina.
Web Site: www.purduesports.com
PRESEASON PRACTICE NOTES: The Lobos are eager to get the season underway and it shows during preseason training. Knowing a competitive schedule lies before it, the UNM squad has come out to practice with intensity. Head coach Kit Vela is pleased how the large roster has entered the preseason fit and ready to work hard. She is excited to see the young talent play in a regular season match.
"The preseason has been outstanding," said Vela. "Everybody came in pretty fit. We are working them really hard and they are doing everything we ask them to do and more."
Vela and her coaching staff have pushed the team at practices in hopes to make it a strong unit come this weekend. UNM has shown great communication out on the practice field. The players seem physically sound and mentally prepared for the upcoming schedule.
Team captains Coco D'Angelo, LeAnne Hendren, Kristen Winters and Brittany Emerson have already seen great things from the new team. All four Lobos agree that the team has bonded faster than it has in the past.
"I think this is the fastest the team has ever bonded. We definitely bonded during the fitness testing," said Emerson.
The players have also noticed the drive every athlete has brought to the field each day.
"From the very beginning there has been a fire in our eyes and a fire in our hearts when we come to practice," said D'Angelo.
The Lobos hope to keep the fire burning as they enter the season-opener with a match against Cincinnati this Friday. The anticipation is running high for the 2004 Lobos. The group is young, but it still possesses the desire and drive it takes to make a competitive team.
The 2004 Lobo women's soccer team is one of the biggest ever at UNM with 31 players on the roster. Head coach Kit Vela is also fielding one of the youngest teams in her career at UNM. New Mexico enters the season with nine freshmen, 14 sophomores, six juniors and two seniors.
The Lobos feature 12 New Mexico natives on the roster. Last year, nine New Mexicans were listed.
UNM is 3-6-2 in season-openers with seven of the 11 matches being
New Mexico will face three 2003 NCAA Tournament teams and four regionally ranked (Soccer Buzz) squads this season. MWC foe Utah leads the way with a No. 18 preseason national ranking.
UNM is optimistic when it comes to making its own luck in the upcoming 2004 campaign. Although the Lobos finished 2003 with a 3-12-4 record, eight of those games went into overtime, the most ever for New Mexico in one season, and at any given time the team had six or seven freshmen on the field.
The 2004 season will be a clean slate for the New Mexico women's soccer team to build a stronger unified group of athletes. With hard work, drive and having gained valuable expereince at the collegiate level, the Lobos have the ability to make 2004 a successful year.
FINAL WORD FROM COACH VELA:
(on the Lobos' season opening weekend in Indiana): "We are really excited to play this weekend. Cincinnati is not a team we know, but I think we will be well prepared. We are certainly right on track for what we are trying to do training wise. Everybody wants to do so well and this group is really eager to play and to have a great season. We are going to give Cincinnati everything we got and then we will come back and see what needs to be fixed. Right now we are concentrating on Cincinnati and we'll check out Purdue when we get to them. These non-conference games are going to prepare us for our conference. Everyone in our conference is really good and the only way we can prepare for them is to have a good non-conference schedule."