Aug. 24, 2005
The soccer season has arrived for the University of New Mexico women's soccer team as it opens 2005 at home against Montana on Friday, Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. (MST). For ticket information call 925-LOBO.
The Grizzlies enter the 2005 season with 24 players on the roster, including three seniors, five juniors, five sophomores and 11 freshmen. Montana returns 11 starters to the field and 14 letterwinners.
Head coach Neil Sedgwick leads the squad for his second season. In Sedgwick's first year (2004), the Grizzlies recorded an overall 8-8-2 record and finished third in the Big Sky Conference.
New Mexico made the trip to Missoula, Mont. last season to take on the Grizzlies. The Lobos fell 3-1 with returning sophomore Katelyn Ley scoring the unassisted goal for UNM. Montana's returning junior Lindsay Winans had the hat trick.
Montana is a two-time NCAA tournament participant and boast three Big Sky Conference titles in regular season and tournament play.
Web site: www.MontanaGrizzlies.com
The Lobos have 29 players suiting up for the 2005 season with 19 returning letterwinners and nine returning starters. Three seniors lead the team of 10 juniors, six sophomores and 10 freshmen. New Mexico presents nine true freshmen as the 2005 recruiting class.
Forwards: Out of the forward group, New Mexico returns six letterwinners and adds several possible newcomers that could help in UNM's scoring chances. Head coach Kit Vela would like to see juniors Kristine Sweat (Concord, Calif.) and Bridgette Sanchez (Rio Rancho, N.M.) lead UNM's offense as both showed great potential during the spring season and have plenty of veteran experience. Sophomores Katelyn Ley (Marine, Minn.) and Jordan Johnson (Tulsa, Okla.) will also be called upon to capitalize on New Mexico's scoring chances throughout the season. Both proved in their freshmen campaigns that they were capable of putting points on the board as each led the 2004 team with three goals. New Mexico product Alicia Lacovara (Edgewood, N.M.) will also show some support up front after playing in all 17 games last season and scoring one goal. Junior Kellisha Rendell (Centennial, Colo.) was a redshirt during the 2004 season, but has been a helpful contributor to the Lobos in the past.
Midfielders: The Lobos will have a strong core of midfielders taking the field this season as Vela has a starting line up of juniors Kaela Kelly (Hesperia, Calif.), Kellee Hafner (Katy, Texas) and Eryn Paetz (San Pedro, Calif.), and sophomore Terryn Granados (Albuquerque, N.M.). All four showed great chemistry during spring training. Sophomore Anna Neu (Nehawka, Neb.) will also be a contender for a starting role as she was an all-MWC second team honoree and made 16 starts in her freshman year.
Defenders: Plenty of veteran experience will anchor the Lobos in
Goalkeepers: As senior and one of four team captains, Kristen Winters (Lakewood, Colo.) will be leading New Mexico between the posts. Winters is entering her sixth season at UNM after being granted a medical hardship extension from the NCAA. She is the all-time leader at UNM for most wins (20) and shutouts (17). Other goalkeepers behind the scenes are young talents redshirt freshman Shannon Adragna (Albuquerque, N.M.) and true freshman Kiani Wong (Honolulu, Hawai'i).
HEAD COACH Kit Vela AND STAFF
Kit Vela enters her fifth season as head coach for the New Mexico women's soccer team along with assistant coach and husband Jorge Vela. Graduate assistant and Albuquerque, N.M. native Kristen Graczyk joins the coaching staff for her first year of coaching. Graczyk returns to Albuquerque after a successful four year career with the UConn women's soccer team where she was its leading scorer and an All-American.
HOME GAMES HIT IT BIG IN 2004
In 2004, New Mexico was ranked eighth in the nation for average home attendance (1,201) and No. 1 in the Mountain West Conference.
LOBOS MAKE IT COUNT IN THE CLASSROOM
For the 2004 fall semester, the Lobos achieved a team GPA of a 3.50, making it the highest GPA the women's team has earned in the history of the program. The Lobos post some other outstanding numbers on the academic front in 2004: 14 players were named to the Academic All-Mountain West Conference team and 13 players earned MWC Scholar-Athlete awards.
TURNING THE CORNER
Preseason has been intense for the Lobos. The team is focused on making the 2005 season a successful one and it shows during preseason practices. Vela is pleased with how fit the players came to preseason. She says they all showed up in excellent physical condition and were all ready to play. Vela knows that the hard work coming from the players is what will be needed for the team to turn that corner this season. The Lobos show hunger during practices and are looking to convert that drive over into their games in 2005.
Nine home games will be played at the UNM Soccer Complex as the Lobos host two non-conference individual games, four non-conference tournament games and three conference games. Here is a look at the 2005 schedule:
After the Montana match, the Lobos host its first tournament of the season. The Nike Classic will run Sept. 2-4 with Alabama, Eastern Washington, Akron and UNM as the participants. The Lobos will play Alabama on Sept. 2 and Eastern Washington on Sept. 4.
The following weekend, New Mexico plays tournament host one more time for the UNM Classic. Arizona State, Auburn and Syracuse will travel to Albuquerque for the tournament weekend with the Lobos taking on Auburn on Sept. 9 and Syracuse on Sept. 11.
The Lobos then kick off their road schedule at the Cats Classic in Tucson, Ariz. where they are to play California State Fullerton, Sept. 16 and Arizona, Sept. 18.
UNM wraps up its non-conference schedule with a road trip to Nevada on Sept. 23 and a home match against Idaho on Sept. 25.
With the addition of TCU, the conference schedule will be challenging. New Mexico will travel to Utah the first weekend of conference games where it will face BYU, Oct. 6, in Provo and defending conference tournament champions Utah, Oct. 8, in Salt Lake City.
The Lobos are then back in Albuquerque to challenge San Diego State, Oct. 14 and defending regular season champions UNLV, Oct. 16.
After road dates with Wyoming on Oct. 21 and Air Force on Oct. 23, UNM closes at home against conference newcomer TCU, Oct. 29.
The MWC tournament will be hosted by UNLV in Las Vegas, Nev. Nov. 2-5.
Kit Vela's thoughts on this season's schedule: "It's a tough schedule. It's hard to say where we will fall in conference, although, I think every team in the conference has the ability to win. Every year the conference has gotten better, stronger and more competitive since we got here four years ago. I want us to compete. No "excuses." We need to take one game at a time, non-conference and conference. We need to focus on 90 good minutes for each game and find a way to win. I think if we do those things properly, we are going to be very successful. We have the ability. We are right there. Now it's just getting out on the field and doing it."