Jan. 14, 2009
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.-- The University of New Mexico women's soccer team concluded its 15th-year with an 8-5-6 overall record while going 3-3-1 in Mountain West Conference play. Eighth-year head coach Kit Vela guided her team to the MWC Tournament and posted the programs fourth straight eight win season for the first time in program history.
New Mexico nearly doubled the amount of goals from a season ago with a total of 32. Leading the way for the Lobos was sophomore midfielder Alexis Ball with seven goals and four assists for a total of 18 points. Two of Ball's seven goals were gamewinners. Along with Ball, senior forward Hannah Hand had three goals and eight assists.
RECORDS SHUFFLEThe UNM record book saw quite a few changes this season. New Mexico set a team single season record with a seven match unbeaten streak. The Lobos went 3-0-4 in a streak that lasted nearly a month.
Senior goalkeeper Shannon Adragna moved into second place all-time for career victories with 21 and career shutouts with 20. The Albuquerque native also holds the school record with a career 0.89 goal against average. Adragna also moved into fourth place all-time for career saves with 196. Adragna became the only women's soccer player to earn MWC Defensive Player of the Week honors twice in one season on Sept. 29 and Oct. 13.
Hand, moved from seventh all-time for career assists to second all-time with a total of 18. The Los Angeles, Calif., native, totaled the third most assists in a single season with eight. Hand also moved into ninth place all-time for career points with 30 from 2005-2008.
Ball, only a sophomore, shook up the all-time rankings in only her second season. The Albuquerque native's six career gamewinning goals ranks third all-time at New Mexico and her 31 career points ranks seventh all-time. Ball's 13 career goals ties her for fifth all-time and her 120 career shots is tied for fourth all-time. Ball also put a dent on the single season records as well. Her 18 points this season ties her for seventh all-time for points in a single season and her 69 shots ranks third all-time in a single season. Ball is in a four way tie for fourth all-time for goals in a season with seven.
POST SEASON AWARDSWhen they were done re-writing the record books Adragna, Hand and Ball picked up post-season accolades by being named to the All-MWC team. Ball earned first team honors while Adragna and Hand earned second team honors.
New Mexico had its share of academic awards as well. The Lobos earned a National Soccer Coaches Association of America Team Academic award. The award is giving to teams who earn a 3.0 grade point average for the academic year. Ball and Bevis were both selected to the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District honors. Ball picked up second team honors while Bevis earned third team honors.
YOUNG GUNSThe Lobos saw their youth emerge as seven players scored their first career goals. True freshmen Jennifer Williams and Zaneta Wyne each had four goals on the season. Fellow true freshman Nicole Reed netted three goals while Amanda Collins and Jael Fanning each scored two a piece. Sophomore Rachel Fields and redshirt freshman Jordan Craig each netted one goal. In Lobo total underclassmen accounted for 84 percent of the teams goals.
SENIOR SEND OFFFive seniors played their last matches in a Lobo uniform this season. Seniors Adragna, Samantha Bevis, Hand, Kaci Paetz and Krista Peterson were all big contributors to the last four seasons. This was the first senior class in Lobo women's soccer history to walk out the door with four consecutive winning seasons and a handful of awards.
SCHEDULING THE BEST IN THE COUNTRYThe Lobos played one of their toughest schedules this season. With big name teams like, 2007 Sun Belt Conference Champions Denver, NCAA semifinalist UCLA, 2007 Western Athletic Conference Champ Hawai'i, 2007 NCAA first round qualifier San Diego and 2007 MWC Tournament Champion BYU. New Mexico finished the season with a school record rank of 67th in RPI and faced six top-50 RPI teams in UCLA (1), BYU (19), Wisconsin-Milwaukee (21), San Diego (23), Denver (35) and TCU (50). Of the teams New Mexico faced in 2008 six qualified for the NCAA Tournament. The list includes BYU, San Diego, UCLA, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Denver and Northern Arizona.
WRAP UPNew Mexico ended its season with a berth to the MWC Tournament in Las Vegas, Nev. on Nov 5-8. In the quarterfinals the fourth seeded Lobos tied the fifth seeded and tournament host, UNLV Rebels, 1-1, but lost on penalty kicks 3-2. With five seniors graduating his young team with 23 players returning bodes well with excitement in the makings.
COACH VELA NETS 50th CAREER VICTORYNew 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 56-68-26 and has included four straight eight-win seasons. Vela has taken her team to the MWC tournament seven out of eight years and have advanced to the MWC Championship game twice in 2002 and 2005. Vela has an overall MWC record of 18-24-10.
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.