New Mexico Women's Soccer Travels to Denver for Season Opener
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  08/18/2008
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Aug. 18, 2008


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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The New Mexico women's soccer team will hit the road as they face the Denver Pioneers this Friday Aug. 22 at 4 p.m. MT. Head Coach Kit Vela will enter her eight year at the helm for the Lobos and will start the road towards a Mountain West Conference Championship. The Lobos will return home for a six game home stand starting Aug. 24 against Northern Arizona at 1 p.m. MT. All UNM home games will be played at the UNM Soccer Complex.

NAU starts it season as well on Friday as it takes on Arizona State in Flagstaff, Ariz. The Lumberjacks will then travel to Albuquerque to take on the Lobos. New Mexico battled NAU in Flagstaff last season to a 1-0 win.


"We actually like starting on the road. It gives a chance to be just together as a group for a couple of day and focus on the task at hand. Denver is very good. They have experience and they have some good players. They will be a challenge but I think we are up to the task. The moral of the group is phenomenal right now."

"We like going on the road that has never been an issue for me. What's going to be difficult is Denver is a really good team. We are really looking forward to having an opponent under our belt. We know that Friday is not our season we know that it's not a sprint it's a marathon. Our focus is to get to the best level possible before we get to conference."


Denver University will provide live video starting at 3:30 p.m. MT. CLICK HERE FOR LIVE VIDEO

All Lobo Home games will be broadcast live through All-Access at www.golobos.com


The Lobos have seen the Pioneers before and have a 2-1 series advantage but haven't played since 1999. Both wins have been in Albuquerque by scores of 2-0 in 1993 and 4-1 in 1999. The Lobos lone trip to Denver resulted in a 2-1 loss.


New Mexico head women's soccer coach Kit Vela will start her eighth year as the Lobos skipper. Vela's record at UNM is 48-63-20 and has included three straight eight-win seasons. In her eight years Vela is 2-3-2 in season openers. 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.


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.


Senior Hannah Hand will be back and is rapidly moving up the UNM all-time assist for a career. Since coming on in 2005 Hand has 10 assists with a team leading seven last season. Hand is 13 behind all-time leader Laurie Hegedorn. Hand could be a major weapon for the Lobo offense this season.


New Mexico played two exhibition matches this past weekend at the UNM Soccer Complex. On Friday Aug. 15, the Lobos squared off against each other in the Inaugural Cherry-Silver exhibition match. Kate Wyrick scored the matches lone goal off a Zaneta Wyne pass to lead the Silver over the Cherry team.

On Saturday, Aug. 16, New Mexico Highlands came to town. Alexis Ball and Jennifer Williams each had a goal to secure the 2-0 victory before the rain and lightning stopped play. Krista Peterson and Ball picked up an assist.


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 0.97 mark since 2004. She is also ranked third all-time at UNM in shutouts with 13 and fifth all-time in saves with 121. Her seven shutouts last season was good for fourth best in a single season and her eight wins ranks her fifth.


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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