New Mexico Makes Way For MWC Women's Soccer Championship
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  10/31/2005
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Oct. 31, 2005

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The University of New Mexico women's soccer team begins postseason play this week as the fifth seed in the 2005 Mountain West Conference Championship held in Las Vegas, Nev. New Mexico (6-6-4, 3-3-1 MWC) will face No. 4 seed Wyoming (9-6-3, 4-3 MWC), at 12:30 p.m. (MST) on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at Peter Johann Memorial Field on the campus of UNLV. Earlier in the season, the Lobos fell 1-0 in double overtime to the Cowgirls in Wyoming. The winner of the New Mexico-Wyoming game will play the winner of the game between first seed Utah and eighth seed Air Force on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 5:30 p.m. (MST). The championship match is slated for 1 p.m. (MST) on Saturday, Nov. 5, with the winner receiving an automatic bid into the 2005 NCAA Women's College Cup.

Fans can follow the tournament online at www.TheMWC.com. The women's soccer page will feature live stats, box scores and recaps of each match.

Utah claimed its second outright regular-season MWC title with a 1-0 win over UNLV on Oct. 22. The victory over the Rebels earned the Utes (13-5-1, 6-0-1) the No. 1 seed in this week's tournament. Utah closed out the season tying BYU 1-1 in double overtime last Saturday.

UNLV and BYU tied for second-place in the conference with 5-2-0 and 4-1-2 records. The Rebels (10-6-3 overall) will get the second seed after earning the tie break advantage by garnering the most points in conference play (3 points for a win, 1 point for a tie, 0 points for a loss). BYU (15-1-3 overall) claimed the third seed, while Wyoming (9-6-3, 4-3) earned the fourth seed. New Mexico (6-6-4, 3-3-1) takes the fifth seed, San Diego State (10-8-2, 2-3-2) will get the sixth seed, TCU (6-10-0, 1-6) takes the seventh seed, and the eighth seed will go to Air Force (4-15-1, 0-7).

Catch the MWC Championship game live for FREE through the conference web site (www.themwc.com). Saturday's championship game will be streamed live starting at noon (MST), and will be replayed via tape delay nationally on CSTV Sunday, Nov. 6 at 8 p.m. (MST).

New Mexico's fifth place finish in the conference was two places better than the seventh place finish the 2005 MWC Preseason Coaches Poll projected in early August. The poll had UNM coming in seventh behind No. 6 Wyoming, No. 5 TCU and No. 4 UNLV. BYU and San Diego State were predicted to tie for second place while Utah was voted to get the top finish.

For the first time in UNM history, the Lobos are the fifth seed in this season's tournament. Every year, with the exceptions of 2001 and 2002, New Mexico has been the sixth seed in the WAC and MWC tournaments. The last best seeding for UNM came in 2002 with a No. 3 seed. In 2001, head coach Kit Vela's first year, New Mexico saw its best seeding ever at No. 2.

Since starting play in the Western Athletic Conference in 1995, UNM is a combined 4-9 in conference postseason play, including a 3-6 mark in six MWC Tournament appearances.

This year's MWC tournament will be the fifth time UNM has headed into the championships under the guidance of New Mexico head coach Kit Vela and assistant coach Jorge Vela.

The Lobos' best postseason performance under the Velas' came in 2002 when they made it to the championship round after defeating Air Force 1-0 in the quarterfinals and Utah 1-0 in the semifinals. UNM fell to BYU 5-1 in the final conference round.

Last year, sixth-seeded New Mexico fell to No. 3 San Diego State 2-0 in the first round of the tournament in Provo, Utah.

In New Mexico's 1-0 double overtime loss to Wyoming earlier this season, the Lobos outshot the Cowgirls 18 to 12 and forced Wyoming's keeper Ashley Sheppard to make seven saves. Lobo keeper Kristen Winters only faced three saves in the game.

The golden goal came at 105:07 from forward Tamika Wilson, assisted by fellow forward Mercy Adetoye.

UNM's defense did a good job of shutting down Adetoye who is Wyoming's leading scorer with 10 goals and 26 shots on goal. Wilson follows with five goals and leads the team with three game-winning goals.

The Cowgirls enter the tournament with a four game winning streak that started with the victory over New Mexico on Oct. 21. Other conference competitors Wyoming has defeated are San Diego State, TCU and Air Force.

Overall this season, Wyoming outshot its opponents 262 to 200 and scored 26 goals compared to its opponents' 19.

The Lobos bring to the field a solid starting lineup of three seniors, six juniors and two sophomores. Here is a look at New Mexico's starting 11.

#13 Kristine Sweat • Forward • 5-8 • Concord, Calif.
New Mexico's leading scorer with six goals...has three game-winning goals, including the one in the Lobos' huge upset over No. 6 BYU on Oct. 6...was named MWC Offensive Player of the Week (Oct. 10)...has started in all 16 games played this season...leads team with 44 shots, 18 on goal...fifth all-time with 103 career shots at UNM...has one assist...with six goals, has surpassed the total number of goals she scored in the last two years combined (4)...smart player with great control.

#4 Bridgette Sanchez • Forward • 5-3 • Albuquerque, N.M.
Ended the regular season with two goals and two assists for six points...has started in all 16 games...has taken 28 shots with 12 on goal, improving on the 16 shots taken in 2004...a fearless player and a scoring threat.

#17 Kaela Kelly • Midfielder • 5-2 • Hesperia, Calif.
Led the Lobos to a victory for the last game of the season with the game-winning goal in the second half against TCU on Oct. 29...one of three Lobos to carry two goals on the season and is tied for the most assists with three...second on the team with 15 shots on goal...has started in every game this year in the midfield...game-winning goal against TCU contributes to New Mexico's seven shutouts on the season, the most ever since 2002 (10)...aggressive offensively and defensively...a great go-to player for New Mexico.

#15 Eryn Paetz • Midfielder • 5-5 • San Pedro, Calif.
A co-captain with the three seniors on the team...has started in every game this season...has one assist and is tied with Kaela Kelly for the most shots taken by a midfielder with 29...has nine shots on goal...a solid leader for the midfielders.

#21 Terryn Granados • Midfielder • 5-5 • Albuquerque, N.M.
The one underclassmen with a goal this season...one of two underclassmen (sophomore) that has started in every game this year...scored the very first goal of the season in New Mexico's first win of the year against Eastern Washington on Sept. 4...has eight shots with four on goal...very dedicated and one of the hardest working.

#14 Katelyn Ley • Midfielder • 5-6 • Marine, Minn.
The second underclassmen (sophomore) to start in every game this year...tied with Kaela Kelly for most assists on the team with three...has taken 11 shots with six on goal...a speedy threat with great passing skills.

#16 Nicole McCarty • Defender • 5-4 • Mission Viejo, Calif.
One of the three senior team captains...has started in every game this season, contributing to New Mexico's seven shutouts, the most ever since 2002 (10)...has started in 62 games in her career...was part of the New Mexico defense that held then ranked No. 6 BYU to a season low nine shots in the Lobos' 1-0 upset over the Cougars...an excellent team leader and a strong, skillful defender.

#2 Nicole Pitcock • Defender • 5-3 • Tracy, Calif.
One of three senior captains...has played in every game this year as a wing defender...missed one start in the beginning of the season due to a minor ankle injury...small, speedy player with great ability in the air...a tremendous help to New Mexico's backline with her quickness and experience.

#5 Ashley Lowery • Defender • 5-10 • Santa Rosa, Calif.
New Mexico's tallest starter at 5-10...has been the Lobos' main force at the central defender position...was part of the New Mexico defense that held then ranked No. 6 BYU to a season low nine shots in the Lobos' 1-0 upset over the Cougars...a three-year starter in the Lobo backfield who brings strength, speed and experience to New Mexico's defense.

#11 Alanna Abeyta • Defender • 5-7 • Albuquerque, N.M.
Has played every minute of every single game this season at the central defender position...the one defender that has scored a goal this year (vs. Air Force, Oct. 23)...has taken six shots with three on goal...brings great ability in the air to the Lobos' defense...a strong player with a "never quit" attitude.

#0 Kristen Winters • Goalkeeper • 5-8 • Lakewood, Colo.
One of the three senior team captains...has worked as New Mexico's starting goalkeeper for the past four years...has six shutouts this season, 41 saves and has allowed 12 goals for a 0.77 GAA...holds UNM records in all-time shutouts (23) and wins (26)...is third on the all-time saves list with 318...has played in 1,398 minutes this season...a dedicated leader who brings plenty experience to the keeper position.

Generally expect to see these players making appearances off the bench: junior midfielder Kellee Hafner (2 goals in 10 appearances), sophomore midfielder Anna Neu (1 assist and 15 shots in 14 appearances), freshman forward Asha Richardson (1 assist and 8 shots in 16 appearances), freshman forward Hannah Hand (7 shots, 7 on goal in 14 appearances), freshman defender Krista Peterson (11 appearances), freshman midfielder Kaci Paetz (10 appearances) and sophomore defender Amber Wetsch (9 appearances).

• With the win over TCU, UNM ended the season with an even record of 6-6-4, 3-3-1 in the Mountain West Conference, making it the best record since 2002 when the Lobos went 12-8-1, 3-2-1 in the MWC (head coach Kit Vela's second season).

• The Lobos ended the season with a 4-2-3 (.611) home record, making it the best winning percentage at home since 1997 when New Mexico went 6-3 (.677).

• New Mexico has seven shutouts at the end of the season, making it the most shutouts since 2002 when the Lobos notched 10.

• New Mexico's senior goalkeeper Kristen Winters has six shutouts to her name this season, boosting her all-time career shutout count to 23. She ends the regular season No. 1 on the all-time career shutout list at UNM.

• The Lobos head into the conference championship with a two game winning streak. The last time New Mexico entered the conference tournament with a two or more win streak was in 1997 when the Lobos headed into the WAC Championships with four straight victories.

• This season, New Mexico's regular season conference wins have come against No. 6 BYU (1-0 at Provo, Utah), Air Force (2-1 at Colorado Springs, Colo.), and TCU (1-0 at Albuquerque, N.M.). The one tie came against San Diego State (1-1 at Albuquerque, N.M.) and the three losses were to Utah (3-2 at Salt Lake City, Utah), UNLV (2-0 at Albuquerque, N.M.) and Wyoming (1-0, 2OT at Laramie, Wyo.).

• The Lobos made the transition from the Western Athletic Conference to the Mountain West Conference in 1999.

• New Mexico's best MWC record came in head coach Kit Vela's first two years with the Lobos. In 2001 and 2002, New Mexico finished conference play with a 3-2-1 record.

• In 2002, New Mexico had its best showing at the conference tournament, advancing all the way to the championship game. The Lobos lost to BYU in the final game, 5-1.

• After six years in the MWC, New Mexico is 28-37-5. Vela holds an 8-9-3 MWC record in her four years with New Mexico.

The following is a look at where the Lobos rank in the Mountain West Conference statistics for the 2005 season.

Monday, August 17
7:00 PM - 
Women's Soccer
vs. Fort Lewis (exhibition)
Friday, August 21
5:00 PM - 
Women's Soccer
at USC vs. Texas Tech
7:30 PM - 
Women's Soccer
vs. Florida State
Sunday, August 23
10:30 AM - 
Women's Soccer
at USC vs. Florida State
1:00 PM - 
Women's Soccer
vs. Texas Tech
Wednesday, August 26
6:00 PM - 
Women's Soccer
at New Mexico State
Sunday, August 30
1:00 PM - 
Women's Soccer
at Colorado