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Photo by R.Stevens
Photo by R.Stevens
Stevens: This Lobo Trio is More Than Defenders
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  10/09/2013

By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

They have been attached for so long by emotions, rooms, smiles, tears, accomplishments and soccer fields that they ought to have a nickname like “The Three Amigas,” or maybe “The So Cal Trio.” They go together like A-B-C or 1-2-3.

Of course, Brianna Webster, Liz Nare and Brooke Ellison have a better label: Friends.

“We’re best friends, but we are closer than friends,” said Nare. “If we bicker, we get over it so fast. It’s never personal. We’re like family.”

Said Webster: “We have a relationship where we can bicker at each other and love each other at the same time.”

If you have a history with this trio that dates back prior to them becoming New Mexico Lobos in 2010, you might be experiencing a feeling of déjà vu watching them set up for Kit Vela’s Lobos in 2013.

They are playing exactly the same positions they played as teammates on Laguna Hills (Calif.) Eclipse, a club team that won the California state title, the Region IV title and the national championship.

They are a strong core of the Lobo defense: Brooke at outside back and Liz and Bri as center backs.

“It certainly doesn’t hurt that that they played club together because they played for a coach who does a great job with his players technically, tactically and mentally,” said Vela.

 “They are best friends. They live together. They have lived together all four years. They respect and believe in each other and they all want the same thing on the field.  They are good players and good kids from good families with a good work ethic.”

Sounds good.

The only thing that doesn’t sound real good to this trio is what happens post-UNM and maybe post-soccer?

 “We try not to think about it,” said Nare of the trio of seniors’ upcoming graduation from UNM.  “I think I’ll keep them.”

Said Webster through a grin: “We plan on growing old together.”

In a college way and in a soccer way, the trio has grown old together. They all played on the same club team in California, but Nare and Ellison also played at El Toro High in Lake Forest.  They came together on their official visit to UNM as high school players.

 “I didn’t realize how much I appreciated having them until I got here as a freshman and had two teammates I already was comfortable with,” said Ellison.  “Now, it’s our senior year and we don’t want it to end.  I can’t imagine not being around them.

“We all have strong personalities, but we are so used to each other’s quirks. When you are that close to somebody you just accept things about them.  I’m not saying we don’t argue. We do. But we have a special bond and we get over it.

“It will be weird without them, but we are all from the same area in California, so I’m not too worried about it.  I know we’ll be friends for life.”

The contributions from this trio on the soccer field and to the UNM program have been tremendous.  The trio has started all 13 games for the 5-7-1 Lobos.  Webster has played 1,204 minutes, Nare 1202 and Ellison 1,208. They have won Mountain West titles and helped push Lobo soccer to another level.

Nare is the Iron Woman of this group.  She has started every game for Vela’s Lobos since she stepped on the grass as a freshman. That’s 74 straight heading into UNM’s Friday game (3 p.m.) at Wyoming. She played more than 99 percent of the possible minutes during her sophomore and junior seasons.

Webster played center mid last season as a junior before coming back to join her “sisters” in the defensive backfield. So, this season is the first time as Lobos that they duplicated their positions from club ball.

“There is definitely chemistry between the three of us and it helps,” said Webster. “We understand each other.”

Said Ellison: “We are at the point where we don’t really have to communicate (talk). We can just give each other a look.”

Editor's Note: Richard Stevens is a former award-winning Sports Columnist and Associate Sports Editor at The Albuquerque Tribune. You can reach him at rstevens50@comcast.net.

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