Nov. 2, 2011
New Mexico Lobo Women's Soccer -- At the Mountain West Tournament
When/Where: Wednesday-Friday-Sunday -- Lobo Soccer Complex
Wednesday: Wyoming 2, TCU 1 (2OT); UNLV 2, Boise State 0
Friday semifinals: Noon, No. 3 Wyoming vs. No. 2 San Diego State. 3 p.m., UNLV vs.. No. 1 New Mexico..
Sunday Championship: Noon, semifinal winners..
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
In padding the Lobos' recent resume of gigantic success and strides on the soccer field, something is missing.
The Lobos have Mountain West regular-season titles -- two in fact, as New Mexico clinched the 2011 crown Friday night in a 7-1 cakewalk over TCU. The Lobos got their first-ever NCAA bid in 2010.
Now, the surging Lobos are eyeing a Mountain West Tournament crown and the stars and the bracket are pretty much aligned in helping the Lobos grab that first.
Their 2011 title earned them a bye to Friday's semifinals where the Lobos will meet UNLV. The No. 4 seed Rebs, who got off only three shots vs. UNM in their 1-0 regular-season loss, advanced to the semis Wednesday with a 2-0 shutout of Boise State. The Lobos match with UNLV can be seen live on The Mtn-TV.
The Lobos 3 p.m. semifinal battle with UNLV will be televised live on The Mtn-TV
UNLV forward/midfielder Katherine Orellana, a First Team All-MW selection, scored her seventh goal of the season to produce the UNLV game-winner at the 18:37 mark of the first half.
UNLV midfielder Macy Jo Harrison, who was a Second Team All-MW pick, iced the game for UNLV with 8:48 left to play in the first 45 minutes. Boise State, who had trouble generating offense most of the season, had only one shot on goal.
UNM got its game-winner against UNLV from senior Jennifer Williams, the 2010 and 2011 Mountain West Offensive Player of The Year.
The Lobos will enjoy the home pitch and the rowdy home crowd that comes with the Lobo Soccer Complex.
"The girls are so excited to be here this coming week for the tournament. It's pretty motivating," said Vela. "I don't think it matters who we play because the girls are so fired up."
The Lobos definitely looked fired up in their title clincher vs. TCU last Friday at the Lobo Soccer complex. The Lobos shrugged off a game TCU team by turning a tight contest into a six-goal romp. That game not only handed the Lobos back-to-back MWC titles, but it gives them a lot of momentum for a charge in this week's tourney.
"We have a lot of confidence going into the conference (tournament)," said Jennifer Williams, who scored twice in the romp over TCU and probably is heading toward back-to-back Offensive Player of The Year honors.
"We won't take any team lightly. We know teams will be coming at us so we have to be focused."
On paper, the Lobos' top challenge has to be the No. 2 seed San Diego State Aztecs. The Aztecs finished 4-1-1 in league play and 10-6-3 overall. Wyoming might be the unofficial dark horse with the No. 3 seed and an 12-5-4 overall mark. Wyoming advanced to play SDSU after the Cowgirls 2-1 double-overtime win over TCU on Wednesday.
The Lobos won't have to look at San Diego State or Wyoming until the championship match, but first UNM has to take care of business in the semifinal with UNLV. The Rebs have only one path to postseason play and that's by claiming the MW title and the NCAA automatic bid that goes with it.
MountainWest Sports Network will broadcast Friday's semifinals live at noon and 3 p.m. (MT). The championship match will air live on The Mtn. at noon (MT) on Sunday, Nov. 6. The tandem of Jim Watson and Mark Rogondino will call the matches on Nov. 4 and 6.
Lobos Clinch Back-To-Back MWC Titles with 7-1 Romp Over TCU (Box Score)
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
Somebody made a mistake on the order form. The University of New Mexico's women's soccer team handed out Mountain West Championship rings Friday night, but the Lobos were a season short.
The rings were only for the 2010 season and title. What about the 2011 Mountain West champions that pounded their way to the league crown Friday night at the Lobo Soccer Complex with a 7-1 walk over TCU?
Oh, they'll get those rings next year.
"It's ours. All by ourselves," said Lobo Coach Kit Vela of the 2011 title. "It's awesome. This team has heart and soul and a lot of character."
They also have more rings to order and the No. 1 seed in the MWC Tournament which begins Wednesday at the Lobo Soccer Complex. The MWC champs - Lobos! - get a bye to Friday night's semifinals.
The TCU Horned Frogs came at UNM hard Friday night and didn't roll over after Zaneta Wyne put UNM up 1-0 at the 3:37 mark in the first half. TCU scored a minute and nine seconds later when an unmarked Tori Hale passed the ball in front of the net to Jordan Calhoun, who wasn't really marked either. UNM keeper Kelli Cornell had no chance on the rocket shot in front of the Lobo net.
Williams put the Lobos up 2-1 at the 34:35 mark and UNM carried that lead into halftime. "Our team seems to need a little kick in the butt to get us going," said Lobo senior Jennifer Williams. "We came out in the second half with as much heart and desire as possible. We put away our chances and we weren't stopping."
The second half got ugly - for TCU. The Horned Frogs could have earned a spot in the MWC tourney with a win over the Lobos. They ferociously attacked the UNM net in the second half and that created a lot of open space for UNM on the Lobos' attack side of the field.
They took advantage of it.
"We kept fighting in the back (on defense) and knocking the ball forward and that's how we scored a lot of goals," said Vela. "The flood gates opened and it was fun to watch."
Natalie Jenks handed UNM that all-important two-goal cushion by getting around a defender on the right side of the UNM attack and blasting a shot past TCU keeper Alicen Wright. Jael Fanning made it 4-1 with a heads-up header at the 68:39 mark.
TCU pressed even harder and UNM got easy goals from Williams, Stephanie Rowe and Brianna Webster. All three goals were unassisted as UNM's forwards received the ball in open space and charged down on the TCU net.
The Lobos, who were 3-3-2 at one point this season, finished 10-4-4 overall and won the MWC title with their 4-0-2 mark.
"This senior class deserves it (MWC title) like no other," said Vela. "They have been everything to this program for the past four years. Kudos to them."