Women's Soccer: Lobos Look To Win MWC Title Tomorrow
Provo, Utah - The UNM women’s soccer team is heading into a situation that has only occurred once before in the 10-year history of the program. Saturday at noon, the Lobos will be playing in the title game of the Mountain West Conference women’s soccer championship against No. 1 seed and three-time defending champion BYU, a team they played three weeks earlier in regular season conference play and lost to by a close 3-2 margin. The Cougars defeated No. 4 seed San Diego State yesterday evening, 9-2, which advanced them into the championship game.
LOOKING BACK AT THE TITLE RUN
The third-seeded Lobos faced No. 6 seed Air Force in the quarterfinal round of the MWC Championship, Wednesday, Nov. 6 at South Field on the campus of BYU. UNM’s persistence offensively, in the form of several dangerous scoring opportunities in only the first few minutes of play, proved to be what the Lobos needed to wear down the Falcon defense. In the 18th minute, junior forward Marte Dolva connected on a LeAnne Hendren cross for the only goal of the game and the eventual game-winner.
On Thursday, an excited New Mexico squad, playing in the MWC semi-final game for the first time in the players’ careers, was faced with the daunting task of playing MWC second-place finishers, Utah. The Lobos had played Utah to a 0-0 tie on Oct. 20 and were ready for another try at the Utes.
UNM came away with its first semifinal win since 1995 and the best win ever over Utah in the post-season. The Lobos played hard at every position and came up with key plays all over the field to generate offense and remain on the attack for the entire game. The frustrated Utes were unable to break through a rock-solid UNM defense or get a shot past stalwart keeper, Kristen Winters. In the 70th minute, Marte Dolva took advantage of a Utah defensive breakdown and chipped Ute keeper Courtney Hills-McBeth for her second game-winning goal in as many games.
LOBO SEASON NOTABLES
• UNM’s 12 wins this season are the second-highest total in school history. The 1997 Lobos are the program’s all-time winningest squad, posting a 15-5 record. The ‘97 team was knocked out of the first round of the WAC tournament with a 2-0 loss to host San Jose State.
• Sophomore goalkeeper Kristen Winters’ 10 shutouts are the most in a single season by a UNM keeper. The team’s 10 shutouts is tied for the most in school history with the 1997 squad.
• The Lobos will play their 21st game of the season on Sat., Nov. 8, which is the most matches played in school history.
• UNM is a program-best 4-0 in neutral site games this season.
• UNM has shut out its last three opponents and has allowed just one goal in the last five games.
LOBOS IN THE POST-SEASON
• UNM will make its first appearance in the MWC Championship game when it faces BYU on Saturday. The Lobos have made just one conference championship appearance in nine previous years, falling to host San Diego State 2-1 in the 1995 Western Athletic Conference championship game.
• UNM had won just one post-season game in nine years, a 3-1 victory over BYU in the 1995 WAC tournament, prior to this year’s MWC title run. The Lobos were 1-6 all-time including 0-3 in all three MWC tournament appearances before posting back-to-back wins in Provo this week.
NEW MEXICO-BYU SERIES NOTES
• UNM is 2-6-1 all-time vs. BYU, including 1-3 vs. the Cougars in Provo, Utah. The Lobos’ 1-0 victory at BYU last year was the first for a MWC team since the conference was founded in 1999.
• UNM lost a tight 3-2 game at home against BYU on Oct. 17 earlier this season.
• The Lobos and Cougars have met once before in a conference tournament game with UNM winning 3-1 in the first round of the 1995 WAC tournament in San Diego, Calif.
Head Coach Kit Vela:
“I think it goes without saying that we are excited about playing in the championship finals tomorrow. It’s anybody’s game and we have a great shot at winning,” said Vela.
Goalkeeper Kristen Winters:
“We’ve come a long way since the beginning of the season. We are playing well together as a team and I think we have a great shot against BYU tomorrow. Finally, we are getting the respect that we’ve been missing all year,” said Winters.
Check the GoLobos.com website for in-game updates beginning at noon for kick-off and continuing approximately every 15 minutes through the duration of the Mountain West Conference championship match. 1