Stevens: Vela's Lobos Grab Back-To-Back Mountain West Crowns
New Mexico clinches MW title with a 7-1 crunching of TCU Horned Frogs
Oct. 28, 2011
New Mexico Lobos Women's Soccer - At the Lobo Soccer Complex
Friday: New Mexico Lobos 7, TCU 1
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. "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.
"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."
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 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.
"The girls are so excited to be here this coming week for the tournament. It's pretty motivating. I don't think it matters who we play because the girls are so fired up."