Although considered the offseason, UNM women’s soccer has enjoyed a busy spring period.
The Lobos finished the 2016 fall season with a record of 9-7-3 (5-5-1 MW), and missed out on the Mountain West conference tournament. They finished eighth in the conference standings, two points behind Boise State.
The Lobos closed out the season on a positive note with a dramatic win over San Diego State University.
The Lobos also received academic recognition for the fall season. Of the 60 UNM All-Academic Mountain West honorees, 16 were from the women’s soccer program.
In order to be eligible for the award, an athlete must have maintained a GPA of 3.0 or better and be a starter or heavy contributor to the team. Last year, Lobo women’s soccer set a program record with 18 honorees.
The Lobos have since lost seven seniors — Annie Wheeler, Olivia Ferrier, Maddie Irwin, Brooke Webster, Ruth Bruciaga, Victoria Archuleta, and Katie Hinman — but have since recruited 13 new freshmen for next year, and six of the recruits are local.
The Lobos will have a young team next season, and the 2017 spring season will have allowed some of the younger players to gain experience and grow in confidence.
The Lobos have faced Northern Arizona, Embry Tech, and Texas Tech thus far, and will take on the University of Arizona and Pima Community College in the next week to close out the season. Both of those games will take place in Tucson, Arizona.
This spring, the Lobos have also honored former USA Women’s National Team goalkeeper Amy Griffin (née. Allman), who began the UNM women’s soccer program in 1993. She played college soccer for the University of Central Florida and was the NCAA Adidas Goalkeeper of the Year in 1987.
Griffin made 24 appearances for the national team, and was part of the squad that won the 1991 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The former UNM head coach was inducted into the “Lobo Lair” Hall of Fame on April 15, and there to speak at the event was two-time Olympic gold medalist and World Cup Champion Hope Solo. The 35-year-old has made 202 appearances for the U.S National Team, and currently plays in the National Women’s Soccer League for the Seattle Reign.
Solo was grateful for the opportunity to speak at UNM.
“Thank you UNM for recognizing Amy (as) the influencer and champion she is, and hosting this special event,” Solo said in a statement. “Sincere congrats to Heather Dyche, the women’s soccer staff and all the players who worked tirelessly for years to make this day happen.”
Griffin is currently the U.S Deaf Women’s National Team head coach as well as the associate head coach at the University of Washington in Seattle. She has also spread awareness regarding the issue of crumb rubber in artificial turf fields.
There is currently ongoing research into whether or not there is a correlation between crumb rubber and an increase in cancer risk among players — especially goalkeepers — who play on artificial turf.
Despite missing out on a shot at the Mountain West tournament last fall, the women’s soccer team accomplished many great things, and next year’s chances are looking bright.
Matthieu Cartron is a sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers women’s soccer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @cartron_matt.