Fall sports are right around the corner at the University of New Mexico and there is a lot to be excited about. This year’s women’s fall sports feature dominant and competitive teams that deserve attention and are looking to build on previous successes and continue to be a force in the Mountain West.
The women’s cross country team finished third at the NCAA finals last season and will continue to dominate the Mountain West with their 14-year winning streak in the conference.
Last season, Lobo athletes swept all seven All-Mountain West first-team spots, with only two of them being seniors; one Lobo athlete also made second-team. Amelia Mazz-Downie was also awarded with the conference’s cross country Women’s Athlete of the Year award last season. Last year’s team also had three All-American athletes — Emma Heckel, Gracelyn Larkin and Stephanie Parsons — who had times of 19:45, 19:47 and 19:58 and finished 18th, 21st and 36th, respectively.
Head coach Joe Franklin won the conference’s Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year award last season and will continue to lead the team in the upcoming season.
The team will have a lot to look forward to this season, as they will be competing for the NCAA title once again. You can catch the cross country team at the Lobo Invitational, an all-day event starting at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10. The event features both collegiate and high school teams.
The UNM volleyball team had an impressive turnaround season last year, finishing 20-10 and going to the quarterfinals in the Mountain West tournament. They look to continue their success with the addition of UNM volleyball alumnus Carly Beddingfield as the new director of volleyball operations. The team also added Dan Corotan, who will act as the team’s offensive coordinator and assistant coach.
For the roster, the Lobos acquired setter Anilee Sher from Rider University via transfer as well as seven incoming freshmen. The team has maintained last year’s successful core of top scorers: Kaitlynn Biassou, Uxue Guereca and Kali Wolf.
The team will need to improve on defense after being first in the conference in opponent hitting percentage and opponent service aces. An improved defense, combined with their high scoring offense, should be enough to push them over the edge to earn some more conference wins after already having a good 2021 season, being 11-7 in conference play.
The team will look to repeat last season’s success and contend in the Mountain West. They start their season in an exhibition game against New Mexico Highlands University at The Pit on Aug. 20 at 1:00 p.m.
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UNM’s women’s soccer team won the Mountain West last season with a 14-5-2 record, the first time they won the conference since 2011. They also had an impressive 6-1 home record. The team led the conference in scoring average with 1.905 goals per game and held their opponents to just 1.29 goals per game, the largest margin in the conference.
On the roster they have Jaydn Edwards, who led the conference in scoring with 11 goals and was second in assists with nine. Zaria Katesigwa was second in the conference in scoring, earning 10 goals on the season. Goalie Emily Johnson graduated though, so the team will look to freshmen Callie Droitsch and Alli Davis to fill in that spot on the roster.
Head coach Heather Dyche will lead her eighth season as head coach and will now be joined by volunteer assistant coach Beth Lebel, who has previous head-coaching experience at Colby College in Maine.
The Lobos will host this year’s Mountain West tournament, which will take place over Nov. 1-5. The team will start play versus Rutgers at the Lobo Invitational on Aug. 18 at 7:30 p.m.
The women’s golf team finished second last season at the Mountain West Championship and participated at the NCAA Albuquerque Regional. The team consistently finished in the top half of teams at courses and will try to build off that success as they head into the 2022-23 season after winning the conference in the 2021 season.
The team is led by seniors Lauren Lehigh and Jenny Lertsadwattana. Lehigh led the team in average with 74.03 and tied for third in the conference championship, being even with par. Lertsadwattana had her best game last season at the Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational in Albuquerque where she finished an impressive seven under par, securing third place.
The team has been consistently honored with the All-Scholar team GPA award, having earned it four years in a row. The roster had an impressive combined GPA of 3.961. They are led by head coach Jill Trujillo, who won the conference Coach of the Year award in 2021. She has been the head coach since 2007.
The women’s golf team will play at the Dick Mcguire Invitational in Albuquerque over Sept. 12-13.
UNM will be well represented this season throughout these different sports in the Mountain West. Both the teams and fans have a lot to look forward to with this upcoming season.
Thomas Bulger is the Sport Editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @thomasbulger10