Courtesy of NMSU
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico State women’s soccer team will kick of the regular season with a matchup versus Eastern Washington on Sunday beginning at 1 p.m. at the NM State Soccer Athletic Complex.
This will be the seventh year of competition for an Aggie team that had its inaugural season in 2009, and the second season under head coach Freddy Delgado. It will be the first-ever meeting between the Aggies and the Eagles.
Delgado and his squad will try to improve on a 2014 campaign that saw the team go 5-17 overall and 3-7 in Western Athletic Conference play. NM State finished in a tie for fifth place in the WAC en route to earning its third bid into the WAC Tournament where they proceeded to upset fourth-ranked Bakersfield before losing to eventual WAC champion Seattle U.
The young Aggies head into 2015 without their top two all-time leading scorers in Jennae Cambra and Layla Todd, both of whom graduated in May. NM State will carry 17 freshmen and a total of 21 underclassmen on its 27-player roster while only two seniors, Mikaela Haley and Cindy Buraczyk, will grace the roster sheet.
Aside from Haley and Buraczyk, the Aggies will depend heavily on sophomore Holly Abdelkader and juniors Stephanie Petre and Gabby Campbell. All three finished the 2014 season with six points, only trailing Cambra, Todd and former Aggie Katie Smith. Abdelkader was honored on the Preseason All-WAC list.
Delgado has emphasized recruiting locally and to that point 11 of the 17 freshmen hail from the state of New Mexico. In all, 17 is also the number of players on the Aggie roster that come from the Land of Enchantment.
Eastern Washington, members of the Big Sky Conference, comes to Las Cruces from Cheney, Wash. The Eagles finished the 2014 season with an 8-9 overall record and in sixth place in the Big Sky with a 5-5 conference record. Eastern Washington, which won the Big Sky championship in 2004, is one of three Big Sky teams NM State will play this year.
Like the Aggies, the Eagles will carry a young squad in 2015 with 24 of 31 players on the roster being underclassmen, including 13 freshmen. Their top two returners are sophomores Chloe Williams and Savannah Hoekstra, each of whom finished with six goals and four assists last season. Also like Delgado at NM State, Eastern Washington head coach Chad Bodnar is entering his second season at the helm of the program.
Sunday’s match will have live stats available for fans that can’t make it out to the field. Fans can head to www.NMStateSports.com and click on the ‘live stats’ link on the women’s soccer schedule page for free access to shot-by-shot statistics. Up to the minute in-game updates will also be available on Twitter at @NMStateAggies.