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Lobos Open Conference Play at Home with Wyoming

by Frank Mercogliano

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — And now the real fun begins.

After going 5-2-0 in the non-conference portion of the schedule with a Pac-12 win to highlight that part, UNM will begin defense of its 202 Mountain West title with a big split weekend, starting Friday night was a home match against 4-3-1 Wyoming at 7:30 pm at the UNM Soccer Complex.  The Lobos will then head on the road to take on Colorado State in Ft. Collins on Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Rams are 1-2-2 and host San Diego State on Friday night.

The Lobos enter conference play as perhaps the hottest team in the Mountain West, having won four consecutive matches.  The Lobos have scored 13 goals over those four matches, and included in that streak is a win over Washington of the Pac-12, Grand Canyon which was in the top-50 and Northern Arizona, predicted to finish first in the Big Sky.  The Lobos have been led by Jadyn Edwards, who has five goals and three assists, and Zaria Katesigwa, who has five goals and one assist.

UNM entered the season having lost a pair of nine-goal scorers in Gwen Maly and Alesia Garcia, and head coach Heather Dyche feels both players have stepped up their games to meet the challenge.  “Jadyn I think has stepped up to another level or a different gear,” she said, adding “She has a swagger to her, even in training.  She’s taken a lot of the weight on her shoulders.”

“Earlier in the year we were kind of wondering where are we going to score goals, and Jadyn has said I’ll score them,”

As for the freshman Katesigwa, well, to Dyche, she’s not acting like a freshman.  “Her training habits for a freshman are some of the best I’ve ever seen,” said Dyche.  “She takes things seriously, she does things at full speed, she communicates well, she cuts video and comes in and watches it.”

“As a coach, that’s really exciting because I think Zaria’s potential is untapped right now.”

For UNM, the squad went 9-1-0 in the Mountain West last year, including sweeps of both programs.  For UNM to get out to a good start in a Mountain West that is back to its regular configuration of 12 teams and no divisions, the Lobos will need to get three points whenever possible.  However, a split weekend is tough, but at least UNM does get one at home.  In talking about the weekend, Dyche noted that it’s never easy.
“What makes it difficult is it’s Wyoming and Colorado State, which are two places that aren’t easy to get to.  Thankfully, Wyoming is here which is good for us.”

“Two very good teams, both have new head coaches which is exciting for our conference because sometimes things get predictable. You sort of know how certain coaches coach and how they play, and so this has challenged us as a staff to how these teams are playing.  Teams have this honeymoon period with new coaches where there is this incredible energy and I think you will see that,” said Dyche.



“Earlier in the year we were kind of wondering where are we going to score goals, and Jadyn has said I’ll score them,”