The Daily Aggie :: 10/30/10

The Aggie soccer team closed out the 2010 season with a 2-0 loss to Louisiana Tech on Friday night. The Aggies were eliminated from tournament contention roughly 30 minutes prior to the start of their match with LA Tech as Fresno State and Boise State played to a 2-2 draw. The Aggies gave up a pair of goals in the first half, including one on a corner kick with about 90 seconds left in the half. To the Aggies' credit, they came out in the second half and played a lot more aggressively than they did in the first half and had three pretty good chances to score with chances from Nina Yanes (crossbar), Crystal Burns (just over the crossbar) and Yolanda McMillion (semi-breakaway) that didn't go for the Aggies.

They finish up their season at 7-8-3 and in two seasons have compiled a 15-16-4 record which by all accounts is very strong. Compare that to the soccer program a Missouri-Kansas City which is also in their second year of existence who will wrap up their season today. The Kangaroos finished their inaugural season with a 1-17-1 record. This season they are 1-14-1. In two seasons (pending today's result) they've won two games, lost 31 and tied twice (which for them has to feel like a win). Not that it matters much but UMKC's two ties are 1-1 (last season) and 0-0 (this season).

While Friday night's result was not the way the Aggies wanted to end the season, the future is very bright for the Aggie program and they are clearly headed in the right direction. The Aggies lose just three seniors, one starter from this year's club and the Aggies' core croup will be juniors and sophomores. We can't wait to see the product that Coach Needham and the Aggies put on the pitch next season.

The Aggie football team returns home to take on San Jose State for Homecoming. This is probably the Aggies' best chance at a victory the rest of the season. We fully expect this to be a grind-it-out low scoring game. Both offense have struggle (albeit against good defenses) and both defense have struggled (again against better offenses). However, there are three telling scores from the two teams' schedules that point to a low scoring affair. The Aggies' lone victory was a 16-14 victory over UNM, a team with a bad offense and bad defense. The Spartans have had two winnable games against FCS opponents. They won one of them 16-11 (Southern Utah) and lost the other 14-13 (UC-Davis).

The Aggies have a slight advantage over SJSU in that the Spartans, as we've pointed out all week long, have lost 15 players who were either starters or on the two-deep, to season-ending injuries.

While the Aggies have lost their share of players this season as well mostly along the offensive and defensive lines and lost one projected starting safety prior to the start of the season, it still pales in comparison to losing 15 players.

While Coach Walker has stated that most people will build this matchup as one between two programs desperate for a win, the truth is, these are two programs that are desperate for a win. Which team will be the lucky one to get that win will be determined today.

The game is scheduled for a 2:00 p.m. kickoff (hurray for early afternoon kickoffs!) The game can be seen on AggieVision with streaming video available via ESPN3.com and Aggie Access (subscription required).

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NM State vs. Louisiana Tech Match Photos

NM State vs. Louisiana Tech Match Photos

Aggie Soccer Falls 2-0 To Louisiana Tech In Season Finale

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

Cassandra BranchLAS CRUCES, N.M. - In the regular season finale, the New Mexico State soccer team fell to Louisiana Tech, 2-0, on senior night. Following the match the Aggies honored senior midfielders Baili Foutz and Nina Yanes, who played their final contest for the Crimson and White.

The Aggies concluded the 2010 season with a 7-8-3 overall record and 1-6-1 WAC record. The Lady Techsters moved to 15-5-0 and 5-3-0 in the conference, and they return to Ruston, La., to host the WAC Tournament next week.

“It was a tale of two halves,” head coach Michael Needham said. “I thought we came out a little flat, and we made two bad mistakes in the first half and they punished us for it.”

Louisiana Tech posted a 2-0 lead at halftime after goals in the 26th and 43rd minute. The Aggies recorded a 4-3 advantage in shots on goal but couldn’t capitalize.

“I thought we did a great job in the second half of putting them under a lot of pressure,” he said. “Sometimes the ball goes in the net and sometimes it doesn’t.”

The Aggies will have 26 players returning to the squad next season after a successful second year.

“This season was definitely a step forward,” Needham said. “It was very positive. I thought we improved on the attacking side of the ball. We also found places we need to get better.”  Continue Reading This Post >>

The Daily Aggie :: 10/29/10

The Aggie soccer team is in action for the final time at home this season as they host Louisiana Tech for Senior Night. The Aggies are still in the hunt for that sixth and final spot in the WAC Tournament which will be hosted by Louisiana Tech. The Aggies need a victory tonight and will also need some help today and Sunday. You can read the full scenario in Monday's edition of The Daily Aggie.

Find out what Coach Needham had to say about the final regular season game as well as his thoughts on his three seniors in this week's interview.

Today's game will be televised on AggieVision with streaming video also available via Aggie Access (subscription required). The game is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff.

We also spoke with Aggie volleyball coach Mike Jordan as his team heads to the islands where they'll battle with No. 5 Hawai'i on Sunday evening.

The Aggies have a chance, if they can win on Sunday, to share the regular season title. Check out this week's interview to find out what the Aggies will need to do on Sunday to make that a reality.

After a two week absence due to lack of participation, we're back with our Know The Foe feature. This week the San Jose Mercury News' Elliot Almond gives Aggie fans a look at the Spartan football team.

The Aggies and Spartans will do battle tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. MT at Aggie Memorial Stadium for Homecoming.

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bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Needham Interview :: 10/28/10

bleedCrimson.net: How has this week's practice gone after coming off the long trip to Hawai'i?
Michael Needham: It was good. We took an extra day's rest. We took Tuesday off, got back, had a good session yesterday and today was a pregame session, pretty light, tried to score some goals and get the kids excited and then be ready to go tomorrow night.

bc.net: What has the energy level been like this week from your kids knowing that you still have a shot at the making the tournament versus if you had come back not having a shot?
MN: I think the energy level is good. I think even if we were mathematically eliminated, we would still be playing for a lot so I don't think the emotion has changed that much in that I think we want to send our seniors off on the right note, we want to finish the year on a win and that's very important if the scenarios don't work out for us. I think winning is important to us. The other big note is that we're 7-7-3 and for us to continue making our progress and doing what we're doing, to win on Friday night and go to 8-7-3 and secure a winning record for 2010 is definitely something our kids find important so I think the energy level would have been good either way. But it's definitely better still having a chance. You win and then we come inside and start checking results. That'll be fun, hopefully it's fun, and then you go from there but really I think the big focus is beating LA Tech.  Continue Reading This Post >>

Know The Foe :: Spartan Q&A With The San Jose Mercury News' Elliot Almond

Know The Foe :: San Jose State
The San Jose State Spartans invade Las Cruces on Saturday for NM State's Homecoming. The Spartans are 1-6 on the season but have faced a murderer's row in five of their first seven games. We've enlisted the help of the San Jose Mercury News' Elliot Almond who covers the Spartans to give Aggie fans a look at the Spartans and what to expect on Saturday afternoon.

SJSU is off to a 1-6 start, much like the Aggies, though they have probably a much tougher schedule up front than the Aggies have. Those games have taken a huge toll on the Spartans' lineup losing 15 guys to season ending injuries.  Have there been any positives at all that the team has been able to take from the first seven games?
Surprisingly, San Jose State can point to a number of positives from a schedule that included five AP top 25 teams in the first seven games. Number one is financial stability. The first two games of the season, at Alabama and Wisconsin, are the proverbial “body bag” games in which the Spartans played for cash. The game at No. 13 Utah was the end of a home-and-home series so it wasn’t the big payday game some might think. As unsavory as it is, a school such as San Jose State needs the body bag games to remain solvent at the FBS (formerly Division I-A) level.
 
Some promising signs have surfaced with regards to building a football program too. Mainly 18 freshmen (including redshirts) have gained invaluable experience. Whether this translates to success down the road we’re not sure. But it is doubtful the young players will be frightened by anything else they see in their careers after what they already have faced. It bodes well for the future.  Continue Reading This Post >>

bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 10/27/10

bleedCrimson.net: Your thoughts on the two matches last week?
Mike Jordan: Yeah, Nevada and Utah State both have good teams. Nevada had been playing and they played good 'D'. We started slowly defensively. I think it was 7-2 and we hadn't dug a ball yet in the first set and then finally we got our act together and started playing hard defensively and when we do that we're pretty tough to beat. We've just got to find a way to do that more consistently and stop dropping sets because we're not playing both ends of the floor. I want them to be solid offensively but you've got to play 'D' too and hopefully we're learning that lesson.

Utah State does a lot of good things and they've got a solid team. They're struggling a little bit offensively at times. But to go on the road and get two wins, we're pretty happy with that.

bc.net: Those two wins were real big for your club having come off of the "hell week" playing three matches in four nights and to not give up the separation that you had earned from those three wins was really big.
MJ: Yeah. To get some separation between us and third pace is really good and to keep pace with Hawai'i and gives us a chance to go there and if we can pull off a small miracle and maybe get a share of the regular season title like we did in 2008.  Continue Reading This Post >>

A Great Fall For Joon Lee

Written By: Michelle McCollough

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The fall season has not been gloomy for New Mexico State's men's golf player Joon Lee. With one tournament win under his belt, Lee has proven that he can compete at the Division I level.

Lee first began his college golf career at Western New Mexico University, before transferring to NM State.

"I've always wanted to play Division I golf because that's where all the good players are," Lee said. He has known Lieberworth since he started out at Western NM. When Lee "decided to come and play at a Division I school," he knew exactly who to talk to. "That's how I ended up here," with a scholarship.

This season, Lee has participated in four tournaments, two of which he finished in the top five and has one victory so far this season.  Continue Reading This Post >>

The Daily Aggie :: 10/28/10

WAC Commissioner Karl Benson will be holding a press conference at 10:00 a.m. this morning. It is expected that there will be an announcement regarding the Fresno State/Nevada situation

**** UPDATE: The WAC has reached an agreement with Nevada and Fresno State with both teams staying in the WAC in all sports through the 2011-2012 season. Fresno State and Nevada will each pay $900,000 and it will be split into five equal payments of $180,000 with the first payment due on August 1, 2011 and the final payment due on August 1, 2015. The two schools will also forfeit any revenue that is due to them at the end of the 2011-2012 athletic season.

Commissioner Benson also stated in the conference all that there should be an announcement within the next 30 days regarding which teams will be invited for the 2012-2013 season. ****

Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News reports that the WAC's expansion timetable moved up dramatically after WAC coaches started encountering negative recruiting by teams in other conferences. Wilner stated in the report, "WAC commissioner Karl Benson originally targeted next spring as the window for inviting new members. But that plan changed after coaches encountered negative recruiting by teams in other conferences, which have told recruits that the WAC’s future is in jeopardy."

Wilner also stated in that same report that according to WAC officials plans are close to being finalized that would see Texas State and UT-San Antonio join the WAC in 2012 for football.

We'll have to wait and see what Commissioner Benson has to say in today's press conference regarding all of the above topics, though he'll likely not address the expansion topic with an specificity.

On a side note, Chris Murray of the Reno Gazette-Journal notes on his blog that the WAC is on the verge of putting three football teams in the Top 25, something that hasn't been done since 1997.

The Aggie cross country team heads to Moscow, Idaho this Saturday for the WAC Championship meet. Find out what cross country coach Paul Harkins had to say about the Aggies' chances and how they've been preparing to defend the women's title and win the men's title.

The Aggie women were picked to finish second despite being the defending champions and having returned all but two of their point scorers from last year's championship squad. The men were picked a surprising fifth by the coaches despite having improved in every championship meet since Coach Harkins, Gregory and Richburg took over the program. The Aggie men have noted their pre-championship ranking and are set to prove that they were slighted by the WAC coaches. One major item of note on the men's side, two-time All-WAC selection Ian Ruybalid will not be racing in the championship meet. Coach Harkins told us yesterday that Ian has been nursing an injury that kept him out of the Kachina Classic and has limited his effectiveness to about 50 percent.

The championships are on Saturday with the women's 5k meet will start at 11:00 a.m. MT while the men's meet will start at 11:45 a.m. MT.

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bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Harkins Interview :: 10/27/10 :: WAC Championship Preview

bleedCrimson.net: The pre-championship polls were released yesterday and your men's team was picked to finish fifth and your women's team was picked to finish second. Will that provide a little extra motivation for both of your squads on Saturday?
Paul Harkins: I would have to say so. Obviously the women won last year. Utah State did get us at the Pre-National meet but I know what we're capable of on the women's side and I would hope that everybody else does. The women's it's fair, no big deal but the men I think were grossly underrated. The meets we were going to, I don't know if the coaches realized how competitive they were versus some of the other ones and for them to pick us that low was kind of surprising. The men definitely have some extra motivation.

bc.net: How have the preparations for this weekend's championship meet been going? When we talked last week you mentioned that this was the first time all season that you were giving the teams some extra rest.
PH: This is the first meet we should go into feeling fully rested. We've been working them hard all season and the reason is for these next three weeks. The conference meet and the regional meet are what we've been shooting for all year. The key this week was to get their legs under them, not push them too hard, just keep them sharp enough so they're not feeling lethargic. I think we did a good job of that. I think both the men and women are ready to go and we'll see come Saturday.  Continue Reading This Post >>