Katherine Mertz has made a tremendous impact on the UNLV soccer program in her three years at the helm as she has led the Rebels to three straight Mountain West Conference championships (two tournament titles, one regular-season crown) and two NCAA Tournament appearances as well.
This last season, Mertz guided the UNLV squad to a fourth straight conference championship title, as the Rebels claimed the MWC regular-season crown with a 5-1-1 mark. The championship was won in dramatic fashion. With the title on the line in the regular-season finale, UNLV posted its first win over BYU, a 1-0 victory over the 24th-ranked Cougars. Despite the team's 11-5-5 final mark, it was passed over for the NCAA Tournament, marking the first time in four years the program would not receive a bid.
There were several highlights during the year, though. UNLV posted two wins over ranked teams during the season, as along with the BYU victory the Rebels upset No. 11 Washington State on Sept. 21 in Las Vegas. The Cougars were the highest ranked team UNLV has ever posted a win over. UNLV also tied the school record for shutouts in a season with 11, had a perfect home record for the first-time ever (7-0-3) and Mertz was honored with her first MWC Coach of the Year honor. Katie Carney was named to two All-West Region teams, and she was also the school's first-ever national academic team selection, while the Rebel squad received the NSCAA/Adidas Team Academic Award for exceptional academic performance.
In Mertz's second year in 2006, the Rebels stayed near the .500 mark the entire season while breaking in 10 newcomers. The team started to come together near the end of the season, however, as shown by an overtime victory over No. 21 Pepperdine, the first win over a ranked team in UNLV history. The Rebels then entered the MWC tournament as the third seed, but played outstanding defense to win back-to-back penalty kick shootouts to earn the 2006 MWC title. The win also gave UNLV its third-straight NCAA appearance, while forward Tanya Roberts earned NSCAA All-West Region honors.
Mertz had an impressive beginning to her head coaching career, as the Rebels began the 2005 season with a 3-4-3 mark, but bounced back over the final 10 games to post a 7-3 record en route to setting a new school record for wins in a season at 13 (13-7-3 overall record).
UNLV easily broke several defensive team records in 2005, including goals allowed in a season with 14, and team goals against average at 0.59, which ranked 12th in the nation. Mertz guided the squad to three straight wins in the MWC Tournament, including two straight in overtime, to capture the 2005 MWC Tournament title with a 1-0 win over New Mexico, putting the Rebels into the NCAA Tournament for the second time in the eight-year history of the program. There they just narrowly missed making the second round, falling at 15th-ranked Cal State Fullerton 1-0 in overtime. Four Rebels would be named all-conference in her first year in Las Vegas, with one earning all-region honors as well.
Mertz became the third head coach in UNLV women's soccer history in April of 2005. She came to Las Vegas from UCLA, where she was an assistant coach for the women's soccer program for five years. While on the Bruins staff, she helped guide them to three trips to the College Cup and two NCAA championship game appearances (2000, lost to North Carolina 2-1, 2004, lost to Notre Dame on penalty kicks). UCLA advanced to the NCAA third round all five of her years on the staff, while the Bruins also won three Pac-10 Conference titles.
Mertz is currently an assistant with the U-20 National Team, who qualified for the FIFA World Cup that will be held in November of 2008 in Chile. She was with the team this summer when it played in the CONCACAF Tournament in Puebla, Mexico, and reached the championship game.
She also served as assistant coach for the U-15 Women's National Team in the summers of 2004 and 2005. In the summer of 2007, Mertz was assistant and goalkeeper coach for the U-20 National Training Camp in Maryland that trained the U-20 National Team for the Pan American Games in Brazil.
Mertz was a four-year starting goalkeeper at North Carolina State from 1994-97, and helped the Wolfpack advance to the NCAA Tournament her first three years, including the NCAA Quarterfinals in 1995. She set the conference mark with 436 saves, and finished with 24 career shutouts. Mertz graduated from the school in 1998 with a degree in natural resources.
Following a year as an undergraduate assistant for NC State in 1998, she continued her soccer career in the W-League as the goalkeeper for the Raleigh Wings, which won the USISL Championship in 1998 and 1999. Mertz then served a year as assistant coach at Virginia in 1999 under former national team head coach April Heinrichs before moving to UCLA in 2000.
THE MERTZ FILE