Kicking It With The Ladies
Aug. 25, 2008
LAS VEGAS -
By: Brian Sternberg, UNLV Sports Marketing
Coming off a season when your team wins the regular season conference championship and is denied an invite to the NCAA tournament is not something that happens every year. But, that is exactly what happened to the UNLV women's soccer team after they finished last season with an 11-5-5 record and a 5-1-1 mark in conference play.
"We had a good season and pulled out some great victories," 2007 Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year Kat Mertz said. "I think it is definitely going to give us motivation for this season. As we realized last year, winning the regular season is not enough to put you in the NCAA tournament and that is our ultimate goal."
Coach Mertz is focused on putting this year's team in contention to win a fifth consecutive Mountain West Conference title and she will be relying on defender Brie Kuhne to do just that.
Entering the 2008 season, Kuhne will be one of only two seniors. Last season, she was an All-MWC first-team selection alongside the departed Co-Offensive Player of the Year Katie Carney. Kuhne enters this season with five new teammates in the starting lineup and 14 newcomers overall joining.
"I don't feel a lot of pressure on my shoulders this year. I just try and show the way for the younger girls and be a good example," Kuhne said. "I have been a part of a winning team since I got here and we want to win conference again and also win the (Mountain West Conference) tournament."
Kuhne joined UNLV after redshirting at Washington State in 2004 and has helped UNLV win the past three Mountain West Conference Championships. In those three years, she has started all 69 games.
"I want to end my career here with no regrets," the San Diego native said. "I think we have a lot more depth on the bench this year with the forwards and the midfielders."
To repeat as champions for the fifth consecutive year, this season's Rebels will face some stiff competition with BYU, San Diego State and Utah to name a few. As for the rest of the Mountain West, Coach Mertz stated that the conference has continued to get stronger and there will not be any easy games.
"We have a lot of new faces coming in and we have some quality players that are already here, so we have the talent," Mertz said. "It's just the matter of coming together as a team."
This year's team will have their home opener against Nevada, Reno at Peter Johann Memorial Field on Friday, August 29 at 1:00 p.m.