University of New Mexico head women’s soccer coach Kit Vela and her staff have been busy, and now the proof is in the facts, or the fax as it were. Vela has announced a signing class of nine, and the three other newcomers and transfers already in class at New Mexico, bringing the total of newcomers to an even dozen.
“This is an incredibly talented, athletic class of players,” said head coach Kit Vela. “Representing the West and Southwest nicely, I feel that this class of players will give us tremendous depth and soccer sense, adding to the special group we already have, to allow us to compete at the highest of levels.”
Lobo fans within the Duke City will certainly recognize several of the names on the signing list, as three players with stellar prep careers will continue on with the Lobos, including a pair of state titlists. La Cueva’s Emily Chavez and Shayla Malecki come to UNM after winning back-to-back state titles for the Bears. Malecki was one of the team’s top goal scorers, and Chavez anchored the La Cueva backline. Ruth Bruciaga played at Volcano Vista and is one of three newcomers already enrolled in school at UNM.
The loss of keeper Kelli Cornell, who owns basically every goalkeeping record at UNM, leaves UNM with a pair of solid but untested keepers in Cassie Ulrich and Venese Morales. Joining them are a trio of keepers, two highly decorated high school keepers and one with Division I college experience.
The lone recruit from Utah, Julia Vaughan, is 6-foot tall with solid hands and a commanding presence in the penalty area, winning a state title as a sophomore. Tucson’s Laura DeMers, one of three players from the same club team in Tucson, has won three state titles and is looking for a fourth this year and will battle for time. A third keeper is transfer Allyson Lambros, who is on campus after playing one season and redshirting a second at Stony Brook in New York.
DeMers has a pair of teammates joining her at UNM in Madeleine Parker, who also is a high school teammate, and Madison Irwin, who is a pure goal scorer with 69 in her high school career.
Lambros is one of four Californians in the class as well. Savannah Viola and Eileen Zendejas are forwards that will help fill the void with the loss to graduation of leading scorers Stephanie Rowe, Jordan Craig, and Natalie Jenks, who were all forwards last year. The fourth Californian is no stranger to the Lobos, as Brooklynne Webster of Huntington Beach, the younger sister of upcoming senior Brianna Webster, will join the team.
Rounding out the class is Fort Hays State transfer and Colorado native Chandler Zitzmann, who started all 22 games for the Tigers last year, totaling over 2,000 minutes of play.
The following are brief capsules on the new players, along with a quote from Kit Vela. UNM’s two transfer students are listed last, everyone else is alphabetical.
Ruth Bruciaga, 5-8, MF-F, Albuquerque, N.M. (Volcano Vista HS)
Lettered for four seasons under Samantha Lucero … was named District Player of the Year in 2010 and 2012, the same years she was named First Team All-State … was a First Team All-District selection in 2010, 2011, and 2012 … scored eight goals with three assists during her senior season … had 12 goals and 10 assists as a junior … had her best goal scoring year as a sophomore, hitting for 13 to go along with eight assists as Volcano Vista won a state title … had four goals with two assists as a freshman … was named Volcano Vista’s MVP in 2010 and 2012, and Offensive MVP in 2011 .
Born December 21, 1994 in Albuquerque, N.M.. … daughter of Ramiro and Ana Bruciaga … favorite food are tacos … has four siblings: Ana, Ramiro, Mauricio, and Natalia … brother Mauricio plays soccer at Lyon College.
Vela on Bruciaga“A real talent – a soccer junky with great abilities – a terrific local product and proud Lobo!”
Emily Chavez, 5-9, D, Albuquerque, N.M. (La Cueva HS)
Lettered for two seasons under Amber Ashcraft … led La Cueva to an 18-4 season as a junior and a 18-4 season as a senior, winning state titles in 2011 and 201 … scored eight goals as a defender last year, adding a pair of assists … helped La Cueva to 12 shutouts during her senior year … scored the lone goal in a 1-0 quarterfinal win over Carlsbad … had a pair of goals in the opening two games of the season, against Del Norte and Highland … as a junior, she scored the game-winning goal in the state title game … she was a First Team All-State selection as a junior, along with District Player of the Year and First Team All-Metro … as a senior she was First Team All-Metro, First Team All-District, and First Team All-State … a member of the La Cueva Honor Roll.
Born January 24, 1995 in Fairfield, Calif. … daughter of James and Carolin Delker … favorite food are grapes … her mother played soccer at Ohio State … has two younger sisters; Ellie and Carly … wants to major in health science.
Vela on Chavez “A tough, competitive defender – very athletic with incredible upside!”
Laura DeMers, 5-10, GK, Tucson, Ariz. (Catalina Foothill HS)
Lettered in soccer under Charlie Kendrick for three years at Catalina Foothill, as well as cross country … has helped Catalina Foothill to three state titles, and potentially a fourth … currently has led CFHS to a 20-3-2 record and a ranking of 20th nationally … has 13 shutouts and 60 saves, playing in 21 games … as a junior she had 65 saves and 14 shutouts as CFHS was ranked 33rd nationally … overall she has 49 shutouts in 66 career games …a two time All-Arizona Division II Honorable Mention selection, and a two time Arizona Daily Star First Team All-Star pick as well … also a member of the National Honor Society, Student Council, and the Arizona Central Student-Athlete of the Week.
Born March 15, 1995 in Evanston, Illinois … daughter of Gerry and Catherine DeMers … favorite food is Mexican food … has a sister Grace … favorite athlete is Hope Solo … wants to major in biology.
Vela on DeMers
“Talented, smart goalkeeper, who has passion and love for the game – is a terrific addition in a very important role”
Madeleine Irwin, MF/D, Tucson, Ariz. (Catalina Megnet HS)
Lettered in soccer under John Faruoio for four years at Catalina Megnet, along with volleyball for four years … was named All-Southern in soccer and was also Second Team All-Arizona … she also was All-Southern Arizona in volleyball and Division III Player of the Year … she was team MVP as a senior in both soccer and volleyball … was an unreal goal scorer in high school, scoring eight as a freshman, 11 as a sophomore, 18 as a junior, and 32 as a senior, giving her 69 for her career … also a four-year Honor Roll student.
Born April 4, 1995 in Tucson, Arizona … daughter of Midge Irwin … favorite food is Mexican food … has a sister Kelsee that played volleyball at Pima Community College … favorite athlete is Gerard Pique … wants to major in biology.
Vela on Irwin
“Very smooth soccer player who can play multiple roles, well.”
Shayla Malecki, 5-7, F, Albuquerque, N.M. (La Cueva HS)
Lettered for three seasons in soccer under Amber Ashcraft … also lettered in basketball and track … led LaCueva to back-to-back 18-4 seasons as a junior and a senior, winning back-to-back state titles … was La Cueva’s leading scorer for three consecutive seasons … as a junior she also led the team in assists and points as well … was a First Team All-State and First Team All-District selection … is a member of the National Honor Society, the Hispanic National Honor Society, and a winner of the All-Academic Award.
Born September 15, 1994 in Albuquerque, New Mexico … daughter of Douglas and Patricia Malecki … favorite food is prime ribs with a loaded baked potato … has a brother Joshua … wants to major in engineering or business.
Vela on Malecki
“Very spirited forward with a nose for the goal.”
Madeleine Parker, 5-9, D, Tucson, Ariz. (Catalina Foothill HS)
Lettered in soccer under Charlie Kendrick for three years at Catalina Foothill, where she also lettered in track and field … won a pair of state titles at Catalina Foothill … helped CFHS to a 64-8-3 record over three seasons … scored three goals with three assists as a senior … was a state finalist in the 100m hurdles and the 4x400m relay … a member of the National Honor Society and a four year Student-Athlete Achievement Award winner.
Born April 26, 1995 in Buffalo, New York … daughter of Glenn and Kathryn Parker … favorite food is mushroom risotto … her father Glenn played football for the University of Arizona, and then spent 12 years in the NFL with the Bills, Chiefs, and Giants, appearing in five Super Bowls and is now an analyst on the Pac-12 Network … her mother was a synchronized swimmer at Arizona … has three siblings; Emily, Caroline, and William.¬
Vela on Parker
“Incredible athlete with a will to learn, compete and defend against the best”
Julia Vaughan, 6-0, GK, Draper, Utah (Lone Peak HS)
Lettered for two seasons at Alta under Lee Mitchell and then two seasons at Lone Peak under Heather Dahl … was a two-time All-State pick, in 2012 on the second team, and in 2011 as an honorable mention selection … also earned all-region honors in 2011 and 2012 … as a freshman, she helped Alta to a state title and a 17-2-1 record, allowing just one goal combined in her games between varsity and JV … had another solid season as a sophomore at Alta helping to a 14-2-1 record and a state quarterfinal appearance … transferred to Lone Peak, and led LPHS to the state semifinals, recording four shutouts in leading LPHS to a 15-3-1 season … recorded 48 saves and a 0.80 goals against as a senior with six shutouts in another state quarterfinal appearance … also a standout in track and field, winning a region championship in the long jump and qualifying for state in the long jump, 100m hurdles, 300m hurdles, 100m, and the 4×100 relay …was an All-Region Academic Team member and was named to the honor roll all seven semesters so far with a 3.87 cumulative GPA … her Sparta United Premier ’95 club team is ranked No. 1 in Utah, and won the 2012 Utah State Cup title and the 2012 Surf Cup title … at the Surf Cup, Vaughan chalks up stopping four of six PKs in a semifinal shootout and then a shutout win in the title as one of her best sports moments … a member of the national honor society, and she volunteers with the Utah Developmental Center for the Disabled and the Junior Diabetes Association.
Born September 21, 1994 in Sandy, Utah … daughter of Gary and Jeri Vaughan … favorite food is burritos with green chile … is fluent in sign language … her father is a retired colonel with the Marines … has five siblings; Gregory, Jennifer, Glen, Garrett, and Jessica.
Vela on Vaughan
“Goalkeeper with great presence and attitude. A winner, by nature, who will compete every day”
Savannah Viola, MF-F, Grenada, Calif. (Flintridge Sacred Heart HS)
Lettered in soccer at Flintridge Sacred Heart High School, where she was a teammate of current Lobos Tera Trujillo and Katelyn Almeida … scored four goals with 10 assists as a senior, helping FSHHS to a No. 19 national ranking and a 15-2-3 overall record … had five goals, including two in a game against Horizon, and four assists as a junior as FSHHS went 23-3-1 … assisted on three goals in a 6-0 win over Louisville.
Vela on Viola
“Enthusiastic talent, with will and drive to compete against anyone.”
Brooklynne Webster, 5-9, D, Huntington Beach, Calif. (Edison HS)
Lettered in soccer under Kerry Crooks at Edison High School … currently in her senior season, but has led Edison to back-to-back Sunset League Championships and three CIF appearances … was named Sunset League Honorable Mention, and is a three time Scholar-Athlete … also a Cal South ODP Player and a Region IV ODP pool player.
Born March 23, 1995 in Fountain Valley, Calif. … daughter of Jeff and Peggy Webster … favorite food are smoothies and cornbread … has three siblings: Brianna, Ben, and Bailey … her older sister Brianna is a senior on the Lobos … is undecided on a major.
Vela on Webster
“Great athleticism – will be an incredible asset to the backline – competes day in and day out.”
Eileen Zendejas, 5-2, F, Santa Ana, Calif. (Foothill HS)
Lettered at Foothill for coach Steve Patterson … listed as a forward but can also play in the midfield … Also played for Patterson with Strikers F.C. and SoCal Infinity … helped SoCal Infinity to the 2011 Toyota of Orange Classic title, and an 8-2-1 record in the SCSDL League in 2011.
Born February 13, 1995 in Mission Viejo, California … daughter of Oscar and Claudia Zendejas … favorite food is steak and buffalo wings … favorite athlete is Lionel Messi … has two siblings, Oscar II and Brittney … wants to major in psychology.
Vela on Zendejas
“Very crafty player – a crowd pleaser – blue collar, hard working, forward who will fit in nicely with our culture”
Allyson Lambros, 5-5, GK, La Habra, Calif. (Stony Brook/La Habra HS)
Played one season and redshirted one season at Stony Brook … saw action in two games, recording three saves and a 3.24 goals against average in 28 minutes of action … was on the Dean’s List all three semesters at Stony Brook.
Lettered in soccer for two seasons at La Habra, earning MVP on La Habra JV as a freshman, and Defensive MVP on varsity as a sophomore … was a member of the Principal’s Honor Roll all four years, with a GPA above 4.0 all four years as well … served as Vice President of the German National Honor Society
Born January 27, 1993 in Whittier, Calif. … daughter of Derek Bolenbaugh and Amy Lambros … favorite food is anything chocolate … has a sister Megan that goes to Champlain College (Vermont) … favorite athlete is Petra Majdic … wants to major in criminology.
Chandler Zitzmann, 5-5, D, Highlands Ranch, Colo. (Ft. Hays State/Heritage HS)
Played one season as a defender at Fort Hays State in Kansas … she started all 22 games for the Tigers, and was an Honorable Mention All-MIAA selection … was second on the team in minutes with 2,014, and helped the team post a 0.91 GAA and nine shutouts.
Lettered in soccer and track at Heritage, playing soccer under Adam Buseck … was a Second Team All-Conference pick as a senior… was also named MVP and Defensive Player of the Year … was honored by Heritage High was a permanent spot on the Wall of Fame for her state ranking in the track sprint medley.
Born August 8, 1993 in Denver, Colorado … daughter of Jim Zitzmann and Paula Diaz … favorite food is spaghetti … has three siblings, Haley, Maddie, and Matthew … favorite athlete is Brady Quinn … wants to major in communications.