Winning The WAC, One Tall Order

Written By: Russell Barns for NM State Media Relations

Lauren CopeIn most areas involving competition, size matters. The stronger, faster and more physically formidable one is the better, except for maybe women’s soccer.

Lauren Cope or "Copee" to her friends is one such player. Listed at 5-2 she may be short even for soccer standards but that is her secret weapon.

"I don’t mind being short. Actually, I kind of like it I'm able to play head games with the opposition," Cope said. "They (opponents) get mad if I beat them for an air ball. I can get in their heads."

As a starting midfielder/forward, her main attribute is quickness. One doesn’t have to have blazing speed or overpowering strength. Cope can get to the ball before most other players.

"It's a matter of staying focused; being aware of the field and players. Knowing how the game plays."

Last year as a freshman, Cope had great success on the pitch. She was named WAC Offensive Player of the Week and scored several important goals that propelled the Aggies victory.

Cope has scored twice this year and is looking forward to the next two matches that will hopefully get the Aggies into the WAC Tournament.

Head coach Michael Needham is thrilled by the performance of his squad.

"They’re awesome. They understand the responsibility before them," Needham said.

That responsibility is making NM State a contender in women’s soccer within the WAC. The soccer program has only been assembled for two years and is two wins away from competing in the tournament for the second consecutive season.

"I can't ask for anything more. They (women) play hard and expect to win. They’re winners."

The Aggies have has just two regular season games remaining in 2010. They travel to Hawai'i, Sunday, Oct. 24 and then host Louisiana Tech, Friday, Oct. 29.

With two victories, the Aggies will finish the season, 9-7-2, which is good enough for a spot in the WAC Tournament and a chance at a title, which is no small feat.