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here is a buzz surrounding Texas A&M International University Athletics these days and optimism is justifiably running high as the department enters its fourth season of competition. The 2005-06 campaign will commence in September when the Fall sports season kicks off with men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country and volleyball. It should be a Fall to remember as the men’s soccer and volleyball teams set their sights on building on the success of three straight winning seasons while the women’s soccer team looks to improve under the direction of a new coach. The outlook is bright for cross country, with each team benefiting from the leadership of runners who have participated at the NAIA National Championship level. The men’s soccer team returns 13 letterwinners from a team that won its second straight Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) Tournament title last season. TAMIU finished with a 14-5-1 record, becoming the first TAMIU team to play for T

a NAIA Region VI title. The Dustdevils will advantage of shooting fo

have the r their third

straight conference title at the friendly confines of Dustdevil Soccer Field. RRAC coaches voted last spring that TAMIU would host the men’s and women’s postseason tournaments, which will be held Nov. 3-5.

Leading the way for men’s soccer is All-American candidate Daniel Hermosillo, who enters his senior season with 63 career goals and 154 career total points to his credit. The 2004 NAIA honorable mention All-American and two-time RRAC Offensive Player of the Year needs only 24 goals to crack the NAIA’s top-20 career scoring list.

As is the case with men’s soccer, the volleyball team looks to continue its winning ways in 2005. The squad returns 12 letterwinners from a team that finished 25-8 last season. Amongst the returnees are first-team All-RRAC selection Xochitl Garza and RRAC Freshman of the Year Amanda Garza.

24 prism

The 2004 volleyball season was highlighted by several landmark achievements. Besides recording two wins over NCAA Division I programs (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and UT-Pan American) the Dustdevils were ranked in the NAIA top-25 poll for several weeks, becoming TAMIU’s first team sport to receive a national ranking.

The women’s soccer program hired a new coach this summer, replacing the departed Sandra Forestier. TAMIU earned its first RRAC Tournament berth last season, finishing 2-3 in conference play and 4-15 overall. The Dustdevils will be led by senior Erika Alcaráz, who is a three- time second-team All-Red River Athletic Conference selection.

Both cross country teams look to challenge for Red River Athletic Conference team titles after placing second in the team standings at last year’s conference meet. Leading the way for each team are senior runners with impressive credentials.

Anetra Matthews won individual champion honors at the 2004 RRAC Championships before placing 61st amongst 258 competitors at the NAIA National Championships. On the men’s side, Marc Vela competed in the 2003 NAIA Championships and finished second at last year’s RRAC meet.

Men’s soccer senior Paco Imatzu, who has played an integral role in TAMIU’s championship run, says that it is important that the campus and community support the efforts of TAMIU’s student-athletes.

“It’s always a boost when we have a loud and enthusiastic crowd in attendance,” Imatzu said, “The men’s soccer team is dedicated to making it to the NAIA national tournament and all of our teams deserve support so we are asking students and the public alike to

back our efforts.” Complete information, schedules and latest news,

including on TAMIU

Athletics can be found on the Internet at www.tamiu.edu/athletics.

TAMIU students, faculty and staff are admitted free to all home events with admission prices for the general public being $4 for adults and $2 for students (K-12).

Dan Lathey

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