LAS CRUCES, N.M. (Feb. 1)-New Mexico State soccer head coach Blair Quinn has signed five athletes to National Letters of Intent. Midfielder/forward Cat Acosta, defender Mikaela Haley, midfielder Tatiana Raygoza, forward Samantha Sandoval and midfielder/forward Miranda Valdez join the Aggies in fall 2012.
Name Pos. Ht. Hometown/Previous School/Club Team
Cat Acosta MF/F 5-2 Las Cruces, N.M./Las Cruces HS/Rio Vista 94
Mikaela Haley D 5-1 Rio Rancho, N.M./Cleveland HS/New Mexico Rush 94
Tatiana Raygoza MF 5-4 West Covina, Calif./Roosevelt HS/SoCal Blues
Samantha Sandoval F 5-3 Albuquerque, N.M./Volcano Vista HS/ New Mexico Rush 94
Miranda Valdez MF/F 5-3 Orange, Calif./Orange Lutheran HS/Beach FC
A homegrown product, Acosta joins the Aggies from Las Cruces High School. She was a four-time all-state selection and led the Bulldawgs to an 18-2 record and district championship in 2011. Acosta scored 74 goals and recorded 37 assists in her high school career. She was in a top 5 in goal scorer in New Mexico as a junior and senior. Acosta was a four-time all-district selection and three-time district player of the year. As a junior, she guided Las Cruces to the state tournament.
"Cat is from Las Cruces High School where she plays center mid and forward," Quinn said. "She plays those same positions for one of the top under-18 club teams in the west region, the Rio Vista 94 Eagles. Her team is the current New Mexico State Champions as well as Region IV Finalists, so she has big game experience, something we were specifically looking to add. She scored 27 goals for Las Cruces this year, finishing as one of the top four scorers in the state, also something we needed to add. We are excited to add a homegrown player from right here in Las Cruces with the technical, play-making and goal scoring ability that Cat has."
Haley, a Rio Rancho, N.M. native, directed Cleveland High School to the state semifinals and third-place district finish as a senior in 2011. She was a two-time second team all-state, second team metro and first team all-district honoree. Haley led the Storm to three district titles as a junior, sophomore and freshman, as well as the state quarterfinals in 2010 and state semifinals in 2008 and 2009.
"Mikaela is a feisty, fiery outside back from Rio Rancho," Quinn said. "She plays much bigger and stronger than her 5-1 frame, and she is a natural leader on the field. Mikaela scored one of the best goals I've seen in youth soccer last year in the New Mexico State Finals in the last 30 seconds to tie the game for her team and send it to overtime, so she's no stranger to pressure situations and championship games. She also has a big personality and is someone we felt fit in immediately with our team culture and values."
Raygoza arrives in Las Cruces from West Covina, Calif., and Eleanor Roosevelt High School. She led South Hills High School to the Big VIII League Championship and California Interscholastic Federation second round in 2008-09. In both her sophomore and junior campaigns, Raygoza paced Roosevelt to a fifth-place showing in league play. With the SoCal Blues club team, Raygoza and team won the Region IV Championship and played for the national title in 2011.
"Tati is a player that can play several positions for us in our formation, notably wide defender and holding center mid," Quinn said. "Her team won the Region IV Championship and played in the 2011 USYS National Championships. So we are adding another player that we know has been in multiple championship situations and can bring that knowledge and level of play to our team and program and compete for playing time immediately."
Sandoval joins the Aggies from Albuquerque and Volcano Vista High School. As a senior, she led the Hawks to a runner-up finish at state and district championship following a state title and second-place district finish in 2010. She recorded 26 career goals and 22 career assists. In her sophomore and freshman seasons, Sandoval paced Volcano Vista to third-place finishes at the state tournament and district title in 2008 and runner-up district finish in 2009. She was a second team all-state honoree in 2010 and three-time honorable mention all-state selection in 2008, 2009 and 2011. Additionally, Sandoval was a first team all-district pick in 2008 and 2009 and second team all-district honoree in 2010 and 2011.
"Samantha is a speedy, left-footed forward from Albuquerque," Quinn said. "She has excellent one-on-one ability and can serve a very dangerous cross from the left flank. She is another player that is somewhat small in stature, but plays bigger than her size and is definitely stronger than she may appear. We feel like she fits our 4-3-3 system very well and will be competing for playing time right away."
Valdez arrives in Las Cruces from Orange, Calif., and Orange Lutheran High School. As a senior, she has recorded 16 goals and 10 assists this season, and the Lancers rank fifth in the California Interscholastic Federation and top 20 nationally. Overall, Valdez has 35 career goals and 22 career assists. In her junior campaign, she was a second team All-Trinity League selection and offensive player of the year. Valdez earned second team all-league honors and the rookie of the year award in 2008-09 after leading the team to a third-place league showing.
"Miranda comes to us from a very competitive club, Beach FC, in the deepest soccer talent pool in the country, Southern California," Quinn said. "She is excellent on the ball and in one-on-one situations. She has great vision and technical ability and will do quite well for us in an attacking center mid/forward role. "She has family in New Mexico and a cousin currently attending NM State, so she felt comfortable here right away, and we believe she is going to be an impactful player here for four years."