Zias begin soccer season today

By Dave Wagner: Freedom Newspapers

In her first three years, senior midfielder Anna Funck has helped the Eastern New Mexico University women’s soccer program make steady improvement.

This season, she hopes to get extra help from her sister, April.

The Funcks, both graduates of Amarillo High, are the first pair of sisters to play in the program. The Zias open their 2006 season with a 4 p.m. match today against Fort Lewis at the ENMU pitch, the first of four home contests in a six-day stretch.
April Funck, a midfielder-defender, hopes she can join her sister in the starting lineup — if not today, at least sometime this season.

“I think it’s good experience for me to come in behind someone who helped start the program,” she said. “I hope to start, especially playing with my sister.”

Anna Funck is one of four original Zias still active in the program. The others are defender Pam Campbell and forwards Megan Dozier and Kara Henderson.

The Zias went 3-12 in 2003, their inaugural campaign, before posting marks of 9-9-2 and 10-8-1 the last two years — both times falling just short of berths in the six-team Lone Star Conference tournament.

“We hope it happens this year because it’s our last year,” Anna Funck said of making the tournament. “Our team keeps getting better with each recruiting class. We’re seeing the program grow, and that makes me feel good.”

ENMU women’s coach Travis McCorkle said he was aware of April after recruiting Anna, and added that she’s in contention for a starting spot, probably as a defender.

“She’s got great size (5-foot-7, three inches taller than Anna) and very good technique,” McCorkle said. “I think one of April’s natural tendencies is to be aggressive, where Anna’s tendency is to try to outthink her opponent.”
Anna Funck led the team with seven goals last season.

April said her decision to come to ENMU wasn’t that difficult.

“I looked around, but this is a perfect fit for me,” she said. “The girls are really nice, and we have a great coach.”

McCorkle feels good about his squad, but added the Zias will have to play well to keep their streak of improving records going. They were pegged for seventh (out of 10 teams) in the LSC’s preseason poll.

“Our schedule’s difficult,” he said. “I think our schedule is probably the hardest it’s been.

“But we have the most athletic team we’ve had. We have four four-year seniors, and our recruiting has been consistent.”