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Aztec's Sierra Villanueva signs with Eastern New Mexico University women's soccer


Matt Hollinshead   | Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Sierra Villanueva is emerging as a steady defensive presence geared toward setting up counterattacks on the soccer pitch, and now the Aztec midfielder looks to immediately fill that void at Eastern New Mexico University.

Villanueva, who signed with ENMU on Monday via partial athletic and academic scholarships, said the Greyhounds are graduating multiple midfielders and are restocking that position.

"Me coming in, I might get a lot of playing time if I play hard enough," Villanueva said, adding that ENMU plans to use her in that same defensive midfielder role.

Villanueva has tallied a combined 16 goals and 12 assists the last two years, but she said ENMU was drawn to how active she is pursuing 50-50 balls and in helping the central defenders hold opponents at bay.

Going forward, Villanueva said she wants to be more decisive in not giving foes that extra bit of space to attack. That way, ENMU can transition into counterattacks faster.

Villanueva also said she wants to make more passes into tighter spaces, finding open teammates in between opposing defenders.

"I can cross the ball in. I can get them through the center defenders, as long as I work on it," Villanueva said. "I can shoot a long ball and a long goal, but I think assisting is the way that I'll help the team the most."

Eastern New Mexico's an NCAA Division II program in Portales.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports and business for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577, mhollinshead@daily-times.com and on Twitter at @MattH_717.

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