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No. 19 Lobos Travel to UNLV for MPSF Action
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  10/31/2007
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Oct. 31, 2007

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Up Next: The 19th ranked University of New Mexico men's soccer team will be back in action after a week off when they face UNLV on Nov. 3, at 8:00 p.m. (M.D.T.) in Las Vegas, Nev. The Lobos are currently riding an eight-match unbeaten streak and are in first place in the MPSF standings. GameTracker will be available for the Lobos-Rebels match on GoLobos.com as New Mexico starts the second half of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation schedule.

New Mexico has scored 13 points in the first five matches of MPSF play and is in first place in the conference race. UNM is 4-0-1 in conference games and 9-3-1 overall, leading second place San Jose State by four points (8-6-0, 3-2-0 MPSF). Denver is in third place with eight points (6-4-2, 2-1-2 MPSF) while Sacramento State sits in fourth place with seven points (3-9-2, 2-2-1 MPSF). UNLV (5-7-2, 1-4-0 MPSF) and Air Force (3-9-1, 1-4-0 MPSF) are tied for fifth with three points. Teams get three points for a win and one point for a tie in MPSF action. With no postseason tournament, the winner of the MPSF regular season gets the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

New Mexico has owned the series of late, winning each of the last seven meetings, including a 2-1 win inthe last contest for both teams on Oct. 20 in Albuquerque. UNM defeated the Rebels 4-1 in Las Vegas last season and have outscored UNLV 24-4 in the last seven matches. However, each of the last two contests between UNM and UNLV have been decided by one goal that also includes a 1-0 OT win at home last season.

Since starting the season 2-3-0, the Lobos are 7-0-1 in their last eight matches, scoring 22 goals in that stretch while allowing only four. Junior forward Chris Wright currently leads the MPSF in scoring with 19 points on eight goals and three assists. His eight goals are also tops in the league and he ranks in the top-30 in the nation in scoring and goals. Senior keeper and preseason All-American Mike Graczyk has played nearly every minute in goal, posting a 0.78 goals-against-average, the lowest in the league.

As a team, New Mexico is tops in the MPSf with 77 points on the season. UNM's offense ranks second in the league with 27 goals and 14th in the NCAA. The Lobos' 0.76 team g.a.a. is also the lowest in the MPSF.

UNLV Rebels (5-7-2, 1-4-0 MPSF)
Location: Las Vegas, Nev.
Conference: Mountain Pacific Sports Federation
Head Coach: Mario Sanchez (Fresno State `99)
Record at UNLV: 6-22-4 (2)
Career Record: same


Starters Returning/Lost: 7/4
2006 Record: 1-15-2
2006 Conference Record: 1-9-0 (6th)
UNM vs. UNLV: 15-7-0
Last Time: UNM won 2-1 (10-20-07) at Home
Top Goal Scorer: Lamar Neagle (7)
Top Assists: Daniel Cruz (4)
Top Goalie: Calvin Bailey (1.50 g.a.a)
Notes: UNLV may have only won one game last season, but it was a huge win for the Lobos. The Rebels defeated Denver 2-0 in the final weekend of the 2006 regular season, allowing New Mexico a chance to pass the Pioneers in the MPSF race and capture the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. New Mexico has won seven straight matches in the series with UNLV, outscoring the Rebels 24-4 in that stretch. UNLV did take a 2-0 win at UNM in the 2003 season, one of only two home losses in MPSF play for New Mexico head coach Jeremy Fishbein. The Lobos defeated UNLV 2-1 at home on Oct. 20 in the first half of MPSF play this season.
Web Site: www.UNLVRebels.com

Recapping Last Weekend: The Lobos had last weekend off but dominated in a 2-1 win over UNLV in front of 3,408 fans at University Stadium in their last action on Oct. 20. New Mexico outshot the Rebels 20-6, who were content to lay back and pack the box with 10 plyaers for most of the night. After subbing out most of the starters, New Mexico allowed a sloppy goal in the 82nd minute, but held on for their seventh consecutive win over UNLV.

Lobo Offense Heating Up...Now Ranks 14th in the nCAA: After starting the season with a 2-3-0 record and just five goals in their first five games, UNM has been hot on the offensive side of the ball in the last seven matches. New Mexico has put up 22 goals while allowing just four in their last eight games and are unbeaten in that stretch at 7-0-1. The Lobo offense is now ranked No. 14 in the nation at 2.08 goals-per-game. Junior forward Chris Wright has at least one point in each of the last eight games for New Mexico.

Wright Leads MPSF in Scoring and Goals: Lobo junior Chris Wright currently leads the MPSF in scoring with 19 points on eight goals and three assists. He is currently 28th in the NCAA in scoring. His eight goals also lead the MPSF and he is 27th in the nation in goals scored.

Lobos tough at Home in MPSF Play Under Fishbein: The Lobo men's soccer team has posted a 22-2-1 mark in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation action at the UNM Soccer Complex under head coach Jeremy Fishbein. The only two losses at home under Fishbein came against UNLV (2-0 on Oct. 18, 2003) and San Jose State (3-2 (OT) on Oct. 16, 2005).

In The Rankings: The Lobos are No. 19 in the CollegeSoccerNews.com Top-30 and 20th in the Soccer America Top-25. UNM is also No. 21 in the NSCAA Top-25 and 22nd inthe Soccer Times Top-25. New Mexico has now been ranked for 48 consecutive weeks, dating back to the start of 2004.

New Mexico is Strong with a Lead: The Lobos are tough to beat when scoring first or leading at the half. In head coach Jeremy Fishbein's tenure, New Mexico is 73-2-7 when finding the back of the net first and 46-1-2 when holding a halftime lead. The last time UNM surrendered a lead and lost the match was against San Jose State at home on Oct. 16, 2005, in a 3-2 OT loss to the Spartans. The only time the Lobos lost a match when leading at the half was a 3-2 loss to the Spartans in the finals of the 2003 MPSF Tournament Nov. 16, in Sacramento, Calif.

Lobos Boast Highest Winning % Since 2004: The University of New Mexico men's soccer team boasts the highest winning percentage in Division I over the last three years. The Lobos are 58-10-9 (.812) since the start of 2004. Only UC Santa Barbara (60-19-7) and Maryland (60-17-9) have more wins than the Lobos over the last three years. Here is a look at the top teams in the nation based on winning percentage since 2004.
New Mexico - 58-10-9 - .812
Akron - 55-14-10 - .759
Indiana - 58-15-12 - .753
Maryland - 60-17-9 - .750
SMU - 58-16-10 - .750
Wake Forest - 57-17-10 - .738
UCSB - 60-19-8 - .736
Virginia - 56-18-7 - .735

Graczyk Sweeps Weekly Honors: Senior keeper Mike Graczyk took home all of the honors on Sept. 24 after shutting out Cal State Northridge and No. 12 San Francisco in the previous week. The preseason All-American earned the Brine-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation co-Player of the Week and was named to both CollegeSoccerNews.com and Soccer America's National Teams of the Week. Graczyk is now UNM's all-time leader in career shutouts with 28.

Lobos not a good host for defending champs: UNM's 2-1 win over No. 9 and defending NCAA Champion UC Santa Barbara Gauchos marks the second time in three years a defending champion has left the UNM Soccer Complex with a loss. New Mexico also dropped No. 1 Indiana at home on Sept. 19, 2004, 1-0 in double-overtime.

Lobos taking on tough Competition: So far this season the Lobos have posted a 2-1-0 record against teams the were in the 2006 NCAA Tournament. UNM defeated Cincinnati 1-0, a first round participant, and UCSB 2-1, the 2006 NCAA Champs. UNM has split its two matches against top-25 teams, defeating the Gauchos and dropping a 1-0 match to No. 24 Washington.

Graczyk Etching His Named in the Lobo Record book: With a 4-0 win over Cal State Northridge, senior keeper Mike Graczyk became UNM's all-time leader in shutouts with 27 in his career. He passed his predecessor Andrew Weber who played nearly every minute in goal from 2001-04. Graczyk was named to CollegeSoccerNews.com's preseason All-American second team and the Soccer America preseason All-American squad coming in to 2007. His 0.64 career g.a.a. coming into the season was the lowest in school history. Graczyk has been the primary keeper since the start of the 2005 season and played all but 30 minutes in 2007. He is currently in second place on the career wins list with 43. Weber holds the Lobo record with 50 career wins in goal.

BARRERA NAMED MPSF PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Diego Barrera was named the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Player of the Week for Week 3. Barrera, a senior from Thousand Oaks, Calif., scored the game-winner in the Lobos' 2-1 win over No. 9 and defending NCAA Champion UC Santa Barbara on Sept. 16. Barrera transferred to UNM from Loyola Marymount prior to the start of the season. An all-region selection in 2006, Barrera was one of the most sought after transfers in college soccer over the summer. His impact on the Lobos has been immediate, with his other goal being a game-winner against Cincinnati on Sept. 9.

LOBOS PICKED TO WIN MPSF TITLE...AGAIN: The coached around the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation selected UNM as the preseason favorite to win the MPSF in 2007. New Mexico is going for its fourth straight conference title and the sixth in the last seven years.

SAJJADI, BROWN POWER TEXANS TO NATIONAL TITLE: Sophomores Bryan Sajjadi and Stephen Brown led their Dallas Texas club team to the U.S.Y.S.A. U-19 National Title in July. It is the third straight national championships for the duo as members of the Texans. Ironically, they defeated fellow Lobo Zach Tierney's Chicago Magic squad in the finals.

ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICAN STREAK CONTINUES: When Chris Wright earned CoSIDA ESPN The Magazine 2nd Team Academic All-American honors last season, it gave the Lobos at least one representative on the squad each year since 2003. Duquesne, Maryland and Wisconsin-Milwaukee are the only other schools to have at least one student-athlete honored each year during that same stretch.

NINE ALL-MPSF HONOREES RETURN: Not only do the Lobos return nine starters in 2007, but they also have nine players who were honored on one of the MPSF's three all-league squads in 2006. Senior's David Gualdarama and Mike Graczyk and sophomore Simon Ejdemyr were first team selections in 2006. Returning from the second team are juniors Mike Porter and Chris Wright and sophomore Zach Tierney while third team honorees who are back from last year include senior Joey Vitagliano, junior Jack Smithson and sophomore Stephen Brown.

RECRUITING CLASS RANKED NO. 31: CollegeSoccerNews.com pegged the 2007 Lobo recruiting class as the 31st best in the nation. It is the fourth year in a row New Mexico has had its recruiting class in the top-40 by CollegeSoccerNews.com. Senior Diego Barrera, sophomores Charles Conway and Ryan Lytle and freshmen Ryan Farquharson, Joel Theissen and James Urbany make up the 2007 incoming class.

TWO ALL-AMERICANS READY FOR 2007: A pair of NSCAA High School/Youth All-Americans are ready for action after redshirtting the 2006 campaign. Freshman Michael Reed, the 2005 New Mexico Player of the Year, had a medical redshirt in 2006 after injuring his knee. He is still rehabbing the injury and could be ready for the season weekend of the regular season. Freshman Gardner Morrow also sat out last season, but the former Vermont Player of the Year is looking for a productive 2007 slate. Other redshirts who are ready to play this season include freshmen Eric Staver, Justin Fite, Dominique Romero and Andrew Parsons.

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