Sept. 11, 2007
Up Next: The University of New Mexico men's soccer team will host one of the top tournaments of the season with the 2007 NIKE/Crescent Financial Solutions Invitational at the UNM Soccer Complex. The 28th-ranked Lobos (2-2-0) welcome No. 24 Washington, No. 9 UC-Santa Barbara and No. 3 SMU to Albuquerque this weekend. New Mexico faces the Huskies (1-1-1) on Friday, Sept. 14, at 7:00 p.m. (M.D.T.) with the Mustangs taking on the Gauchos earlier in the day at 5:00 p.m. The Lobos will then face UCSB, the defending national champs, on Sunday, Sept. 16, at 3:00 p.m. for Stuff the Stadium when all tickets are just $2. SMU and Washington kick things off on Sunday at Noon.
The 24th ranked Washington Huskies bring a 1-1-1 mark into the UNM Soccer Complex on Friday night. UW is led by preseason All-American forward Kevin Forrest. Forrest has three goals on the season, all in a hat-trick he netted in a 5-1 win over Cal State Bakersfield. Forrest, a senior from Edmond, Wash., was the 2006 Pac-10 Player of the Year, scoring 16 goals last season, and is on the 2007 MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List. The Huskies tied New Hampshire 0-0 in their season opener before dropping a 2-1 match to Gonzaga last weekend.
UC Santa Barbara is No. 9 in the nation and the defending NCAA Champions. The Gauchos are also 1-1-1 on the year, tying Stanford 2-2 and falling to Gonzaga 2-1 in the opening weekend. UCSB defeated Wisconsin-Milwaukee 2-0 last weekend. The Gauchos are led by 2007 Hermann Trophy Candidate and three-time All-American Andy Iro. Iro, a 6-5 senior defender from Liverpool, England, is one of the top players in the country. He has started every game for the UCSB backline. Junior midfielder Eric Avila is also on the 2007 MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List and has two assists on the season.
All of the action can be followed live on the Internet from www.GoLobos.com. GameTracker and live video will be available for each game this weekend. GameTracker is a free service while the live video is a part of the Lobos' All Access.
2007 NIKE/Crescent Financial Solutions Invite Schedule
Friday - Sept. 14
No. 3 SMU vs. No. 9 UC Santa Barbara - 5:00 p.m.
No. 24 Washington vs. No. 28 New Mexico - 7:00 p.m.
Sunday - Sept. 16 - STUFF THE STADIUM - $2 TICKETS
No. 3 SMU vs. No. 24 Washington - Noon
No. 9 UC Santa Barbara vs. No. 28 New Mexico - 3:00 p.m.
no. 24 Washington (1-1-1)
Location: Seattle, Wash.
Head Coach: Dean Wurzberger
Record at Washington: 188-84-29 (16)
Career Record: 196-92-34 (17)
Starters Returning/Lost: 9/2
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 14/3
2006 Record: 13-7-1 (NCAA 2nd)
2006 Conference Record: 4-5-1 (5th)
UNM vs. Washington: First Meeting
Top Goal Scorer: Kevin Forrest (3)
Top Assists: Matt Van Houten (2)
Top Goalie: Rylan Hawkins (0.90 g.a.a. - 1 Shutout)
Notes: Washington was ranked 18th in the preseason after posting a 13-7-1 mark in 2006. The Huskies advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament before falling in overtime to Santa Clara 3-2. Washington is opening the season with its first five games away from home. They tied New Hampshire 0-0 and defeated UC Bakersfield 5-1 at the NIKE Portland Invitational in Portland, Ore., in the opening weekend. UW dropped a 2-1 decision at Gonzaga on Friday, Sept. 7. As a team, the Huskies have scored six goals on three assists, while allowing three. 2007 Hermann Trophy candidate Kevin Forrest leads the team with three goals and an assist. Sophomore keeper Rylan Hawkins has played every minute in goal.
Web Site: www.GoHuskies.com
No. 9 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (0-1-0)
Location: Santa Barbara, Calif.
Conference: Big West
Head Coach: Tim Von Steeg (UCSB `89)
Record at UC Santa Barbara: 118-46-12 (9)
Career Record: same
Starters Returning/Lost: 6/5
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 21/5
2006 Record: 17-7-1 (NCAA Champs)
2006 Conference Record: 7-3-0 (1st)
UNM vs. UC Santa Barbara: 4-4-0
Last Time: UCSB won 6-3 (10/12/03) at Home
Top Goal Scorer: Four with one goal
Top Assists: Eric Avila (2)
Top Goalie: Bryant Rueckner (0.93 g.a.a - 1 Shutout)
Notes: The Gauchos came into the season No. 1 in the nation, having won the 2006 NCAA Tournament. UCSB returns six starters from last year's team, including a pair of Hermann Trophy candidates in senior defender Andy Iro and junior midfielder Eric Avila. UCSB opened the season with a 2-2 tied at Stanford and a 1-0 loss to Gonzaga at home. They got their first win of the season last weekend with a 2-0 victory over Wisconsin-Milwaukee at home. UCSB has netted four goals on three assists in 2007, while allowing three goals. Redshirt freshman Bryant Rueckner has played every minute in goal in his first year between the pipes. The last time the Gauchos visited Albuquerque, they won the Crescent Financial Solutions Invitational by defeating Columbia 4-1 and No. 1 Indiana 1-0 in overtime. The last time UCSB and UNM faced off, the Lobos were handed one of the worse losses in head coach Jeremy Fishbein's tenure. UC Santa Barbara scored a 6-3 win on Oct. 12, 2003, at home, the most goals ever allowed by a Fishbein led Lobo squad.
Web Site: www.UCSBGauchos.com
Recapping Last Weekend: The Lobos split their home opening weekend, falling to Loyola Marymount 1-0 on Friday before defeating Cincinnati 1-0 on Sunday. New Mexico's lone goal of the weekend came from senior Diego Barrera in the 30th minute against Cincinnati. Sophomore Stephen Brown and senior Mike Graczyk assisted on the play.
Top Teams, top Players in Albuquerque: All four teams in this weekend's NIKE Crescent Financial Solutions Invitational are ranked in the top-30. New Mexico is No. 28 inthe CollegeSoccerNews.com top-30, followed by No. 24 Washington, No. 9 UC Santa Barbara and No. 3 SMU. There are also four Hermann Trophy Candidates and five preseason All-Americans set to take the field at the UNM Soccer Complex this weekend. Lobo keeper Mike Graczyk, an Albuquerque native, is a preseason All-American. Gauchos Andy Iro and Eric Avila along with Kevin Forrest of Washington and Bruno Guard of SMU are all on the Hermann Trophy Watch list and preseason All-Americans. Iro is a three-time All-American while Forrest is the reigning Pac-10 Player of the Year.
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 51-9-8 (.809) since the start of 2004. Only Maryland (54-16-6) and UC Santa Barbara (52-16-6) 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 - 51-9-8 - .809
Indiana - 50-11-11 - .771
SMU - 49-12-9 - .764
Maryland - 54-16-6 - .750
Akron - 46-13-8 - .746
UCSB - 52-16-6 - .743
Scouting No. 3 SMU: The SMU Mustangs (2-0-1) will be making their second trip to Albuquerque in as many years. Last season, they came to UNM with a No. 1 national ranking and tied the Lobos 1-1 on Sept. 15. This season they will put their No. 3 ranking up against No. 9 UCSB and No. 24 Washington. SMU already destroyed No. 3 Virginia 5-1 this season. They have also defeated Georgetown 1-0 and tied No. 22 Saint Louis 1-1. Junior Midfielder Bruno Guarda is a Hermann Trophy candidate and the current Conference USA Player of the Week. He has two goals and two assists on the season. SMU has scored seven goals on the year while allowing only two. Senior keeper Steve Sandbo has played every minute in goal for SMU this season.
Three Lobos Questionable for This weekend: Three Lobo starters could miss one or both of UNM's games this weekend for a variety of reasons. Sophomore defender Simon Ejdemyr and sophomore forward P.J. Wilson both sat out Sunday's game against Cincinnati with injuries. Ejdemyr suffered a concussion against Loyola Marymount while Wilson injured his hip against the Lions. Sophomore defender Zach Tierney will be attending to a death in his family on Friday and will miss the Washington game. He should be back for Sunday's match against UC Santa Barbara.
Graczyk ties all-time shutout mark at unm: Senior keeper Mike Graczyk tied the Lobos' all-time shutout mark with a 1-0 win over Cincinnati on Sept. 9, the 25th of his career. He is now even with 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 in every minute of every game in 2006.
Lobos vs. Defending Champs: UC Santa Barbara is the defending NCAA Champions, but not the first ones to run a title defense through the UNM Soccer Complex. No. 1 Indiana came to Albuquerque in 2004 after winning the title in 2003 and dropped a 1-0 double-overtime match to the Lobos on Sept. 19. New Mexico has also played UCLA on two different occasions after the Bruins had won the title. New Mexico dropped a 4-1 contest on Nov. 1, 1986, and a 1-0 match on Oct. 9, 2003, to the defending champion Bruins. Both of those matches were played at UCLA's home field.
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.
2007 MPSF Preseason Coaches Poll
1. New Mexico
3. San Jose State
4. Sacramento State
6. Air Force
In The Rankings: The Lobos are currently No. 28 in the CollegeSoccerNews.com Top 30 but have dropped out of all the other polls this week. New Mexico has now been ranked for 42 consecutive weeks, dating back to the start of 2004.
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.