April 9, 2008
The University of New Mexico men's soccer team released its 2008 fall schedule today. The Lobos will play a 19-game slate, plus a preseason exhibition match against perennial top-10 power Notre Dame. New Mexico has 10 games in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation and nine non-conference opponents on its upcoming schedule.
The Lobos will host 10 matches at the UNM Soccer Complex this fall, with all five of their non-conference home opponents coming off winning seasons in 2007. New Mexico's schedule also includes five matches against teams that went to the NCAA Tournament last season.
"We are very excited about our schedule again this season," stated UNM head coach Jeremy Fishbein. "We have some very talented teams coming to Albuquerque and some challenging road matches that will help our RPI. I also expect our league to be as good as it has been since I have been here, so we have some tough competition ahead of us."
UNM opens the season on August 20 with a home exhibition match against No. 6 Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish went 14-5-5 in 2007 and advanced to the NCAA Final Eight. Notre Dame lost at eventual champion Wake Forest in overtime in the quarterfinals last season. The Irish and Lobos also met in an exhibition match last year in Fort Wayne, Ind.
The regular season begins on the road for the Lobos at the Loyola Marymount Tournament with a match against San Diego on Aug. 29. The Toreros are coming off an 11-8-1 season that included a second place finish in the West Coast Conference at 8-3-1. UNM will also take on the host LMU Lions on Aug. 31. New Mexico will be looking for payback after a 1-0 defeat suffered at home against Loyola Marymount last season.
The Lobos' home opener is set for September 5 against Michigan State in the TLC Plumbing & Utility Invitational. The Spartans were 11-6-4 last season, including an appearance in the NCAA Tournament. UNM will also face Louisville in the opening home weekend. The Lobos take on the Cardinals, ranked No. 25 in last year's final Soccer Times poll, on Sept. 7. Louisville is coming off an 11-7-4 campaign and a trip to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. No. 25 UC Davis will be the fourth team in the TLC Plumbing & Utility Invitational and will take on Louisville and Michigan State.
New Mexico continues home action the following weekend, welcoming No. 16 Akron to the NIKE Invitational on Sept. 12. The Zips posted a 15-3-2 mark last season, including a 3-1 win over New Mexico in the Westfield Cup in Akron, Ohio. Akron also advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2007. UNM next faces Cal Poly on Sept. 14. The Mustangs went 11-4-4 last season, finishing third in the Big West at 6-2-4. Missouri State is the neutral team in the NIKE Invitational and will face Akron and Cal Poly.
The Lobos head to the Husky Invitational on Sept. 19-21 to face Portland. The Pilots were 10-6-5 in 2007 and made an appearance in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. New Mexico will also face a Husky squad that defeated the Lobos 1-0 last season at the UNM Soccer Complex on their way to a 9-8-4 record and an NCAA Tournament second round showing.
UNM begins MPSF action on October 3 at Denver. The Lobos needed a 0-0 draw on the final game of the season at Denver to clinch the MPSF title last year. After a 10-4-4 mark last year, the Pioneers will be the toughest competition UNM will face while trying to win their fifth straight league title. The Lobos visit Air Force, host San Jose State and Sacramento State and travel to UNLV in the first half of league play.
New Mexico welcomes PAC-10 foe Stanford on Oct. 24, splitting the two halves of their MPSF season. The Cardinal posted a 7-6-5 mark last season, and is expected to be one of the top teams in the West Region in 2007.
The Lobos will host UNLV, Air Force and Denver and travel to Sacramento State and San Jose State in the second half of league play. The home final is set for November 16 against the Pioneers.
The Lobos are coming off their fourth consecutive MPSF title and a 12-5-2 mark last season. New Mexico also advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in the last seven years in 2007. New Mexico averaged 2,080 fans per game at the UNM Soccer Complex last season, ranking ninth in the NCAA in average attendance.