Oct. 10, 2007
Up Next: The 22nd ranked University of New Mexico men's soccer team travels to California this weekend for its first two Mountain Pacific Sports Federation road matches of the season. The Lobos will take on San Jose State (6-4-0, 1-0-0 MPSF) on Friday, Oct. 12, at 2:00 p.m. (M.D.T.) at Spartan Field in San Jose, Calif. New Mexico will then travel to Sacramento State for a 2:00 p.m. (M.D.T.) match against the Hornets (1-8-1, 0-1-0 MPSF).
New Mexico is currently tied for first place in the MPSF race with Denver (5-3-1, 1-0-1 MPSF) after tying the Pioneers last weekend. UNM and DU have four points while San Jose State and UNLV are in second place with three points each. Sacramento State and Air Force are both scoreless in conference play and tied for fifth. Since the MPSF does not have a postseason tournament, the winner of the regular season race gets the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The Lobos currently hold a 10-6-0 all time advantage over San Jose State after sweeping both games last year. UNM has won the last four matches in San Jose and have taken three-straight overall. New Mexico posted a 3-1 win in Spartan Stadium last season with Joey Vitagliano and Jack Smithson netting goals in the win. UNM was also the beneficiary of an own-goal in last year's match at San Jose State.
San Jose State leads the league with 21 goals as a team. Four players have four goals each including seniors Ismael Ibarra and Julio Gonzales and sophomores Colby Moore and Nick Cukar. Freshman Ricky Dorrego leads the team and is tied for third in the MPSF with three assists. Junior defender Ed Brand, a 2006 1st Team All-MPSF honoree, also returns and has started eight games. The Spartans are currently the hottest team in the MPSF, winning each of their last three matches.
Sacramento State has had a rough start to the 2007 season with just one win in its first 10 games. The Hornets lost their MPSF opener to San Jose State last weekend. The Lobos have not lost a match to Sacramento State since the 2001 season, but the Hornets have been tough for the Lobos to beat at home. These two teams have tied 1-1 in each of the last two meetings in Sacramento, Calif. The Lobos were ranked in the top-10 in each of those matches.
The Hornets are led by freshman Ernesto Carranza who has eight points on three goals and two assists. Junior defender Adam Owens, a 2006 1st Team All-MPSF selection, also returns to the back line and has scored one goal on the season. Sophomore Ryan Kenny has started eight games in goal and has a 2.20 g.a.a.
Live stats will be available for Sunday's match against Sacramento State only.
San Jose State Spartans (6-4-0, 1-0-0 MPSF)
Location: San Jose, Calif.
Conference: Mountain Pacific Sports Federation
Head Coach: Gary St. Clair (SJSU `76)
Record at San Jose State: 167-152-25 (17)
Career Record: same
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 13/3
2006 Record: 7-10-1
2006 Conference Record: 4-6-0 (T4th)
UNM vs. San Jose State: 10-6-0
Last Time: No. 9 UNM won 3-1 (10/29/06) at San Jose State
Top Goal Scorer: Ibarra, Moore, Gonzales, Cukar (4)
Top Assists: Ricky Dorrego (3)
Top Goalie: Lewis Sweeney (0.99 g.a.a., 2 SHO in four games)
Notes: The Lobos hold an 8-2 record against the Spartans under head coach Jeremy Fishbein. The Lobos have not lost in San Jose since the 1997 season and outscored SJSU 5-1 in two games last season.
Web Site: www.SJSUSpartans.com
Sacramento State hornets (1-8-1, 0-1-0 MPSF)
Location: Sacramento, Calif.
Conference: Mountain Pacific Sports Federation
Head Coach: Michael Linenberger (Duke `87)
Record at Sacramento State: 114-196-30 (19)
Career Record: same
2006 Record: 7-10-2
2006 Conference Record: 4-4-2 (3rd)
UNM vs. Sacramento State: 8-2-2
Last Time: No. 9 UNM tied Sac. St. 1-1 (10/29/06) at Sacramento, Calif.
Top Goal Scorer: Ernesto Carranza (3)
Top Assists: Three with 2
Top Goalie: Ryan Kenny (2.39 g.a.a)
Notes: Despite having a nine-match unbeaten streak against Sacramento State, UNM has not won on the road in the last two games of the series. New Mexico and Sac. St. have tied 1-1 in the last two matches played on the Hornet's home field. The Lobos are 6-2-0 against Sac. St. under head coach Jeremy Fishbein. The Lobos have posted shutouts in five of the last seven contests with the Hornets, outscoring them 11-2 in that stretch.
Web Site: www.HornetSports.com
Recapping Last Weekend: The Lobos posted a 1-1 tie against Denver in their first MPSF action of the season last weekend. Junior Chris Wright scored UNM's only goal in the match. The Lobos also downed Air Force 6-0 on Sunday. Wright and sophomore Justin Davis added two goals each while junior Jack Smithson and sophomore Simon Ejdemyr put in one goal a piece. Wright was named the Brine MPSF Player of the Week after scoring three goals in the two games. The Lobos 6-0 win against Air Force was their largest margin of victory since down Bradley 6-0 on Sept. 9, 1994. Lobo keeper Mike Graczyk was pulled from the Air Force game for the first time since coming out of a 7-2 win against UNLV on Oct. 22, 2005.
Lobo Offense Heating Up: 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 five matches. New Mexico has put up 15 goals in their last five games and are unbeaten in that stretch at 4-0-1. Junior forward Chris Wright has at least one goal in each of the last five games for New Mexico.
Wright Leads MPSF in Scoring and Goals: Lobo junior Chris Wright currently leads the MPSF in scoring with 15 points on seven goals and an assist. He is currently 27 in the NCAA in scoring. His seven goals also lead the MPSF and he is 14th in the nation in goals scored.
Lobos tough at Home in MPSF Play Under Fishbein: The Lobo men's soccer team has posted a 21-2-1 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).
UNLV Game Moves to University Stadium Following U.S. National Team: The Lobos next home game against UNLV on Oct. 20 will be played in University Stadium following the U.S. Women's National Team match against Mexico. The national team game starts at 4:30 (M.D.T.) and all tickets to the national team game include admission to the Lobo match vs. UNLV at 7:00 p.m. Ticket information for the U.S. Women's Soccer game can be found on www.UNMTcikets.com.
In The Rankings: The Lobos stayed at No. 22 in the Soccer America Top-25 and are No. 24 in the CollegeSoccerNews.com Top 30, NSCAA Top-25 and Soccer Times Top-25. New Mexico has now been ranked for 45 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 70-2-7 when finding the back of the net first and 43-1-2 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 55-10-9 (.804) since the start of 2004. Only Maryland (56-17-7) and UC Santa Barbara (58-18-7) 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 - 55-10-9 - .804
Akron - 52-13-9 - .764
Virginia - 54-15-7 - .757
Indiana - 54-14-11 - .753
Maryland - 56-17-7 - .744
UCSB - 58-18-7 - .741
SMU - 53-16-10 - .734
Wake Forest - 52-16-10 - .731
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 27.
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 40. 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.
2007 MPSF Preseason Coaches Poll
1 - New Mexico*
2 - Denver
3 - San Jose State
4 - Sacramento State
5 - UNLV
6 - Air Force
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.