Oct. 3, 2007
Up Next: The University of New Mexico men's soccer team held steady at No. 22 in this week's Soccer America Top-25 poll. The Lobos are coming off a bye week and are riding a three-game winning streak. UNM kicks off its Mountain Pacific Sports Federation schedule on Friday, Oct. 5, against Denver (4-3-0) at 7:00 p.m. (M.D.T.) at the UNM Soccer Complex.
The MPSF had a solid non-conference season with four teams posting winning records. New Mexico has the best non-conference record among the six MPSF teams at 5-3-0. Denver has an impressive 4-3-0 mark that includes a 4-1 win at No. 20 Washington. That is the same Husky squad that came to the UNM Soccer Complex and defeated the Lobos 1-0 on Sept. 14. UNLV has won two straight and is 4-3-2, which is very impressive considering the Rebels are coming off a 1-15-2 campaign in 2006. San Jose State has also won back-to-back matches and are 5-4-0 on the season. Air Force is 2-5-1 while Sacramento State is 1-7-1.
Despite having won each of the last three MPSF titles, New Mexico has needed to win its last match of the year to clinch the trophy in each of the last two seasons. Last year, Denver was in the driver's seat heading into the last weekend, but dropped matches at UNLV and New Mexico. The Lobos won the season finale against the Pioneers 3-0 at home. Chris Wright scored a pair of goals in that match for UNM. Denver has never beaten UNM at the UNM Soccer Complex and has not won a match in Albuquerque since the 1990 season. The Lobos are 7-2 against DU under head coach Jeremy Fishbein, dropping both matches on the road. Junior Joey Mathot and sophomore Kellen Christensen lead the Pioneer attack with 10 points each, tied for third in the MPSF. They each have four goals and two assists. Senior keeper Matt Bredehoft has a 0.89 goals-against-average, second in the MPSF.
Air Force is looking for its first win in Albuquerque since the 2001 season on Sunday, Oct. 7, at 1:00 p.m. (M.D.T.). The Lobos are 7-1-1 against the Falcons in Fishbein's tenure. The last time New Mexico dropped a match to the Academy was in the 2003 season. UNM has outscored Air Force 14-2 in the last seven matches. Freshman Kyle Schaefer leads AFA with 2 goals and an assist. Senior keeper Brian Guyette has a solid 0.93 g.a.a., playing every minute in goal this season.
Both teams enter the season with new coaches. Bobby Muss took over at Denver while Doug Hill is the new head coach at Air Force. Muss spent the previous six seasons at the top assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Wake Forest University. Hill was a long-time assistant under former Falcon head coach Lou Sagastume, who retired earlier this year after 28 seasons. Hill was the associated head coach for the past four years and an assistant at Air Force for 13 seasons overall.
Denver Pioneers (4-3-0, 0-0-0 MPSF)
Location: Denver , Colo.
Conference: Mountain Pacific Sports Federation
Head Coach: Bobby Muss (UCONN `99)
Record at Denver: 4-3-0 (1)
Career Record: same
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 20/8
2006 Record: 11-5-2
2006 Conference Record: 7-2-1 (2nd)
UNM vs. Denver: 11-10-1
Last Time: No. 11 UNM won against No. 21 Denver 3-0 (11/5/06) at Home
Top Goal Scorer: Kellen Christensen, Joey Mathot (4)
Top Assists: Collin Audley (4)
Top Goalie: Matt Bredehoft (0.89 g.a.a., 2 SHO)
Notes: The Pioneers were picked to finish second in the MPSF preseason coaches poll, and have shown that they are a serious contender by their play in the non-conference season. DU blasted No. 20 Washington in Seattle 4-1 on Sept. 21. The same Husky squad that defeated UNM 1-0 in Albuquerque earlier in the season. Denver also put up seven goals in a shutout win over Birmingham Southern on Sept. 9. The Pioneers have only been shutout once this season, falling to Saint Francis on Sept. 7.
Web Site: www.DenverPioneers.com
Air Force Falcons (2-5-1, 0-0-0 MPSF)
Location: USAF Academy, Colo.
Conference: Mountain Pacific Sports Federation
Head Coach: Doug Hill (USAFA `83)
Record at Air Force: 2-5-1 (1)
Career Record: same
2006 Record: 5-12-1
2006 Conference Record: 4-6-0 (T4th)
UNM vs. Air Force: 11-16-1
Last Time: No. 11 UNM won 1-0 (11/3/06) at Home
Top Goal Scorer: Ian Hauck, Kyle Schaeffer (2)
Top Assists: Chris Mathews (2)
Top Goalie: Brian Guyette (0.93 g.a.a, 2 SHO)
Notes: Despite have won three straight matches against the Falcons and not losing a match to Air Force since the 2003 season, UNM still trails the all-time series 11-16-1. The Lobos have played 28 matches against the Academy, more than any other team UNM has faced in school history.
Web Site: www.GoAirForceFalcons.com
Recapping Last Weekend: UNM took last weekend off to prepare for the MPSF opener against Denver on Friday, Oct. 5, at 7:00 p.m. at the UNM Soccer Complex. The Lobos swept a weekend series for the first time when they went on the road to defeat Cal State Northridge and No. 12 San Francisco in their final non-conference matches of the season. UNM smacked the Matadors 4-0 in Northridge, Calif. on Sept. 20,. New Mexico then traveled to San Francisco where they defeated the Dons 2-0 on Sept. 22. Junior Chris Wright had a strong weekend with two goals and an assist. Senior Mike Graczyk broke the Lobos all-time shutout record, blanking both opponents in goal. Graczyk, a preseason All-American, now has 27 career shutouts.
Lobos tough at Home in MPSF Play Under Fishbein: The Lobo men's soccer team has posted a 20-2 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).
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.
In The Rankings: The Lobos stayed at No. 22 in the Soccer America Top-25 and No. 27 in the CollegeSoccerNews.com Top 30 after a bye week. UNM moved up to a tie for No. 24 in the NSCAA top-25 and a tie for No. 25 in the Soccer America top-25, even though they did not play ast weekend. New Mexico has now been ranked for 44 consecutive weeks, dating back to the start of 2004.
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.
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 70-2-6 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 52-10-8 (.800) since the start of 2004. Only Maryland (54-17-6) and UC Santa Barbara (53-17-6) 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 - 54-10-8 - .806
Akron - 50-13-9 - .757
Maryland - 55-17-6 - .744
Indiana - 52-14-11 - .747
Virginia - 53-15-7 - .740
Wake Forest - 52-16-8 - .737
UCSB - 56-18-7 - .735
SMU - 51-16-10 - .727
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 in every minute of every game in 2006. He is currently in third place on the career wins list with 37, one shy of Nate Busek (1990-93) for second. Weber holds the Lobo record with 50 career wins in goal.
Wright Among the Top scorers in the MPSF: Junior Chris Wright has four goals and an assist on the season, tying for fourth in the MPSF in scoring with nine points. He also is tied for the league in goals scored. Wright currently has 12 career goals and four career assists at UNM.
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.
1. New Mexico - 14-4-3 (8-1-2, 1st) 2. Denver - 11-5-2 (7-2-1, 2nd) 3. San Jose State - 7-10-1 (4-6-0, T4th) 4 . Sacramento State - 7-10-2 (4-4-2, 3rd) 5 . UNLV - 1-15-2 (1-9-0, 6th) 6 . Air Force - 5-12-1 (4-6-0, T3rd)
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.