Nov. 22, 2007
Up Next: The University of New Mexico men's soccer team opens NCAA Tournament play Saturday, Nov. 24, at UCLA. Game time is 8:00 p.m. (M.S.T.). The winner plays at Santa Clara on Wednesday, Nov. 28. Boston College is the overall No. 1 seed in the 48-team field.
This is the 10th meeting between the Lobos and the Bruins. UCLA has a commanding 8-1 lead in the series, including a 2-0 shutout Sept. 8, 2006, in Albuquerque. New Mexico's only victory was 1-0 at home in 1992 when UCLA was ranked No. 2 in the nation.
The Lobos are 12-4-2 overall, including a 7-1-2 mark in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. New Mexico clinched its sixth MPSF regular-season title in the past seven years Sunday with a 0-0 tie against Denver, earning the automatic bid to the championship.
UCLA is 8-8-3 overall and finished 4-4-2 in the Pac-10. The Bruins lost to UC Santa Barbara in last year's national final.
The first four rounds will be held at campus sites. The semifinals and championship will be held Dec. 14 and 16 in Cary, N.C.
The Lobos are making their fourth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and sixth in the past seven seasons. UNM has a 7-4-2 record in NCAA championship play.
Last year, New Mexico beat the University of San Francisco 1-0 before falling to Cal 3-1 in the second round.
Buoyed by a No. 2 overall seed in 2005, the Lobos got past Wisconsin-Milwaukee on penalty kicks and beat Cal State Northridge and Cal at home to advance to its first College Cup. UNM knocked off Clemson in the semifinals before losing to Maryland in the title game.
In 2001, New Mexico won the MPSF Tournament to earn its first NCAA bid. In long-time head coach Klaus Weber's final year, UNM defeated Florida International 1-0 in the opening round before falling to No. 1 SMU 2-0 in the second round.
In 2002, current head coach Jeremy Fishbein's first season, the Lobos won the MPSF regular season and tournament titles before defeating Bradley 2-1 in the first round. UNM fell to No. 18 Saint Louis 1-0 in the second round.
In 2004, the Lobos earned a first-round bye before defeating Portland. They went on to tie No. 4 Virginia on the road, but the Cavaliers advanced on penalty kicks 6-5.
GameTracker will be available on GoLobos.com. There will also be a freee audio broadcast of the match provided by UCLABruins.com.
UCLA BRUINS (8-8-3, 4-4-2 PAC-10)
Location: Los Angeles, Calif.
Head Coach: Jorge Salcedo (UCLA `02)
Record at UCLA: 48-23-13 (4)
Career Record: same
2006 Record: 14-6-4 (NCAA Finalist)
2006 Conference Record: 4-3-3 (4th)
UNM vs. UCLA: 1-8-0
Last Time: No. 10 UCLA won 2-0 (9/8/06) in Albuquerque, N.M.
Last UNM Win: UNM defeated No. 1 UCLA (10/0/92) at Home
Top Goal Scorer: Maxwell Griffin (9)
Top Assists: Kyle Nakazawa (7)
Top Goalie: Brian Perk (1.12 g.a.a)
Notes: The Lobos head to UCLA for the first time since the 2003 season when they dropped a 1-0 match to the No. 1 ranked Bruins. UNM hosted the Bruins last season, dropping that match 2-0 on Sept. 8. Maxwell Griffin scored both goals for the Bruins in that match. UCLA and UNm have faced several common opponents during the year, including San Francisco, Cal State Northridge and Washington. New Mexico also played Notre Dame and Indiana in exhibition matches, two teams the Bruins faced in the regular season.
Web Site: www.UCLABruins.com
RECAPPING LAST WEEKEND: New Mexico clinched its fourth consecutive MPSF title with a 2-0 win at Air Force and a 0-0 tie at Denver. Despite winning four straight conference titles, New Mexico has needed a win on the last day of play in each of the last three seasons. Had Denver won Sunday's match, the Pioneers would hae secured the leagues automatic bid.
LOBOS UNDEFEATED IN THE FIRST ROUND: The University of New Mexico men's soccer has never lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, posting a 3-0 record. UNM had first-round byes in 2004 and 2005. The Lobos defeated Florida International 1-0 in 2001, Bradley 2-1 in 2002, and San Francisco 1-0 last season.
ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICAN STREAK CONTINUES: Junior Chris Wright and sophomore Simon Ejdemyr both earned ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American honors this season. Wright earned a spot on the first team while Ejdemyr was named to the third team. The Lobos have now had at least one representative on the squad each year since 2003. Only Maryland has had at least one student-athlete honored each year during that same stretch.
WRIGHT 13TH IN THE NATION IN GOALS...WINS MPSF SCORING TITLE: Lobo junior Chris Wright has secured the MPSF scoring title with 28 points on 12 goals and four assists. He is 18th in the NCAA in points per game and 13th in the nation in goals.
BARRERA LEADS MPSF IN ASSISTS: Lobo senior Diego Barrera has recorded eight assists on the season to lead the MPSF in that category.
LOBO OFFENSE RANKED 14TH IN THE NATION: New Mexico is averaging 2.11 goals per game, ranking first in the MPSF and 14th in NCAA Division I. The Lobos have scored 10 goals in their last four games.
LOBOS TOUGH AT HOME UNDER FISHBEIN: The Lobo men's soccer team has posted a 24-2-1 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. 24 in the Soccer America and NSCAA Final Top-25. CollegeSoccerNews.com and SoccerTimes did not post their polls this week. New Mexico has now been ranked for 50 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 75-3-7 when finding the back of the net first and 47-1-2 when holding a halftime lead. The last time UNM surrendered a lead and lost the match was at UNLV on Nov. 3, 2007, in a 2-1 OT loss to the Rebels. 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 61-10-11 (.811) since the start of 2004. Only UC Santa Barbara (64-19-9), Maryland (64-18-9) and Wake Forest (62-18-10) 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 - 61-10-11 - .811
Akron - 59-14-10 - .771
Indiana - 60-15-14 - .753
Maryland - 62-18-9 - .747
UCSB - 64-19-9 - .745
Wake Forest - 62-18-10 - .744
SMU - 60-18-10 - .737
Virginia - 57-20-7 - .720
FIVE LOBOS NAMED ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT: Seniors Mike Graczyk and Joey Vitagliano, juniors Mike Porter and Chris Wright and sophomore Simon Ejdemyr were named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VI team. In order to qualify, a student-athlete must have at least a 3.2 cumulative grade-point-average and be a significant contributor on the team. Each of these five players are now eligible for Academic All-American. Wright was a second team Academic All-American selection last season.
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 that 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 NAME 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 30 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 46. 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.
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.
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.