Nov. 7, 2007
Up Next: The 22nd ranked University of New Mexico men's soccer team returns to Albuquerque for the final two home matches of the 2007 regular season this weekend. The Lobos are set to take on Sacramento State on Friday, Nov. 9, at 7:00 p.m. (M.S.T.). UNM will then host San Jose State on Senior Day on Sunday, Nov. 11, at 1:00 p.m. Live video and GameTracker will be available for both games on GoLobos.com.
New Mexico had a chance to clinch the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title at home this weekend, but a loss at UNLV on Saturday means that the conference race will go down to the final weekend for the third year in a row. Denver (8-4-3, 4-1-2 MPSF) currently leads the league with 14 points on the year, but only has three games left to play. As a result, the Lobos (9-4-1, 4-1-1 MPSF) still control their own fate with 13 points and four games left to play. UNM has to win out to be assured of its fourth straight MPSF title and the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
New Mexico has never lost to Sacramento State (4-10-2, 3-3-1 MPSF) at home, winning all four meetings at the UNM Soccer Complex. The Lobos defeated the Hornets 1-0 in Sacramento, Calif., on Oct. 14. Despite owning a 10-match unbeaten steak in the series, the Lobos have only managed to score one goal in each of the last six meetings with the Hornets. Sac State has forced a tie with UNM in two of the last four matches.
San Jose State (8-8-0, 3-4-0 MPSF) is one of just two teams in the MPSF to have defeated UNM at home under head coach Jeremy Fishbein. Their win came in the 2005 season, but New Mexico has won four straight since that match. UNM defeated the Spartans 4-1 on Oct. 12 and has outscored SJSU 12-3 in the last four meetings.
New Mexico's five seniors will be honored prior to the San Jose State match. The Lobos playing in their final home game include Diego Barrera, Blake Danaher, Mike Graczyk, David Gualdarama and Joey Vitagliano. This senior class will graduate with at least 58 wins, and has a chance to pass the school record of 61 wins (2002-05) for the most by any class at UNM. They also have a chance to be the first class to win four MPSF titles and make four trips to the NCAA Tournament.
Sacramento State Hornets (3-11-2, 2-4-1 MPSF)
Location: Sacramento, Calif.
Conference: Mountain Pacific Sports Federation
Head Coach: Michael Linenberger (Duke `87)
Record at Sacramento State: 116-199-31
Career Record: same
2006 Record: 7-10-2
2006 Conference Record: 4-4-2 (3rd)
UNM vs. Sacramento State: 9-2-2
Last Time: UNM won 1-0 (10-14-07) at Sacramento, Calif.
Top Goal Scorer: Blake Nunes (4)
Top Assists: Fernando Cabadas (4)
Top Goalie: Ryan Kenny (1.91 g.a.a)
Notes: Despite the fact that UNM is unbeaten in the last 10 matches in the series and the Lobos have not lost to the Hornets since 2001, the last six matches between these two teams have been very close. New Mexico has only netted a goal in each of the last six games, tying two of those contests 1-1, against Sacramento State. Three of the last four games have gone into overtime.
Web Site: www.HornetSports.com
San Jose state Spartans (8-8-0, 3-4-0 MPSF)
Location: San Jose, Calif.
Conference: Mountain Pacific Sports Federation
Head Coach: Gary St. Clair (SJSU `76)
Record at San Jose State: 169-156-25 (17)
Career Record: same
2006 Record: 7-10-1
2006 Conference Record: 4-6-0 (T4th)
UNM vs. San Jose State: 11-6-0
Last Time: UNM won 4-1 (10-12-07) at San Jose, Calif.
Top Goal Scorer: Ismael Ibarra (8)
Top Assists: Ricky Dorrego (5)
Top Goalie: Richard Mann (1.59 g.a.a)
Notes: New Mexico has won four straight against the Spartans, putting up 12 goals while allowing three in that stretch. The Spartans are one of just two MPSF teams to get a win at the UNM Soccer Complex since head coach Jeremy Fishbein took over in 2002. The scored a 3-2 OT win against the Lobos in 2005. That match was one of just two overtime defeats the Lobos have had since 2002 in any game.
Web Site: www.SJSUSpartans.com
Recapping Last Weekend: New Mexico stumbled in a 2-1 loss in double-overtime at UNLV last weekend. The Lobos had defeated the Rebels in each of the seven previous meetings in the series, but dropped a close in Las Vegas. Sophomore Simon Ejdemyr scored in the second minute, but UNM had its eight match unbeaten streak snapped.
MPSF RACE GOING DOWN TO THE FINAL MATCH AGAIN: With two weekends left in the MPSF schedule it looks like it will go down to the final match for the third year in a row. No team in the league has been mathematically eliminated yet, and Denver leads with 14 points. New Mexico controls their own fate with 13 points and four matches remaining. Last year, Denver and New Mexico fought for the title in the final match of the season. In 2005, the Lobos, San Jose State and Air Force all had a chance to win the crown on the final day.
Wright Tied For Lead MPSF in Scoring and Goals: Lobo junior Chris Wright is currently tied for the MPSF lead in scoring with 19 points on eight goals and three assists. San Jose State Ismael Ibarra also has 19 points on the year. Wright's eight goals are also tied for the MPSF lead with Ibarra, UNLV's Lamar Neagle and Denver's Kyle Christensen.
Lobos tough at Home in MPSF Play Under Fishbein: The Lobo men's soccer team has posted a 22-2-1 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. 22 in the CollegeSoccerNews.com Top-30 and No. 24 in the Soccer Times Top-25. New Mexico is unranked in the NSCAA and Soccer America Top-25 polls. New Mexico has now been ranked for 49 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 73-3-7 when finding the back of the net first and 46-1-2 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 58-10-10 (.808) since the start of 2004. Only UC Santa Barbara (62-19-7), Maryland (61-17-9) and Indiana (59-15-13) 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 - 58-10-10 - .808
Akron - 57-14-10 - .765
Maryland - 61-17-9 - .753
Indiana - 59-15-13 - .753
UCSB - 62-19-8 - .742
SMU - 58-17-10 - .741
Wake Forest - 58-17-10 - .741
Virginia - 57-19-7 - .729
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 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 43. 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.
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.