Nov. 15, 2007
UP NEXT: The 21st ranked University of New Mexico men's soccer team heads to Colorado this weekend for the final two matches of the 2007 regular season. The Lobos will take on Air Force (4-11-1, 2-6-0 MPSF) on Friday, Nov. 16, at 7:00 p.m. (M.S.T.) in Colorado Springs and DU (9-4-3, 5-1-2 MPSF) on Sunday, Nov. 18, at 1:00 p.m. in Denver.
It is a two-horse race for this year's Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title with New Mexico holding a slight edge over Denver going into the final weekend. The Lobos have 19 points in conference play while Denver has 17. Teams are awarded three points for a win and one point for a tie in MPSF action.
There are many scenarios that can lead to the MPSF championship, but both teams still control their own destiny. If Denver wins both of its games this weekend, UNLV on Friday and New Mexico on Sunday, it will clinch the MPSF title. If New Mexico beats Denver on Sunday, the Lobos will win their fourth consecutive league crown.
New Mexico will have to avoid overlooking the Falcons on Friday night, a team they beat 6-0 earlier in the season. If UNM wins at the Academy and Denver ties or falls at home to UNLV, then the Lobos will clinch the trophy with one game remaining.
These same two teams battled for the MPSF championship in the final weekend last season. New Mexico wrapped up the title with a 3-0 win against Denver at home in the final game of the regular season. Chris Wright had two goals in that match to lead UNM.
The Lobos have only won once in their last three trips to Denver. Last season, they dropped a 1-0 contest to the Pioneers in the first match of MPSF play. Pioneer field is the only visiting site UNM head coach Jeremy Fishbein has lost twice in his tenure at New Mexico. The Lobos are 16-5-4 in MPSF road matches under Fishbein.
AIR FORCE FALCONS (4-11-1, 2-6-0 MPSF)
Location: Colorado Springs, Colo.
Conference: Mountain Pacific Sports Federation
Head Coach: Doug Hill (Air Force `83)
Record at Air Force: 4-11-1 (1)
Career Record: same
2006 Record: 5-12-1
2006 Conference Record: 4-6-0 (T4th)
UNM vs. Air Force: 12-16-1
Last Time: UNM won 6-0 (10/7/07) at Home
Top Goal Scorer: Ian Hauck (3)
Top Assists: Chris Mathews (3)
Top Goalie: Brian Guyette (1.42 g.a.a)
Notes: The Lobos will be taking on their oldest foe when they visit the Falcons on Friday. New Mexico has won four straight in the series and has not lost at Colorado Springs since the 2003 season. Air Force has been shutout in each of their last two matches. The Falcons still hold a sizable advantage in the series race, winning 16 of 29 matches with one tie.
Web Site: www.GoAirForceFalcons.com
DENVER PIONEERS (9-4-3, 5-1-2 MPSF)
Location: Denver, Colo.
Conference: Mountain Pacific Sports Federation
Head Coach: Bobby Muuss (UCONN `99)
Record at Denver: 9-4-3 (1)
Career Record: same
2006 Record: 11-5-2
2006 Conference Record: 7-2-1 (2nd)
UNM vs. Denver: 11-10-2
Last Time: Tied 1-1 (10-5-07) at Home
Top Goal Scorer: Kyle Christensen (9)
Top Assists: Colin Audley (6)
Top Goalie: Matt Bredehoft (0.94 g.a.a)
Notes: The top two teams in the MPSF meet again in the final game of the season for the second year in a row. Last year, New Mexico won 3-0 to clinch in the MPSF trophy in Albuquerque. This year the showdown moves to Denver. Kyle Christensen is tied for second in the league with nine goals. Colin Audley in second in the MPSF with six assists, while netminder Matt Bredehoft is second in g.a.a. at 0.94.
Web Site: www.DenverPioneers.com
RECAPPING LAST WEEKEND: New Mexico dominated in two wins over the weekend, shutting out Sacramento State 3-0 and thumping San Jose State 5-1. The Lobos held the Hornets to just one shot in the game on Friday. New Mexico scored five unanswered goals on Sunday against the Spartans, including four in the second half.
MPSF TIE BREAKERS: Should New Mexico and Denver finish the regular season tied, the following tie breakers will be used to determine the league champion:
1. Head to head between tied teams
2. Goal differential of tied teams from conference games - UNM leads +17 to +4
3. Goals for in all conference games - UNM leads 23-13
4. Coin toss.
WRIGHT NINTH IN THE NATION IN GOALS...MOPS UP WEEKLY HONORS: Lobo junior Chris Wright is currently leading the MPSF in scoring with 27 points on 12 goals and three assists. He is 11th in the NCAA in points per game and ninth in the nation in goals. He had four goals last weekend, earning MPSF Player of the Week honors, as well as a spot on the CollegeSoccerNews.com and Soccer American National Teams of the Week.
BARRERA LEADS MPSF, 12TH IN NATION IN ASSISTS: Lobo senior Diego Barrera recorded three assists last weekend, upping his season total to an MPSF leading eight on the year. He is now 12th in the NCAA in that category.
LOBO OFFENSE HEATING UP: New Mexico scored eight goals in two wins last weekend. UNM now has 36 goals on the season and is 10th in the nation in goals-per-game at 2.25.
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. 21 in the CollegeSoccerNews.com Top-30 and Soccer Times Top-25. New Mexico is 24th in the NSCAA Top-25 and tied for 25th in the Soccer America Top-25 poll. 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 74-3-7 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 60-10-10 (.813) since the start of 2004. Only UC Santa Barbara (63-19-7) and Maryland (62-17-9) 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 - 60-10-10 - .813
Akron - 57-14-10 - .765
Maryland - 62-17-9 - .755
Indiana - 60-15-14 - .753
SMU - 60-17-10 - .747
Wake Forest - 60-17-10 - .747
UCSB - 63-19-8 - .744
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 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 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.