Uncertainty, restlessness, anticipation, excitement, love of our team. Those can all describe our feelings last week. After three non-descript exhibition matches, Lobo Soccer kicked off the 2014 season last Friday night, Aug. 29, against the 13th-ranked Akron Zips. It was a beautiful New Mexico evening with clear skies, a boisterous crowd and a playing surface that could easily have been mistaken for a putting green. When I met with the squad in the team room 75 minutes prior to kickoff, I could see something different in their eyes. There was a focus, a calmness. It was the look of individuals going into battle with the confidence that their teammates would back them up under any condition. My intuition proved correct; the boys were ready to roll!
GRANGE AND ASHWILL MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT AT THE UNM SOCCER COMPLEX THIS FRIDAY AND SUNDAY
Friday, Sept. 5 at 7 p.m., Lobos vs. UC Riverside
Sunday, Sept. 7 at 6 p.m., Lobos vs. No. 1 UCLA
Senior James Rogers was just named a candidate for the prestigious Senior CLASS Award. James is an outstanding student, a genuine humanitarian and a tremendous soccer player. Only 30 student-athletes in the entire nation are candidates for this award. I will keep you posted as soon as the finalists are selected.
The second episode of “Fish Off the Pitch” features an exclusive interview with Usher’s identical twin, Oniel Fisher.
But back to the season opener vs. No. 13 Akron. The boys were sharp and focused in the pregame warmup. There was a slight miscommunication off the kickoff, but we quickly settled and caught fire. Three minutes into the match Chris Wehan’s entry ball to Oniel Fisher at the top of the box ended with the ball in the back of the net on one touch. It was 1-0 Lobos and we were rolling! We continued to press and moved the ball with a newfound crispness. The boys created numerous chances, including two shots that deflected off the post. Despite domination of the half, the scoreboard read just 1-0 Lobos. Things settled and evened out a bit in the second half as we didn’t continue to play with the same intensity. It was a well-managed match, though, and we owned a 20-5 shot advantage, including nine on frame to Akron’s two. It was a great way to start the season with Oniel Fisher finding the early winner and Patrick Poblete earning the shutout in net. You can find a recap and highlights of the match here.
The Grange and Ashwill Memorial Tournament kicks off this Friday, Sept. 5. American University will face UCLA at 4:30, followed by the Lobos vs. UC Riverside at 7 p.m. On Sunday, Sept. 7, American plays Riverside at noon, and the Lobos will face No. 1 UCLA at 6 p.m. It should be four great matches and we need your support! We look forward to seeing thousands of Lobo supporters in RED on Friday and Sunday night. Thanks for all your support.