The University of New Mexico Lobos soccer team is ready for our final exhibition match this Saturday night vs. 2013 NCAA Tournament participant Denver University. This one will be a full “dress rehearsal” for the season opener on Aug. 29 vs. No. 13 Akron. In our first two exhibitions, we juggled lineups and were careful to limit everyone’s minutes. With three exhibition matches in seven days, over-training was a concern, and we had to be disciplined coaches. The first exhibition vs. Fot Lewis on Monday night was a good result (3-0), and everyone saw significant minutes. I was really happy with our new players, and we learned quite a bit from the match. We bussed up to Colorado Springs on Tuesday to play our second exhibition vs. Air Force on Wednesday afternoon. While the Air Force result wasn’t what we were looking for over 90 minutes (0-1), we played everyone who was eligible and healthy. We limited individual player minutes too and got a final look at combinations and match readiness. I wanted the Air Force trip to take us out of our comfort zone and “mission accomplished!” It was a hug field, a mid-day match with not atmosphere and we played at altitude against a very physical and committed opponent. Losing is something we don’t like – we hate it – but this was the kick that everyone probably needed. I know I needed it. Losing hurts and it makes you remember why you work so hard. There was too much reading of our own press clippings and the trip back was a real kick in the a$$! Every match is a battle and you need to bring your best every day. We had numerous chances early but didn’t finish. We had a 21-10 advantage in shots for the match and an 8-1 advantage in corner kicks. The game was played in our opponent’s half, but we didn’t capitalize. Hats off to Air Force. They were determined, mentally tough and played within themselves. My initial reaction was one of anger, but after lengthy introspection this was a great experience for all of us. We’re ready for Denver and the numerous challenges the season will bring.
LOBOS VS. DENVER UNIVERSITY, SATURDAY, AUG. 23 AT 7 P.M. AT THE UNM SOCCER COMPLEX. NO CHARGE FOR ADMISSION!
Excitement is building and we are going to treat our final exhibition vs. Denver like a regular-season contest. You are going to see a fully charged and relentless Lobo team. Thanks for all your support, and I look forward to seeing you Saturday night. The 2014 season-opening episode of “Fish Off the Pitch” is scheduled to shoot Monday and should be up Tuesday night. I will keep you posted.
2014 UNM Men's Soccer Schedule