Men's Soccer Season Recap
Final Thoughts: The 2002 University of New Mexico mens soccer team started the year with a new coach, 17 new players, and a whole lot of questions concerning the upcoming season. The Lobos were quick to answer any doubts about the state of the program by winning a school-record, eight-straight games to start the season. New Mexico went on to have the most successful season in school history with an 18-4-0 record, reaching No. 22 in the NSCAA Top-25, winning its second-straight Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournanment to go along with the regular season crown, and advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season.
The Lobos started with four tough road games in Las Vegas, Nev. and Denver, Colo. With so many new players, it would have been a great accomplishment for UNM to have taken two of the four games and come home with some much needed experience for the freshmen. However, it was the Lobo freshmen class who showed just how talented they could be by scoring 11 of UNMs 12 goals in the first four games.
UNM then came home for four games at the UNM Soccer Complex. While the offense shined on the road, it was the defense that played well at home. The Lobos shutout Cal Poly and Southwest Missouri, while giving up just two goals in the four games. The Lobos treated 2,502 fans to a 3-0 win over Cal Poly on September 13, the second largest crowd in UNM Soccer Complex history.
New Mexico then took its eight-game winning streak to California for road matches at Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine. New Mexico dropped both matches, ending their win-streak and suffering the only back-to-back losses of the season.
What could have been a devastaing road trip to such a young team turned out to spark the Lobos to a seven-game winning streak. During that run the Lobos defeated Air Force and San Jose State for the first time since 1995 and Denver for the first time since 1997. New Mexico captured the MPSF regular season crown by posting a 5-1 conference record, with the lone defeated coming against UNLV in the season finale on November 10.
The Lobos then set their sites on the MPSF Tournament, which played in the UNM Soccer Complex. After a 3-2 win against Denver, the Lobos faced San Jose State in the finals. UNM freshman Ben Ashwill scored in the first overtime to give the Lobos a 1-0 win and an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.
The Lobos went on to defeat Bradley in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to No. 18 Saint Louis in the second round.
With the success New Mexico had on the field in 2002, it is no surprise that the players and coaches would be the recipients of many post-season awards and accolades. Here is a list of many of the awards and acknowledgements the Lobos gained in 2002.
Lobos In the Rankings: The Lobos received a No. 27 ranking in the CollegeSoccerNews.com Top-30 final poll. UNM is also ranked at No. 4 in the NSCAA Midwest Region poll. The Lobos were left out of the other three major polls in the final rankings despite having the third highest win total in the NCAA. The Lobo defense finished with a 0.89 goals-against-average which ranked 21st in the nation. The Lobos .818 winning percentage was 5th best in Division I.
Narita Named Honorable Mention All-Ammerican: Senior midfielder Junro Narita was named to the 2002 CollegeSoccerNews.com honoralble mention All-American team.
Ashwill, Moss Named Freshmen All-Americans: Forward Ben Ashwill and defender Brandon Moss were named to the 2002 CollegeSoccerNews.com Freshman All-American team. Ashwill was a 2nd team selection while Moss made the 3rd team.
Previous Rankings: The Lobos have only been ranked in two previous season. In 1992, UNM climbed as high as No. 17 in the Soccer America Poll for the week of October 20, 1992. In 1997 the Lobos earned their highest ranking in any poll when they reached No. 15 in the Soccer America Top-20 for the week of November 3, 1997.
TLC Plumbing and Utility Invitational Awards: |Danny Bills|Sophomore|Defender|Defensive MVP| |Lance Watson|Freshman|Midfield|Offensive MVP| |Junro Narita|Senior|Midfield|| |Stian Eriksen|Junior|Midfield||
Lobo Invitational Awards: |Andrew Weber|Sophomore|Goalkeeper||Defensive MVP| |Ben Ashwill|Freshman|Forward|Offensive MVP| |Javier Carrasco|Senior|Midfield|| |Junro Narita|Senior|Midfield||
Leading The Way: Ben Ashwill finished the 2002 season as the leading goal scorer in the MPSF (12). As a team, the Lobos led the conference in goals scored (45), goals-per-game (2.05), and G.A.A. (0.89) during the regular season. Andrew Webers 0.91 G.A.A. also led the conference and ranked 30th in the NCAA.
Fishbein Named MPSF Coach of the Year: Head coach Jeremy Fishbein was named the MPSF Coach of the Year after leading the Lobos to a school record in wins (18-4-0), a share of the regular season crown with a 5-1-0 record, and the conference tournament championship. After spending nine seasons at the Division II level, Fishbein made the best of his first season as a Division I head coach.
National Teams of the Week: |Name|Publication|Date| |Ben Ashwill|CollegeSoccerNews.com|Sept. 16| |Danny Bills|CollegeSoccerNews.com|Nov. 4| |Ben Ashwill|Soccer America|Nov. 18| |Junro Narita|CollegeSoccerNews.com|Nov. 25|
All-MPSF Members: |Junro Narita|Senior|Midfield|1st Team| |Andrew Weber|Sophomore|Goalkeeper|1st Team| |Ben Ashwill|Freshman|Forward|1st Team| |Danny Bills|Sophomore|Defender|2nd Team| |Brandon Moss|Freshman|Defender|2nd Team| |Lance Watson|Freshman|Midfield|2nd Team|
MPSF All-Tournament: |Ben Ashwill|Freshman|Forward|MVP| |Junro Narita|Senior|Midfield|| |Andrew Weber|Sophomore|Goalkeeper|| |Lance Watson|Freshman|Midfield||
NSCAA All-Midwest Region: |Junro Narita|Senior|Midfield|1st Team| |Andrew Weber|Sophomore|Goalkeeper|3rd Team| |Lance Watson|Freshman|Midfield|3rd Team|
Academic All-Conference - Senior Javier Carrasco and junior Stian Eriksen were both named to the 2002 Academic All-MPSF team.
Weber Moves Up the All-Time Shutout List: Sophomore Andrew Weber recorded his sixth shutout of the season with the 1-0 win over San Jose State on Sunday, November 3. He now has 11 career shutouts and is all alone in fourth place on UNMs all-time shutout list. The career mark is held by Greg Hess (97) who scored 15 shutouts from 1994-1997.
Most Wins in School History: The Lobos are setting a new single season win mark with every victory. They had notched 14 wins in two previous season, 1994 (14-6-0) and 1992 (14-4-1).