Lobo Soccer- at UNM Soccer Complex (6,200)
When: Friday at 7 p.m. (MT)
Who: South Carolina Gamecocks
GoLobos.com: Live stats, live stream, box score, postgame recap and stats
Video: The game will be broadcast live at GoLobos.com via the Mountain West Network
Weather Forecast: Temperatures in the mid 50s with a slight breeze
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The 25th-ranked University of New Mexico men's soccer team closes out its regular season Friday night against the South Carolina Gamecocks. The match will help determine where the Lobos are seeded in the next week's Conference USA Tournament. A loss would mean UNM is the No. 7 seed in the tournament and will have to face either Charlotte or Kentucky, each of which defeated the Lobos earlier this season.
The Lobos can't look ahead to that, however, because the Gamecocks are undefeated on the road in C-USA play, having defeated FIU, FAU and Old Dominion.
"We have everything ahead of us," UNM head coach Jeremy Fishbein said. "It's just how you deal with the situation. ... (But) we're very good and we're healthy. We'll be prepared for Friday night."
South Carolina is tied for sixth in C-USA with the Lobos and is also looking to avoid having to face one of the top two seeds in the first round. The Gamecocks boast a dynamic attacking presence in freshman Mikkel Knudsen, who has seven goals and 17 points to lead the team. They are a balanced team, though, as Kurtis Turner and Ive Bennette each have three goals and one assist, and three other players have at least two goals. Sophomore Marco Velez has started 14 games in goal for South Carolina and posted a 1.64 GAA and a .667 save percentage.
Before the game the Lobos will celebrate the careers of their six seniors, who are just two wins away from tying the program record for wins in a four-year period with 61. Mathew Gibbons, James Rogers, Nick Miele, Riley McGovern, Patrick Poblete and Oniel Fisher will be playing their final regular-season game at the UNM Soccer Complex. Gibbons and Rogers are both in the top 10 of several UNM records, including games started.
Aside from Fisher, who is only in his second year with the program after transferring in from Tyler Junior College, the seniors are an astonishing 35-6-2 at the UNM Soccer Complex since 2011. There's no doubt these seniors want to finish their regular-season home career (there's still the opportunity to host an NCAA Tournament game) with a win and send their team to the C-USA Tournament on a positive note.
Series Record: 0-1-0
Home: 0-0-0; Away: 0-1-0; Neutral: 0-0-0
Last meeting: The Lobos lost in overtime at South Carolina 1-0 last season in the only previous meeting between the two schools.
Up Next: UNM heads to Norfolk, Va., for the Conference USA Tournament. The Lobos’ opponent is yet to be determined, but their first match will be on Wednesday, Nov. 12 at 12, 2:30 or 5 p.m. MT.
SCOUTING SOUTH CAROLINA ... The Gamecocks snapped a two-game losing streak with a last-minute win at Old Dominion on Oct. 29. It was their third road win of the season as they have played fairly well away from home. Like the Lobos they have a balanced offensive attack led by redshirt freshman forward Mikkel Knudsen’s seven goals and 17 points. Three other players have three goals apiece and two others have a pair. Kurtis Turner and Ive Bennette each have three goals and one assist. Sophomore Marco Velez has started 14 games in goal for South Carolina and posted a 1.64 GAA and a .667 save percentage. The Gamecocks are currently tied with UNM in the C-USA standings, so this game will determine who will be the No. 7 seed and have to face Charlotte or Kentucky in the first match of the conference tournament.
SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS ... UNM unleashed 31 shots in its loss vs. Marshall on Nov. 1, which is the third most in a single match in program history and the most in 25 years. The record is 44 set on Sept. 24, 1989, vs. Colorado Christian College.
GIBBONS ENTERS TOP 10 ... Senior Mathew Gibbons is now sixth all-time at UNM in career starts with 78. Also, his 6,970 minutes played put him in fifth place in program history.
ROGERS CLIMBING ... James Rogers’ goal at Florida Atlantic on Oct. 8 was the 21st of his career, moving him into sole possession of ninth all-time in UNM history. Meanwhile, his 173 shots are sixth most, his 62 points are tied for eighth most and his 20 assists are tied for fourth most. His 71 starts (in 77 games) are 10th most.
FOUR EARN ACADEMIC HONOR ... Josh Dye, Niko Hansen, Nick Miele and Chris Wehan were all named to CoSIDA’s Academic All-District Team on Thursday, Oct. 30. It’s the most for the program since 2007 when current assistant coach Mike Graczyk was one of five to be named Academic All-District.
WEHAN NAMED TO TEAM OF WEEK ... Chris Wehan was named to College Soccer News’ National Team of the Week following his two-goal performance against Old Dominion on Saturday, Oct. 25. It was his first career two-goal game.
McKENDRY AMONG THE BEST ... Soccer website TopDrawerSoccer.com released its midseason rankings of the top 100 players in the nation on Oct. 21, and junior midfielder Ben McKendry was ranked seventh in the nation and tops among all C-USA players. Senior defender Nick Miele was also ranked, coming in at No. 95. For the freshmen rankings, keeper Jason Bealieu was at No. 52.
BEAULIEU MOVING UP ... Jason Beaulieu continues to make moves in the UNM history book. He is now tied for the most shutouts by a freshman keeper at UNM with five, and his five wins are tied for second. He is tied with Andrew Weber (2001) in shutouts, and trails only Weber in wins while being tied with Nate Busek (1990). Meanwhile, his 0.62 GAA is on pace to not only be the best by a freshman at UNM, but it would be fourth all-time in a single season, behind only Victor Rodriguez (0.50, 2011), Weber (0.55, 2004) and Rodriguez again (0.60, 2012).
MOST INTERESTING SCORER IN THE WORLD ... UNM’s senior midfielder Oniel Fisher doesn’t always score goals, but when he does, it’s a game-winner. He has four career goals in 33 matches and each one has been a game winner, including three this season: vs. No. 13 Akron on Aug. 29, at San Diego on Sept. 14, and vs. Missouri State on Oct. 12. His other career goal came against Penn State in the Sweet Sixteen last season, which was the first of two for UNM in its 2-0 win.
QUICK STRIKES ... UNM scored in the first minute on both Oct. 1 and Oct. 4, for just the third and fourth time in program history. On Oct. 1 Ben McKendry converted a penalty just 16 seconds in to open the scoring against West Virginia, which was the fastest goal in school history, and on Saturday, Oct. 4, UNM took a lead just 43 seconds into the match on a goal by Niko Hansen.
TLC TOURNAMENT CHAMPS ... UNM claimed the championship of its TLC Plumbing and Utility Invitational last weekend by virtue of its plus-two goal differential. Ben McKendry earned Tournament MVP honors, while Nick Miele was named Defensive MVP and Chris Wehan was Offensive MVP. James Rogers and Josh Dye were also named to the All-Tournament Team.
A MILE HIGH AND LOUDER THAN ... The Lobos ranked eighth in the nation in attendance last season, averaging 2,121 fans for each of the team’s 12 home games in 2013. UNM’s match vs. No. 1 UCLA was the second most attended regular-season home game in program history as 5,026 fans came out to UNM Soccer Complex. The Lobos are currently averaging 2,487 fans through eight home matches, which is eighth in the nation.
NO EASY PATH ... UNM’s schedule was not an easy one to negotiate. The Lobos faced seven teams currently ranked in the top 38 of the RPI: No. 1 UCLA, No. 7 Charlotte, No. 20 UAB, No. 25 Kentucky, No. 27 Akron, No. 36 West Virginia and No. 38 Old Dominion.
FISH AMONG THE BEST ... Head Coach Jeremy Fishbein continues to build his coaching legacy at New Mexico. The 2014 season is Fishbein’s 13th at the helm of Lobo Soccer. His UNM record of 168-54-28 makes him the program’s all-time winningest coach. Furthermore, Fishbein has cemented himself among the best in the nation. His 142 wins since 2004 are tied for second in the nation among all active NCAA Division I head coaches.
NCAA Active Win Leaders Since 2004
1st - Sasho Cirovski (Maryland) - 170 wins
T-2nd - Jeremy Fishbein (New Mexico) - 142 wins
T-2nd - Jay Vicovich (Wake Forest) - 142 wins
T-2nd - Tom Vom Steeg (UC Santa Barbara) - 142 wins
5th - Ray Reid (UConn) - 140 wins
6th - Elmar Bolowich (Creighton) - 139 wins
7th - George Gelnovatch (Virginia) - 135 wins
8th - Ken Lolla (Louisville) - 130 wins