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Lobos to Face UCR, No. 1 UCLA This Weekend

Published: September 4, 2014

Lobo Soccer-  Hosting the Grange and Ashwill Memorial Tournament at UNM Soccer Complex
When: Friday at 7 p.m. (MT) vs. UC Riverside; Sunday at 6 p.m. (MT) vs. No. 1 UCLA
Who: UC Riverside, No. 1 UCLA (American University will also play both UCR and UCLA)
GoLobos.com: Live stats,box score, live stream, postgame recap and stats
Video: Live stream available here for both Lobo games
Weather Forecast: Friday: 76 degrees, 30 percent chance of thunderstorms; Sunday: 77 degrees, 40 percent chance of rain


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Coming its season-opening 1-0 win over No. 13 Akron last Friday, the sixth-ranked University of New Mexico men's soccer team has reason to feel confident heading into the second weekend of the season.

"We're coming off a nice week, and we're really happy to be in this situation," UNM head coach Jeremy Fishbein said. "We had a good opening game off a real class and top-ranked opponent in Akron. I'm really happy with our performance. It was a great way to open the season."

The Lobos host the Grange & Ashwill Memorial Tournament this weekend featuring UC Riverside, American University and No. 1 UCLA.

The opening match of the tournament features American and UCLA at 4:30 p.m. Friday. The Lobos will then face UCR approximately 30 minutes after that match ends, at roughly 7 p.m. American and UCR will face off at noon Sunday, and the Lobos and top-ranked Bruins will close out the tournament at 6 p.m. Sunday evening, in what will be one of UNM's biggest matches of the season. The Lobos, however, won't be looking past the Highlanders on Friday.

"The focus entirely is on Friday night, in theory," Fishbein said. "You hope that's where everybody is. You try not to look forward to Sunday's game. I think we're in a good place right now. We have a mature team and the focus is on UC Riverside Friday night."

UNM cannot afford to look past the Highlanders because they are a talented squad. They're coming off a commanding 5-1 season-opening win against Pacific last weekend. Junior forward Michael Salazar recorded a hat trick and added an assist to give him seven points after just one match. UCR put 12 shots on goal in a truly dominating performance.

"They're good," Fishbein said, "and they have nothing to lose. It's a tough one to play for us. In the back of the guys' minds there's Sunday's game. ... I think Riverside will sit in a little bit more, defend with big numbers, and try to get at us on counters and set pieces. We have to be really good on the ball. We can't give them openings. They're a very talented team. I'm excited to see how we handle it."

Following Friday's match the Lobos will have roughly a day and a half to prepare for the No. 1 team in the nation. UCLA is a supremely talented squad headlined by 2013 Pac-12 Player of the Year and Hermann Trophy finalist Leo Stolz. One thing is for certain about the Bruins: they won't be intimidated coming on the road to face a top-ranked team in UNM. UCLA opened the season on the road with a pair of games last season. They earned 3-1 and 1-0 wins over No. 11 Wake Forest and No. 10 North Carolina, respectively. The Lobos will need all the homefield advantage they can get in facing such a talented group.

"People need to come out and check this team out and support them," said Fishbein. "We get so much energy from our crowd. ... I hope we have standing room only both Friday and Sunday night."

The name of the tournament honors two former Lobos who were instrumental in UNM's success in the early part of the 21st century: Pat Grange and Ben Ashwill. Grange scored 29 points (12 G, 5 A) in 40 games over two seasons for the Lobos. He scored three times in the 2004 NCAA Tournament to help UNM to its first ever Sweet Sixteen appearance. Ashwill was a Freshman All-American forward after scoring 27 points (12 G, 3 A) as a forward. He moved to defense as a junior, though, and as a senior in 2005 he helped guide the Lobos to the College Cup and the national championship game. He was also the first three-time Academic All-American in program history.


Series Record vs. UC Riverside: 0-0-0
Home: 0-0-0 Away: 0-0-0; Neutral: 0-0-0

Last meeting: This is the first meeting between the two programs.

Series Record vs. UCLA: 2-9-0
Home: 1-4-0 Away: 1-5-0; Neutral: 0-0-0

Last meeting: The Lobos opened the 2012 season with a 3-2 victory at No. 2 UCLA. Patrick Poblete earned his first career win in that match and made five saves. Devon Sandoval scored twice and Blake Smith once.
Up Next: The Lobos head to California for matches against Cal State Northridge (Sept. 12, 8 p.m.) and San Diego (Sept. 14, 6 p.m.).


SCOUTING UC RIVERSIDE ... The Highlanders won their opening match of the season 5-1 over Pacific at home last Friday. Junior forward Michael Salazar recorded a hat trick and added an assist, while Juan Mendoza and Jonathan Tovar also scored for UCR as the Highlanders peppered the Pacific net with 12 shots on goal. Keeper Ashkan Khosravi made a pair of saves to earn his 15th career win.

SCOUTING UCLA ... The Bruins showed why they are the top-ranked team in the country with two road wins over ranked teams in the opening weekend. After conceding the opening goal to No. 11 Wake Forest, the Bruins answered with two in the first half and one in the 88th minute to earn a 3-1 win. UCLA then drove to Chapel Hill to face No. 10 North Carolina. 2013 Pac-12 Player of the Year and Hermann Trophy finalist Leo Stolz scored the lone goal in the 31st minute as the Bruins earned a 1-0 victory. Four different Bruins scored displaying the talent and depth of the squad. Senior goalkeeper Earl Edwards made five saves, including two against the Tar Heels, to move to 24-7-7 in his career.

SCOUTING AMERICAN ... Rounding out the field are the American Eagles. The Eagles split a pair of matches at the #KuykenStrong D.C. College Cup last weekend. They defeated George Washington 2-0 and then lost to George Mason 1-0. Freshman midfielder Liam Robley and sophomore forward Joe Iraola accounted for the goals. Robley also added an assist on Iraola’s goal. Junior keeper Dylan Hobert made the third and fourth starts of his career and made five saves. American faces off against UCLA at 4:30 p.m. Friday and against UC Riverside at noon on Sunday.

FISHER NAMED OFFENSIVE POW ... Oniel Fisher was named C-USA Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against No. 13 Akron last Friday. In addition to scoring the game-winning goal in the third minute, he also tied for the team lead in both shots with three and shots on goal with two.

ROGERS UP FOR SENIOR CLASS AWARD... UNM senior forward James Rogers has been named one of 30 national candidates for the Senior CLASS Award. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition.

MOST INTERESTING SCORER IN THE WORLD ... Senior midfielder Oniel Fisher has not scored many goals in his Lobo career, but when he does score, it’s a game-winning goal. He scored the only goal in UNM’s 1-0 season-opening win over No. 13 Akron, and his only other career goal came against Penn St. in the Sweet Sixteen last season, which also was a game-winner.

NO EASY PATH ... UNM’s schedule is not an easy one to negotiate. Starting with the opener against No. 13 Akron, five of the Lobos’ first seven games are against teams that are either ranked or receiving votes, including this weekend’s matchup with No. 1 UCLA.

NUMBER ONE STATS ... Six times the Lobos have faced off against a team ranked No. 1 in the nation, and only once have they emerged victorious. However, they are undefeated all-time at home vs. top-ranked foes -- 9/15/06 vs. SMU (1-1, T) and 9/19/04 vs. Indiana (1-0, W 2OT) -- while going 0-2-0 on the road and 0-2-0 at neutral sites. UNM will look to continue that trend of success at home this Sunday vs. UCLA.

 
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