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No. 9 Lobos Read for Rough Road Test at UK

Published: October 16, 2014

Lobo Soccer- at Wendell and Vickie Bell Soccer Complex (1,500)
When: Saturday at 5 p.m. (MT)
Who: (RV) Kentucky Wildcats
GoLobos.com: Live stats, live stream, box score, postgame recap and stats
Video: The game will be broadcast on SEC Network+ and also for a fee at UKathletics.com
Weather Forecast: 53 degrees, cloudy, 20 percent chance of rain

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The No. 9 University of New Mexico men's soccer team takes its four-game winning streak on the road this weekend as it travels to face a tough, defensive-minded Kentucky Wildcats team.

"We're coming off two very good results," head coach Jeremy Fishbein said of the Lobos' pair of 2-0 victories last week over Florida Atlantic and Missouri State. "I thought we played extremely well on both sides of the ball."

Both the Owls and the Bears were tough opponents to break down defensively, but they were just appetizers for Saturday's main course. UK ranks fifth in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 0.47 goals per game.

"We're excited to get on the road and play a really good team Saturday," said Fishbein. "They've got a new stadium -- it's a really good venue for soccer -- and they've got an industrious, hard-working team. We'll have our hands full Saturday night."

The hard work for the Wildcats begins in goal with Preseason All-Conference USA goalkeeper Callum Irving, who ranks seventh in the nation with a 0.870 save percentage. He has also recorded eight clean sheets on the season.

"We look at it as a great challenge," Fishbein said. "Can we unlock a great defensive team? In soccer, just like any sport, if you're good enough you can play through people. We have to be good on the ball. Players individually have to be good when they create 1v1 situations for themselves. We have the capability to do those things. I'm excited for the challenge."

The Lobos are no defensive slouches themselves, however, ranking 14th in the nation in goals against average at 0.57. They've recorded three straight shutouts while outscoring their last four opponents 12-1. Goalkeeper Jason Beaulieu is currently tied with Andrew Weber for the most shut outs by a freshman with five.

While the teams are both excellent defensively, one area UNM has a distinct advantage over the Wildcats is scoring prowess in the attacking third.

Before winning 5-1 Wednesday evening at Evansville, Kentucky had manged to score multiple goals in just three matches and had been shut out four times. Even after Wednesday's outburst, the Wildcats still rank just 116th in scoring at 1.23 goals per game. The Lobos, meanwhile, have been shut out just once all year and are 28th in scoring at 1.83 goals per contest.

"(We) are a team that wants challenges," said Fishbein. "You want to face good opponents, and we'll be tested Saturday."

Series Record: 1-0-0
Home: 1-0-0; Away: 0-0-0; Neutral: 0-0-0

Last meeting: The Lobos defeated the Wildcats 2-0 at the UNM Soccer Complex last season, the only previous meeting between the two teams. UNM held UK without a shot in that match.

Up Next: The Lobos are off until the following Saturday when Old Dominion visits the UNM Soccer Complex at 7 p.m. MT on Oct. 25.

SCOUTING KENTUCKY... The Wildcats are one of the top defensive teams in the NCAA, ranking fifth with a 0.44 goals against average and eighth with a 0.62 shutout percentage. A lot of the credit goes to junior keeper Callum Irving, who has made 40 saves and is seventh in the nation with a 0.870 save percentage. UK has posted eight shutouts, but scored more than one goal in just four matches, although one was Wednesday night in a 5-1 thrashing of Evansville. That match accounted for nearly a third of their 16 goals scored this season. They are 116th in the nation in scoring offense at 1.23 goals per game. Senior forward Justin Laird leads the squad with four goals and 11 points. .

McGOVERN C-USA PLAYER OF THE WEEK ... Senior Riley McGovern was named Conference USA’s Co-Defensive Player of the Week for his performances against FAU and Missouri State last week. He helped the Lobos post back-to-back shutouts while earning his first assist of the season on Oniel Fisher’s game-winning goal vs. Missouri State. It’s his first career honor and the fourth for a Lobo this season.

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.

CORREA ROUNDING INTO FORM ... MAC Hermann Watch List honoree and Preseason All-American Kevin Correa appears to be gaining confidence and form at UNM despite seeing his goal-scoring streak snapped at three matches. He scored his first goal as a Lobo against West Virginia, followed that up with a dazzling run vs. FIU, and then scored the game-winner at FAU on Oct. 8.

OFFENSIVE OUTBURST ... After tallying only 10 goals in their first eight games, the Lobos erupted for six in a rout of West Virginia on Oct. 1. Ben McKendry scored twice, while Niko Hansen, Chris Wehan, Kevin Correa and Riley McGovern all found the back of the net as well. It was the most goals in a game for UNM since a 7-2 win over Villanova on Aug. 30, 2013.

GIBBONS ENTERS TOP 10 ... Senior Mathew Gibbons is now tied for seventh all-time at UNM in career starts with 74. Also, his 6,633 minutes played put him in eighth 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 158 shots are sixth most and his 59 points are 10th most.

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.

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 0.57 GAA is on pace to not only be the best by a freshman at UNM, but it would be third all-time in a single season, behind only Victor Rodriguez (0.50, 2011) and Weber (0.55, 2004).

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 2,479 fans through eight home matches.

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.

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 eight games were against teams that were either ranked or receiving votes, including a matchup with No. 1 UCLA on Sept. 7.

C-USA FAVORITES ... The Lobos were voted by league coaches as overwhelming favorites to repeat as Conference USA regular-season champions. UNM received seven out of nine first-place votes to finish well ahead of the pack. Charlotte and UAB each also received a first-place vote and finished in second and third, respectively. Senior defender Mathew Gibbons and junior midfielder Ben McKendry were named to the Preseason All-Conference Team.

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

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