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Friday, December 19, 2014

Coach Fishbein favors stronger starts

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By William Aranda / New Mexico Daily Lobo

UNM redshirt junior midfielder Josh Dye makes a play on the ball during the men’s soccer exhibition game against Fort Lewis on Monday evening. The Lobos defeated Fort Lewis 3-0.

Putting teams away early is the message that head coach Jeremy Fishbein wants to instill before the men’s soccer season begins.

While Fishbein was pleased with his team’s 3-0 exhibition shutout over Fort Lewis Monday night, the coach would have liked to put on additional pressure before the second half.

After going into halftime with a 1-0 lead, Fishbein’s desire to inflict more chaos and panic on the opposition’s side was not executed.

“We found that first goal, but we really needed to find that second goal to open things up,” Fishbein said.

UNM dominated the visiting Skyhawks defensively, not allowing a shot on goal the entire game. Fort Lewis was finally able to muster up a shot that harmlessly skidded past the goal.

“We weren’t really tested. They didn’t really have players that really threatened us,” Fishbein said. “I thought we defended really well on their half and that started with our attacking players.”

While defense was not a worry, Fishbein did not want the possibility that Fort Lewis could have entered back in the ball game.

“We were pretty comfortable. That being said, you’re one mistake from tying things up,” Fishbein said of his team’s first half of play.

UNM sophomore forward Niko Hansen scored the only goal of the first half in just the sixth minute of play. Hansen said he wished his team would have capitalized on some missed opportunities in the first half.

“They had a couple of counters and they almost had a chance,” Hansen said. “I think it’s just getting another goal and putting the game away and making things a little bit easier on ourselves.”

The Lobos’ second-half adjustment proved to be all the squad needed in order to put the game out of reach.

James Rogers particularly stepped up his play in the second half putting a nice touch on a ball to record an assist followed by a goal in the 58th minute to put the game out of reach.

“We just wanted to come out and play and show the other team that we wanted to win this game,” Rogers said. “That’s what we came out to do in the second half.”

Rogers added that the long season is all about improving, every day. He said that cleaning up little passes and executing the small things will help down the stretch while it will also be a key when putting teams away early on.

The NCAA allows every player on the team to play an extra quarter of the game, which often dictates to whether or not individuals will redshirt or will get an opportunity to make the roster as an eligible player.

Fishbein said there were players who performed above the level that they normally do, making his final roster adjustments challenging.

“It felt really good to get everyone in and give everybody a run,” he said. “A couple guys played better than they had trained a week prior so there are going to be some tough decisions ahead of us.”

Fishbein hopes to get an early run in early on in during the exhibition match at Air Force today. He will also see if the decision making process is eased when playing some younger players.

Liam Cary-Eaves is a sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at sports@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @Liam_CE.