This weekend, the University of New Mexico men's soccer team will host the Grange and Ashwill Invitational, featuring the University of Denver, Cal State Northridge and UC Irvine.
The Lobos, riding a two-game winning streak, are coming off of a 4-1 win over Marquette last Monday in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The offense finally broke through for the team. Head coach Jeremy Fishbein, who wasn’t happy with his team’s performance after UNLV, discussed what the team worked on in preparation for Marquette.
“It’s just their mental approach,” Fishbein said. “I thought we had a really good focus going into the game, a commitment. Any time you have a team — we have 27 guys involved in our program, there’s only 11 on the field — it’s a matter of everybody providing energy, everybody being a leader, everybody helping us reach our potential. I really challenged the guys on how they’re going to define their role and how they’re going to make us better. It was a team win, not just the guys who scored goals, not just the guys on the field that are making us better.”
That’s one of the things that the team is committed to, Fishbein said. This weekend will provide a great chance for the Lobos to build on the success of the last week.
Cal State Northridge comes into Albuquerque off the momentum of its 2-1 road victory over No. 14 Utah Valley. The Matadors are lead by junior Jordan Kinoshi, who scored the winning goal in that game, as well as junior keeper Henrik Regitnig, who recorded five saves against Utah Valley. Last year, the team qualified for the first round of the NCAA Tournament following their victory in the Big West Tournament. The Matadors were picked to repeat as Big West South division champions in the preseason coaches poll, and Fishbein expects them to be a challenge.
“Our focus now is on a really talented Northridge team tomorrow night; it’s a team we’re familiar with, (but) they have a lot of new faces,” he said. “Attacking, athletic, excited, emotional — it’s to match that. Match that intensity match that athleticism and be organized, be composed, have clarity and be a great team.”
Following the matchup with CSUN, the Lobos will take on UC Irvine Sunday. The two sides matched up last season, and the Lobos grabbed a 3-1 victory in Irvine. The Anteaters are under new leadership this year, as former associate head coach Yossi Raz takes over the program.
Two weeks into the season, things are going well for Raz.
Early on, the Anteaters lead the Big West in goals, assists and shots per game. The offense is lead by Giovanni Godoy and Ivan Canales, who have five points each so far this season, both tallying two goals and one assist. The Anteaters offense is well-balanced, with 28 points divided among 12 different players. They will offer a great challenge for the Lobos defense, which has been shaky at times.
This weekend, the Lobos will be looking to extend a home unbeaten streak that stretches back to Oct. 27, 2015. In addition, Fishbein is currently sitting on 296 career wins and will be looking to get closer to the 300 career wins milestone, something that a good performance this weekend would go a long way towards accomplishing.
The Lobos will play CSUN on Friday night at 7 p.m. at the Lobo Soccer complex and UC Irvine on Sunday at 6 p.m.
In addition to the Lobos matches, Denver will take on UC Irvine Friday afternoon at 4 p.m., and then the Pioneers will play Northridge Sunday at 12:30 p.m.
Cameron Goeldner is a freelance sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s soccer but also contributes content for baseball, basketball, football and track and field. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @goeldfinger.