The New Mexico Lobos Men’s Soccer Team (4-3-1, 0-1-1 C-USA) will be looking to secure their first victory of conference play on Saturday, as the Lobos take on the Marshall Thundering Herd (5-3-1, 1-1-0 C-USA) at 5 p.m. in Huntington, West Virginia.
The Lobos are coming off of a 2-2 tie in double overtime with South Carolina last Friday, a game they battled back to tie up twice. The Lobos played from behind for much of the game, despite an overwhelming statistical advantage.
Marshall, who defeated South Carolina 2-1 earlier this season, is coming off a Tuesday night loss on the road against Fort Wayne. The Thundering Herd is led by Lewis Knight, who has eight goals and two assists already this year, including two game-winning goals.
The Herd has used two goalkeepers this season, with freshman Kyle Winquist getting his first collegiate start in the team’s last match. Prior to that, Nate Himes, had started every match. He exited their game against Northern Kentucky in the 18th minute and hasn’t made an appearance between the pipes since. He is 4-1-0 on the season and has posted one shutout, but it is unclear who will start on Saturday.
Marshall is led by first year head coach Chris Grassie, and the coaching change has accompanied a change in philosophy, one that Lobos head coach Jeremy Fishbein thinks will allow his team to match up better with Marshall.
“They’ve done well against us,” Fishbein said. “He’s an excellent coach. I think he’s upgraded the roster a bit — they are playing a little bit more. They see themselves as a soccer playing team, a team that’s going to play it back to front; I like that challenge. I think we do well against those teams.”
One additional factor that is in play for the Lobos this week is the potential for jetlag. The Lobos flew 1,603 miles each way for their trip last week, according to Google Maps. This week’s trip is hardly shorter, at 1,495 miles each way. The conditions aren’t ideal, but Fishbein isn’t making excuses.
“Kind of bad luck that it’s back-to-back big trips, but we’ll handle it well; we’ll be prepared,” Fishbein said. “It’s a field we’re real familiar with. They hosted the conference tournament last year.”
In order to secure their first C-USA win of the season, the Lobos will need to find a way to slow down Knight and the rest of the Marshall offense. If Marshall is without Himes between the pipes again, the Lobos’ offense should be able to find the back of the net. Winquist has only made four saves during his time in net and is allowing almost two goals each game, both numbers that bode well for a New Mexico team that put 10 shots on goal last time out.
Despite the team failing to grab a victory in either of their first two conference games, coach Fishbein still thinks his team has been putting in good performances.
“I think we’re playing extremely well,” Fishbein said. “You’ve got to have faith that the goals will continue to come, that the bounces will even themselves out, and we’ve got a really good team so that’s our challenge. Staying very focused, confident, optimistic and one game at a time.“
Following the game against Marshall, the Lobos will hit the road to take on Loyola Marymount on Oct. 4.
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 reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @goeldfinger.