After beating UNLV and NAU in their first two Mountain West Conference games of the season, the Lobos appear to be entering a rhythm.
The Lobos (7-3, 2-0 MW) have won their last four games and took down last year’s conference champions UNLV 2-1 at home last Friday.
But the Lobos will face strong regional sides Boise State and Utah State away from home in their next couple of conference fixtures.
“Next week is one of the hardest trips in conference,” UNM head coach Heather Dyche said. “It’s reasonably long travel in between, but both teams are very well coached — they have this big attacking shape so you run a lot — and so for us, we have to find a way to get some results out of the weekend.”
The Lobos tied Boise State 0-0 in the 2016 season, but the Broncos finished ahead of the Lobos in the conference standings, filling the sixth and final slot for Mountain West Conference Tournament qualification.
This year, the Broncos (6-4-1, 1-1 MW) have scored 13 goals and have conceded nine. Of the 13 goals scored, 10 have been scored by sophomore forward Raimee Sherle and senior forward Baylee Blaser. Both players have five goals to their name.
The Broncos are coming off of a 2-1 loss to San Jose State, but won their first conference game 2-1 against Fresno State University.
Both UNM and Boise State should have high hopes for its conference campaigns, and the fixture between the two will be critical in the fight for a conference tournament slot. The Lobos have conceded seven goals this season while scoring 14, but in their last four games, the Lobos have scored 10.
While the Lobos' attack has appeared to come together — they’ve had eight different goal scorers this season — it is the UNM defense that has garnered the attention. The Lobos lead the conference in fewest goals conceded — an average of 0.70 goals per game.
After playing the Broncos, the Lobos will travel to Utah to play Utah State.
The Aggies (6-3-1, 1-1 MW), like the Broncos, are also coming off of back-to-back games against Fresno State and San Jose State. The Aggies fell to San Jose 2-1 in overtime but bounced back to beat Fresno State 1-0 two days later.
On Friday, Utah State will host San Diego State. The Aggies have conceded 11 goals so far this campaign and have scored 13. Freshman midfielder Ashley Cardozo is the top scorer for the Aggies with five goals. Of those five, four have been game-winning goals.
The Lobos will take on Boise State University on Friday, Sept. 29 in Boise at 4 p.m., and will then play Utah State University on Sunday, Oct. 2 at 1 p.m. in Logan, Utah.
Matthieu Cartron is a sports beat reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers women’s soccer and men’s tennis. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @cartron_matt.