After splitting their first two away games of Mountain West Conference play, the Lobos will have the opportunity to cement their position as a conference front runner, playing Fresno State and San Jose State at home.
The Lobos have won their last five home games, and their only home defeat came at the hands of the University of San Francisco, who beat them 2-1 in the season opener.
The Lobos (8-4, 3-1 MW) seem to have both a stronger offense and defense than last year. Nine different players have scored for the Lobos this season, and UNM has conceded an average of 0.92 goals per game.
UNM will take on Fresno State Friday, Oct. 6. The Bulldogs (6-4-2, 3-1 MW) are coming off of a 3-1 win against Colorado State University, their first win in their last four games.
Sophomore forward Julia Glaser leads the Bulldogs with seven goals, while senior forward Myra Delgadillo has posted three goals and six assists. The Bulldogs score an average of 1.5 goals per game and concede 0.92 per game.
The Lobos lost last season to Fresno State 3-0 in what was a one-sided encounter — the Bulldogs outshot the Lobos 21-12. This season, the Lobos have found more consistency, and have a better record at this stage of the season. The Lobos recently fell 3-0 to Boise State but then bounced back to beat Utah State 2-1 in their most recent game.
The Lobos nearly came away with a draw against Utah — the Aggies drew level in the 90th minute. But off the restart seconds later, UNM senior forward Claire Lynch poked the ball past the Utah goalkeeper to win the game for her team.
After the game against Fresno, UNM will welcome San Jose State. The Spartans (6-5, 3-1 MW) lost their most recent game 1-0 to Wyoming and play away against San Diego State on Friday night before traveling to Albuquerque to face the Lobos on Sunday.
Before losing to Wyoming, the Spartans had strung together five wins in a row, including 2-1 wins against Boise State and Utah State. Senior forward Dorthe Hoppius is the top scorer for the Spartans with four goals. San Jose, on average, concedes 1.18 goals per game and scores 1.09 goals per game.
The Lobos are in a three-way tie for second in the conference standings with San Diego State and San Jose State. All three sides have nine points, and Air Force, the conference leaders, have 10 points.
The teams that finish in the top six of the standings qualify for the Mountain West Conference Tournament. The Lobos narrowly missed out on sixth place last season, but in their conference opener this year, the Lobos beat last year’s conference champions UNLV 2-1.
The Lobos will play Fresno State on Friday, Oct. 6 at 7:30 p.m., and then will face San Jose State on Sunday, Oct. 8 at 1 p.m.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @cartron_matt.