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Gearing up for spring season

The UNM men’s soccer team is doing its own version of spring training.
The Lobos will play two exhibition games Sunday against Fort Lewis at 10 a.m. and CSU-Pueblo at 3:30 p.m.

“It’s a funny situation when you play Division II teams,” head coach Jeremy Fishbein said. “Our players may not respect them as much as they should, and for Division II teams, these are huge games for them.”

Fort Lewis is a familiar opponent. The Lobos faced the Skyhawks in their 2009 preseason match. UNM defeated the Division II 2009 national champions 2-1 in overtime thanks to two goals from forward Devon Sandoval.

Midfielder Lance Rozeboom said games against Division II opponents are always tough.

But he said he is confident that the Lobos will come out with two wins.
“We have the game against Fort Lewis and that is always a big rivalry,” he said. “They think they can play with us, so we will see what happens there.”

Between games, the Lobos will have only a few hours of rest before playing another 90 minutes.

Redshirt freshman Carson Baldinger said his team can cope with playing two games the same day.

“Well, we don’t have as many players as we would like, but it’s the spring season,” he said. “We are all real fit, and we have done a lot of work this spring, so two games in one day is not that hard. We have done them before in club days, so I think we will be fine.”

For many of the six redshirt freshmen, including Baldinger, the spring season allows them to fight for a starting spot in the fall.

After losing standouts like Michael Reed and Matt Armstrong to graduation, Fishbein will be looking to find players to fill voids.

“They are going to get to assess themselves against the competition,” he said. “They are going to get to play in the fall, and we get to start working on some combinations of players and see who can play where. This will set the tone for next fall.”

So far, the Lobos are 1-1-1 during their spring season after playing Edmonton Football club twice, a Canadian professional team. The Lobos tied Edmonton FC 1-1 in their first game before falling to them 4-1 in their second game. UNM also played Grand Canyon University in Arizona. The Lobos beat Grand Canyon University 2-0.

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“That first weekend was good,” Rozeboom said. “We had a tough day the second day against the Canadian team, but we did tie them the day before. We got some guys playing in new positions and some young guys, and I think the team is starting to gel really well together.”

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