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UNM’s Lance Rozeboom controls the ball last Saturday against Tulsa at University Stadium. Rozeboom hopes to take his team past the first round of the NCAA tournament this year where they have fallen for the last two seasons.

Iowan leads team to battle

Lobo Men’s soccer midfielder Lance Rozeboom has done his fair share of traveling, but this will be his last season traveling with the UNM men’s soccer team.

Hailing from Xavier High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Rozeboom logged six starts as a true freshman and has been a multiple all-conference teamer (both first and second team) in the past two years.

He hopes that his last season at UNM will also be the most memorable, and that it will end in something other than a first-round playoff exit, something he said he is all too familiar with after the Lobos lost in the first round the past two years.

“First we have to take it a game at a time,” Rozeboom said. “The goals are to go undefeated in the season, win conference and get a first round bye to the NCAA tournament, so that’s what we are focusing on,”

The Lobos meet these expectations with little criticism, as they are regulars in the NCAA. The Mountain Pacific Sports Federation preseason coaches poll has UNM tied for second with Denver University.

Rozeboom is only one of two seniors on the team, so he tends to act as a leader for the group.

“I think that having the ability to lead the team is the best part of my game right now,” Rozeboom said.

Rozeboom started off the season by showing the younger players how it’s done after scoring a penalty kick in last Saturday’s 3-1 win over Tulsa.

The team’s other senior, midfielder Michael Green, said that Rozeboom will do just fine with the young team.

“He has some strong leadership skills, and he is a take-charge kind of person,” Green said. “He is a good person on the team and can lead us into battle on the field.”

Rozeboom acknowledges that the team has talent, but counts on them to buoy other teammates when they need it.

“We are very united as a team,” he said. “We have high expectations for each other; if someone is injured or having a bad game we expect the other people around them to step up.”

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With all the accolades Rozeboom has accumulated through the years, head coach Jeremy Fishbein can’t help but rave. He said he expects him to be a major contributor when the season kicks off this week.

“He is a big-time player,” Fishbein said. “Teams have a hard time matching up with him and he is going to have a really good season for us this year.”

Rozeboom is quick to point out that Fishbein and the rest of the coaching staff have helped him improve not just his game, but how he acts off the field.

“Fish and the entire coaching staff have helped me improve as a player,” he said. “Just helping me be a more mature individual and how to act on and off the field.”

With Rozeboom leading the way, UNM looks poised to earn a third-straight playoff berth this season, and maybe even get a little bit further than the past couple of years.

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