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Undefeated; Columbia next?

The UNM men’s soccer team will try to continue its undefeated season this weekend when the team hosts the TLC Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Lobo Invitational.

The Lobos are 2-0-1 this year and take on Ivy League powerhouse Columbia University on Friday before facing California State Northridge on Sunday.

“We have had a good start to the season,” forward Devon Sandoval said. “We love playing at home in front of our crowd. This is our stadium, and we are not going to lose here; we are definitely confident.”

Columbia brings an experienced lineup to the tournament — and like the Lobos — has not lost a game this season after beating Sacred Heart, Fairfield and Saint Peter’s.

Head coach Jeremy Fishbein said Columbia should be a tough test, especially for the Lobos’ defense.

“They are a good attacking team, and I am sure it’s exciting for them to come out here,” he said. “We have to come out with intensity and play with the same kind of passion we have showed the past five games.”

Northridge is 1-2 on the season after beating Canisius in its season opener. Last weekend they lost two overtime games to UNLV and No. 2 Akron, with the same 2-1 score line.

The Lobos were away in California last weekend and tied Cal Poly 0-0 on Friday and beat Santa Clara 2-0 on Sunday.

Sandoval said wins on the road should give the team some confidence for the games in the invitational.

“It was our first games on the road,” he said, “It was pretty important for us to get results and we did. It was a pretty big weekend for us and I think we can take that momentum into this weekend.”

The Lobos have yet to give up a goal in their three regular-season games with goalkeeper Victor Rodriguez only having to make a combined seven saves.

Fishbein said there is not one player who has really stepped up but the team as a whole has played great defense.

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“When we have 11 guys on the field, we have 11 defenders on the field, that’s our mentality,” he said. “We are going to get good pressure on the ball and stay committed and I think the results speak for themselves.”

The Lobos have been able to spread the scoring around this year with James Rogers, Giovanni Rollie, Blake Smith and Lawrence Robledo all scoring one goal a piece.

Sandoval said that no one player scores all the goals, which is an indication of the team’s cooperation.

“It’s our team chemistry,” he said. “Everyone’s head is in the right place; everyone wants the same goal. We don’t want to be just good; we want to be a great team.”

Up Next:
Men’s Soccer vs. Columbia
Friday 7 p.m.
University Stadium

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