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Undefeated team vies for title

The No. 2 UNM men’s soccer team is undefeated and has a chance to win the conference title this weekend.

The Lobos are 13-0-2 and they take on Sacramento State and San Jose State this weekend, knowing that if they win one of those games it will take them to Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) regular-season title.

UNM is the only team in the country that has yet to lose a game, and it beat its first-ranked opponent of the season when it knocked off No. 22 Cal State Bakersfield last weekend.

“It’s a good situation to be in,” head coach Jeremy Fishbein said. “Our challenge right now is to continue to get better, and we look for challenges in each of our opponents, and we have big ones coming up.”

Sacramento State comes into the game with a 7-6-2 record but has only won one conference road game so far this season and sits in third place in the pacific division of the MPSF.

San Jose State has yet to lose a conference game on the road and will be a tougher opponent for UNM.

Fishbein said the Lobos’ high ranking means they will have targets on their backs when they take on other teams in conference play.
“When you are playing a ranked team you can play a little carefree and go for it, and I think that’s what we are seeing from our opponents,” he said.

The Lobos, for only the second time in school history, have not lost a single road game, going 6-0-2 away from home with just three more regular-season games.

Forward Carson Baldinger said the team talks about going undefeated but that it is really focusing on more than just the regular season.

“We laugh and joke about the whole undefeated thing, but we try to keep a small head; we try to stay humble,” he said. “Undefeated is great; that’s what we expect, but we really look at the big picture of the NCAA tournament.”

Baldinger came off the bench to score both game-winning goals in last weekend’s games, earning him a spot in the Top Drawer Soccer national team of the week.

After missing all of last season with a knee injury, Baldinger said that it’s nice to see all of his hard work finally paying off.

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“It means a lot to me,” he said. “I almost take pride to come off the bench because I get the extra time to look at the other team’s defense and see how they are playing. It’s been tough because I have never really come off the bench before, but it’s something I have had to adapt to.”

This season the Lobos have strong offense from numerous players with at least six players having scored three or more goals.
Fishbein said that the offense is the most entertaining part about the team’s play this year.

“Our attacking players are scoring goals, and it’s coming from a lot of different guys, and that is probably the most exciting thing, that we are not reliant on just one player,” he said.

Men’s Soccer vs. Sacramento State
7 p.m.
University Stadium

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