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UNM senior Rachel Montoya battles for position with TCU midfielder Makenzie Koch. The Lobos take on Iowa State in Lincoln, Neb. today.

0-1-1 team looks to balance tally

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The Lobo women’s soccer team will vie for its first win of the season when it takes on Iowa State this Friday.

On Sunday, Texas Tech defeated the Lobos 2-0, while last Friday the Lobos tied TCU 1-1 with no overtime due to a lightning storm. UNM is currently 0-1-1; this marks the first time since 2008 the Lobos haven’t won one of their first two games.

“I think it’s a matter of building; we’re playing against some of the top programs in the country, in every aspect,” said assistant coach Jorge Vela. “They are tremendous programs and highly ranked, big conferences. The idea is to play some of the best possible teams in the country.”

Last season, the Lobos started slowly with a 3-4-2 record before winning nine of 11 games to finish the year.

Vela said the goal is to build momentum in the latter half of the season.

“For us, it’s not about the short term, it’s about the long term,” he said. “If we’re 100 percent right now, we might be burnt out or not ready by the time conference comes.”

Senior Sinead Fleming said the Lobos want to face the upper tier of competition to be prepared for the conference season.

“Our nonconference schedule is really tough and I think it’s purposely designed that way; it’s been that way for the past couple of years,” Fleming said. “In my opinion and the other girls’ opinions, the score doesn’t really matter — we’re trying to fight through different trials and tribulations.”

The Lobos have scored only one goal thus far and have played scoreless first halves back to back for the first time since 2010. UNM isn’t getting any shots off, either; the first two games averaged six shots per game down from last season’s 15.3 clip.

Vela said the offense hasn’t picked up because the players let their nerves get the best of them.

“Just the belief; it was a situation that we were tentative and tight during the game,” he said. “We (need to) loosen up and do what we’re capable of.”

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UNM is on a three-week road trip, and Fleming said the experience is very beneficial.

“I think it’s important to have a different schedule like that and not necessarily be spoiled with so many home games, because you realize the feel of different fields and different teams and the atmosphere that they’re bringing from the stands,” she said. “It toughens us up.”

Senior Rachel Montoya said she does like the travel, but can’t wait for a homecoming.

“Sometimes it makes playing at home that much better, once we get back from playing all these road trips,” she said.

It may be the first-ever meeting between the Lobos and the Cyclones, but Vela said the team will be able to tackle its third straight Big-12 adversary.

“They are a good, confident team and again they’re another Big-12 opponent, so they’re a physical, intense type team,” Vela said. “I know we’re going to be more prepared than we were last time.”


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