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UNM men’s head soccer coach Jeremy Fishbein sits in disbelief following Air Force’s 1-0 double-overtime victory at the UNM Soccer Complex on Oct. 5. The No. 14 ranked Lobos take on UNLV today at the UNM Soccer Complex.

Team’s aim isn’t high or low, but straight ahead

sports@dailylobo.com
@cnaranjo7

UNLV may have a losing record, but that doesn’t mean the UNM men’s soccer team will take the Rebels lightly when the teams face off today at home.

Head coach Jeremy Fishbein said the Lobos (10-3-0, 3-2-0 MPSF) need a quality effort against UNLV (5-9-1, 3-2-0) in order to remain in the conference title chase.

“When you play good teams that are excited to play against you, being average isn’t good enough,” he said. “We have to be good on Friday, identify some things and respect the opponent. The same lessons that apply to life, apply to the field: we have to be accountable and realize nothing comes easy.”

The Lobos hold a 2-2 record for the last four matches and slid into the No. 14 spot in the NSCAA poll.

Senior defender Travis Campbell said the team does not plan to look any further than tonight’s matchup against conference foe UNLV.

“We haven’t even talked about Sunday’s game,” he said. “That’s our mentality, to not look too far into the future. Now, we have to only take one game at a time.”

The first release of the NCAA RPI rankings in 2012, which is used to determine seeding in the NCAA tournament in November, lists the Lobos as the No. 9 program in the nation.

But Fishbein said the ranking has no immediate translation to UNM’s performance as of late.

“We’re at the point where we pay too much attention to rankings and statistics,” Fishbein said. “It is pretty evident that the last four games — those have meant nothing. Our sole focus has to be on Friday’s game.”

Fishbein said the two losses to Air Force will only continue to help UNM grow as a team.

“In retrospect, it’s good that we got challenged,” Fishbein said. “You don’t want to lose, but I think as we move forward, we continue to get better and better.”

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With the Rebels ranking 173 in the nation in goals-against average, Campbell said today may be a chance for the Lobos to get back on track with a different offensive game plan.

“We’re going to change things up; we have to keep fighting, play higher up on the field,” Campbell said. “We’re going to play more direct than usual.”

Junior midfielder Michael Kafari said that the team wants to build off every win, but it is important to concentrate on the game versus the Rebels.

“It’s just a game at the end of the day,” Kafari said. “I’m confident we can win it; we just have to focus one game at a time. It’s not any more important than other games we have played or will play.”

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