Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Daily Lobo The Independent Voice of UNM since 1895
Latest Issue
Read our print edition on Issuu

Midfielder Michael Calderon retains possession of the ball during the game against George Mason University at the UNM Soccer Complex on Sunday evening. New Mexico will face Penn State during its Sweet 16 matchup at the UNM Soccer Complex on Sunday at 5 p.m.

Men's Soccer: Penn State an even match

With 12 wins, five losses and two ties, the New Mexico men’s soccer team holds a record nearly identical to its Sweet 16 opponent, Penn State.

Both squads won the regular-season titles in their respective conferences — the Lobos in Conference USA and the Nittany Lions in the Big Ten — before falling short in their conference tournaments.

The two may have come to this point in the NCAA bracket along similar paths, but UNM head coach Jeremy Fishbein said Penn State approaches the game differently than his Lobos do.

UNM prefers a more dynamic game focused on attacking play and players working the ball off the dribble. Penn State, Fishbein said, relies more on defense that does not prefer to find itself in one-on-one situations against the attack.

It should make for an interesting matchup when the schools meet at 5 p.m. Sunday at the UNM Soccer Complex.

“It’s about us breaking them down and not giving them opportunities,” Fishbein said Tuesday. “They’re a very battle-tested team, played lots of big games, and they’ve been extremely successful.”

The Lobos are no strangers to playing against compacted defenses, having seen that type of play earlier in the season. Fishbein said his team has grown accustomed to stout defensive play, but added the Nittany Lions will bring the offense as well.

Ten different players have recorded goals for Penn State this season, led by Jordan Tyler’s five and Eli Dennis’s four. As a team, the Nittany Lions put 25 goals on their stat sheet but have held opponents to 16.

UNM, on the other hand, has 32 goals this season from eight players, and six players have at least three goals. Senior forward James Rogers tallied his seventh goal this season when his game-winner against George Mason advanced the Lobos to the third round.

He’s now tied with freshman Niko Hansen for the team lead.

Defensively, the Lobos have given up 18 goals in 19 games, and goalkeeper Michael Lisch has made 39 saves in net. Penn State keeper Andrew Wolverton has stopped 69 shots on goal, playing every minute for the Nittany Lions.

Enjoy what you're reading?
Get content from The Daily Lobo delivered to your inbox

Penn State reached the Sweet 16 following two 1-0 wins over St. Francis and UC Santa Barbara in the first two rounds.

The Lobos enter the game having won three of their last four games, including three shutouts. In the George Mason game, UNM spent most of the time attacking and held a 19-4 advantage on shots, though Rogers didn’t break through until the 83rd minute.

When asked whether Fishbein feels his team is peaking at this point in the season, he said the Lobos are playing well but the hope for remaining teams is to peak three weeks from now in the national finals.

“Nothing’s going to come easy, and that’s a challenge to our players. Can we continue to defend as a team?” Fishbein said. “It often is a little special moment. It’s not going to be a sitter. Somebody’s going to have to make something out of nothing.”

Team receives academic honor

The National Soccer Coaches Association of America on Thursday awarded UNM with the Team Academic Award after the Lobos compiled a 3.43 team grade point average for the 2012-13 academic year.

The team received the honor for the 10th time since 2003. The NSCAA also recognized C-USA teams South Carolina, Kentucky and Alabama-Birmingham with the award.

“I was pretty impressed with that, just to see that on paper,” Fishbein said. “The success on the field is a result of just their dedication and commitment off the field as well as on the field, and just a belief in the process.”


Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2023 The Daily Lobo