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Redshirt midfielder Chris Wehan celebrates with his teammates after he lands the Lobos' first goal against South Carolina Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016 at the UNM Soccer Complex. 

Redshirt midfielder Chris Wehan celebrates with his teammates after he lands the Lobos' first goal against South Carolina Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016 at the UNM Soccer Complex. 

Men's Soccer: Lobos gear up for Senior Night battle with Old Dominion

Friday night marks “senior night” and the final game of the regular season for the UNM men’s soccer team.

After already securing their spot at the Conference USA Championship, the Lobos will be looking to end this chapter with a victory over the Old Dominion Monarchs.

The Lobos punched their ticket to the championship tournament after securing a 2-1 victory over the then-No. 25 South Carolina Gamecocks on Sunday.

Senior midfielder Chris Wehan opened up the scoring in the first half, and senior forward Niko Hansen scored the winning goal in the second.

New Mexico currently holds a 9-6-1 overall record and stands 3-3-1 in conference. They are fifth in the C-USA standings with 10 points.

ODU has played under .500 on the season, entering the contest at 5-7-2 overall and 2-4-1 in conference. The team sits in the seventh spot in the conference standings with seven points.

However, those stats don’t take anything away from what UNM head coach Jeremy Fishbein described as a “good team.”

“They had a great finish last year (8-5-3, 3-3-2 C-USA), this year they started well,” he said. “They had some ups and downs, but it’s an extremely well-coached, disciplined, talented team. You have to have a lot of respect for them.”

On Tuesday, ODU hosted the Florida Atlantic University Owls (4-10-1, 2-6 C-USA), a key match that the Monarchs needed to win to keep their season alive.

With a tie or a loss, the Monarchs would’ve handed FAU a ticket to the championship. But ODU walked away with a 2-1 victory in double overtime, finishing the Owls’ season.

During the 2015 fall season, ODU, No. 11 at the time, blanked New Mexico 2-0. Each team recorded a total of 14 shots. The Monarchs were more accurate, recording seven on target over the Lobos’ two.

But Fishbein said last year’s result doesn’t help predict what’s coming on Friday night.

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“I don’t really look at past games because it’s such a constantly changing structure,” he said. “It’s a different Old Dominion team than they had last year, just like our team is different from last year. I think we are both going to be well prepared.”

The match will take place in Albuquerque, where the Lobos remain undefeated with a 7-0-1 home record.

“We love playing at home,” Fishbein said. “We’ve been fortunate and successful at home and I hope that continues. But we have to be good in all the little nuances of the game, not allow our opponents openings and taking our chances. We are going to create good chances.”

The last time the Lobos went unblemished at home was in 2012 with a 9-0 home record. It was a successful season for the Lobos as they ended 15-2 overall, and 7-1 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference.

The team advanced into the third round of the NCAA Tournament that year.

For now, Fishbein said he and the Lobos are going to take it one game at a time and try to finish the regular season on a high note.

“(The Monarchs) are going to come in and give us everything we can handle,” he said. “It’s an exciting one for us. It’s how you manage the emotions of senior night. We have to be just as focused and just as driven, and not lose track of the goal.”

Isabel Gonzalez is a sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. She mainly covers men’s soccer and basketball. She can be reached at sports or on Twitter @cisabelg.

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