Home is what you make it. And the University of New Mexico women's soccer team has made the UNM Soccer Complex a workshop where it manufactures one thing — wins.
New Mexico (4-3) is winless on the road, but has gone undefeated so far on its home field. That should be good news since the team is in Albuquerque again to host the Colorado State Rams — a team that is 0-5 all-time against the UNM — in the Lobos' Mountain West conference opener.
The match is also the conference opener for Colorado State, which has posted a 3-3-2 record so far this season. The Rams have only scored two goals over their last five matches, but have managed to win two of the last three to get back to a .500 record. The most record win came on Sunday, Sept. 16 — a 1-0 shutout over the Southern Methodist Mustangs.
Junior midfielder Caeley Lordemann is the only Colorado State player to notch multiple goals this season. She is the team's leading scorer with two goals and has tallied four points for her squad over the first eight matches.
One of the bright spots for the Rams has been the stone wall goalkeeping of junior redshirt Hunter Peifer. Colorado State has enjoyed four shutout performances, though the team only collected two wins in those matches.
UNM head coach Heather Dyche has maintained since the first match of the season that the 2-0 loss to Texas Tech in the season opener taught the Lobos a lot and the rest of the games up to this point were almost like a preseason tuneup leading into conference play.
The Lobos have looked pretty good during the makeshift preseason — winning four of their next six. One of the road losses came in the final 10 seconds of overtime when the team gave up a late goal that deprived it of what looked like a sure tie.
New Mexico has outscored its opponents by a 12-3 margin in goals scored in home matches — recording a pair of shutouts along the way. The Lobos has won back-to-back contests over the past couple of Friday nights, downing UTEP 2-1 on Sept. 7 and outlasting New Mexico State 1-0 last week.
Freshman midfielder Alesia Garcia booted the game-winner on a penalty kick late in the match to lift the Lobos to the win over their in-state rival. She leads the team in goals scored with four — three of which have been game winners, while her teammate Jessie Hix has score three goals.
Despite New Mexico getting the better of Colorado State in all five of the previous matchups, the final scores have been really tight. The Lobos have been splitting goalie duties between freshman Malia Vanisi and junior Emily Johnson. It will be interesting to see if that trend continues now that conference play has arrived.
The Lobos and Rams will face each other on the pitch at the UNM Soccer Complex on Friday, Sept. 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Robert Maler is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers basketball and baseball and contributes content for various other sports as well. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @Robert_Maler.