Big week for Zips men's soccer team: Ua will look to extend unbeaten streak against No. 16 New Mexico

by: Chris Coon

The No. 4 University of Akron men’s soccer team will open up their home stand this weekend, when they take on No. 16 New Mexico on Friday at 7 p.m. and Cal Poly on Sunday at 6 p.m. in the Zips annual University of Akron Tournament.

Akron (3-0-1) enters the tournament ranked No. 4 in the latest NSCAA rankings, while coming off of two straight wins after tying Cal State Fullerton 0-0 on Sept. 1., for their first tie of the season.

The Lobos (4-0-1) are ranked 16th in the nation and are ranked for the first time this year. Some notable wins by New Mexico are Cal State Northridge (3-1) and Columbia (5-1), which were the only two teams New Mexico allowed to get scored on.

The only tie of the season for New Mexico was against Cal Poly (0-0) in double overtime on Sept. 2. New Mexico will also play Syracuse (2-2) on Sunday at 12 p.m. at First Energy Stadium-Cub Cadet Field.

Offensively the Lobos are lead by junior forward Blake Smith who has three goals on the season with no assists.

The Lobos also have three other players who are tied for second in goals with two. Those players are freshman forward James Rogers, junior forward Devon Sandoval and sophomore midfielder Giovanni Rollie.

New Mexico, in their first five games have outscored their opponents 12-2, compared to barely outshooting their opponents 59-53. The Lobos have also held a 34-11 shots on goal advantage over their opponents as well.

On the defensive side of things New Mexico has posted a total of three shutouts with a goals against average of 0.38 percent. Junior goalkeeper Victor Rodriguez has logged in a total of 438 minutes this season while recording a .818 save percentage with nine saves.

The Lobos are lead by ten year head coach Jeremy Fishbein, who was named the 2004 Soccer America National Coach of The year, which is an award that is given out annually for college soccer’s top head coach.

Fishbein has also captured seven career conference championships along with a .659 career winning percentage, while also posting a .704 division 1 winning percentage.

On Sunday UA will take on Cal Poly in the conclusion of The University of Akron Tournament. Cal Poly will take on Syracuse on Friday at 2 p.m. in the opening round of the tournament.

The Mustangs will enter Friday’s tournament with a record of 2-1-2, with their only two wins coming against UNVL (1-0) on Aug. 27., and Villanova (1-0) on Sept. 9.

 As for Cal Poly’s ties they came against New Mexico (0-0) on Sep. 2., and then again against No. 12 West Virginia (0-0) on Sept. 11. The only loss was against Seattle 2-1 on Sept. 4.

Offensively the Mustangs are lead by junior forward Dakota Collins who has two goals in five games while, sophomore midfielder Ian Clark is the only other Mustang to have a goal with one.

The Cal Poly defense has been stingy the past five games only allowing two goals with a goals against average of 0.35 percent. The Mustangs have recorded four shutouts along with a shutout percentage of .80, which ranks fourth in all of college soccer.

Senior goal keeper Patrick McLain leads the Cal Poly defense with ten goals and a save percentage of .883, while logging a total of 510 minutes.

The Mustangs are lead by sixth year head coach Paul Holocher, who has combined record of 154-59-26 with six programs. Holocher was also responsible for guiding the 2008 Cal Poly squad to their first NCAA Division 1 Tournament appearance in 13 years.

As for the Zips sophomore forward Darren Mattocks leads the team offense with four goals. Junior midfielder Scott Caldwell is second on the team in scoring with three goals while leading the team in assists with five.

UA has outscored their opponents 11-1 in their first five games, while also outshooting opponents 81-30.

The Zips will look to extend their home unbeaten streak to 41 this Friday against New Mexico at 7 p.m. at First Energy Stadium-Cub Cadet Field. UA will conclude The University of Akron Tournament on Sunday against Cal Poly at 6 p.m.