BIRMINGHAM, Ala - The UAB men’s soccer team will continue its four-game road trip with a pair of contests over the weekend. The Blazers, ranked No. 24/25 (College Soccer News/NSCAA) in the nation, will first travel to Albuquerque, N.M. to take on the No. 7/8 New Mexico Lobos on Friday night at 7 p.m. MT/8 p.m. CT.
Friday’s contest will mark the second time UAB has matched up against a top-10 opponent through the first five games of the 2012 season. Last Friday, the Green and Gold travelled to then-No. 3 Charlotte, finishing in a 1-1 deadlock.
UAB and New Mexico are future Conference USA rivals and this will mark the first-ever meeting between the two teams on the pitch.
UAB enters the contest Friday night sporting a 2-1-1 record through four games on the year. The Blazers are coming off their first loss of the year, dropping a 1-0 contest at East Tennessee State. The Bucs scored the game-winning goal with just two minutes remaining in the match.
Leading the way is senior forward Kofi Gyawu, who enters the contest topping the Blazers in goals (3), shots (10) and shots on goal (7). He is tied for the team lead in assists (1) and game-winning goals (1). Freshman Ian Svantesson (1) and senior defender Mladen Lemez (1) have also found the back of the net.
Head coach Mike Getman is in his 21st season at the helm of the Blazers men’s soccer program. He owns a record of 227-137-33 (.614) record during his time at UAB, and boasts an overall coaching record of 269-163-42 (.619) in his 26 seasons as a head coach.
About New Mexico
New Mexico comes into the Friday night’s showdown sporting a 2-1 overall mark on the campaign. The Lobos have defeated a pair of top-25 teams already this season in then-No. 2 UCLA (3-2) and then-No. 20 SMU (3-1). The lone defeat came in a 2-1 overtime loss at Tulsa.
Friday’s contest marks the first home game for the Lobos in 2012. New Mexico made things difficult on its home pitch for non-conference opponents, sporting a record of 47-17-5 in such contests.
The Lobos averaged 3,749 fans per game a year ago, which ranked third in the NCAA, which included a school record 6,200 fans for the NCAA tournament contest against Duke last season.
Leading the offensive attack for New Mexico are seniors Devon Sandoval (3g, 1a) and Blake Smith (2g, 2a), who have combined for 13 of the team’s 21 points on the season.
Head coach Jeremy Fishbein is in his 11th season at the helm of the UNM men’s soccer program. He owns a record of 139-45-25 (.605).
UAB In The National Rankings
The UAB men’s soccer remained in the nation’s top 25, checking in at No. 24 in the country in the CollegeSoccerNews.com top-30 national poll, which was released on Monday.
The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) weekly poll, had the Blazers ranked No. 25 in the country, which was released on Tuesday. Furthermore, UAB was ranked as the No. 3 team in the Midwest Region by the NSCAA.
The Blazers have now been ranked among the nation’s top-25 teams in 17 of the last 19 seasons.
Below is a look at where the Blazers have been ranked in the national polls for each of the three weeks this season:
Week NSCAA CSN Soccer Times
Preseason 21 20 23
8/21 17 16 18
8/28 25 24 22
Ville Has Big Night
Part of the reason that UAB was able to come away with a 1-1 tie at then-No. 3 Charlotte was due to the play of junior goalkeeper Raphael Ville. The native of France played a huge role, making 10 saves on the night to preserve the point.
For the season, Ville has made 23 saves, while allowing only four goals, for a goals against average of 0.90.
Gyawu Named C-USA Offensive POW
UAB senior forward Kofi Gyawu was chosen as the men’s soccer Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week, league officials announced on Aug. 27. It marks the second time Gyawu has earned the honor, and the first since his freshman season in 2009.
After he battled through several nagging injuries in 2011, Gyawu began his senior year with a bang, leading the team in goals (2), points (5), shots (8), shots on goal (5) and assists (1) through two contests last week.
In the season-opening match against Mercer on Friday night, the Lilburn, Ga., native recorded UAB’s first goal of the season and assisted on the game winner in the 2-1 win.
He followed that by scoring the game-winner in the 2-1 victory over Georgia Southern on Sunday, while also recording a team-best three shots and two shots on goal.
Matte Named Preseason All-Conference
UAB senior defender Reed Matte was named to the Preseason All-Conference USA Men’s Soccer team.
Matte, one of four seniors on this year’s team, is coming off an outstanding junior season in which he earned second-team all-conference honors.
A native of Birmingham, Ala., Matte played an integral part of the league’s stingiest defense a year ago, helping hold the opposition to a 1.01 goals per game and seven shutouts - both of which led C-USA.
Matte started all 21 contests a year ago and led the team in minutes played (1,941). Furthermore, he also posed an offensive threat as he scored two goals in 2011, both of which were game-winning strikes (against then-No. 20 VCU and Kentucky).
UAB Hosts 2012 College Cup
UAB will be the host school for the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship. The event will take place December 7 and 9, 2012 at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala.
It marks the second year in a row that UAB has served as the host institution for the NCAA College Cup.
A combined 18,400 fans attended the 2011 College Cup in which North Carolina topped Charlotte, 1-0, in one of the most thrilling national championship games in recent memory.
UAB will host the event along with the Alabama Sports Foundation.
Getman In 21st Season At UAB
UAB head coach Mike Getman is in his 21st season at the helm of the Blazers’ men’s soccer team. He entered the year with 225 wins and now has 227 victories (227-137-33) during his tenure at UAB. Now in his 26th season as a head coach, Getman boasts an overall career record of 269-163-42 (.609).
Getman’s success is tangible, as he entered the 2012 season ranked among the top active coaches in college soccer (37th in winning percentage and 21st in victories). He is among a handful of coaches who both played for and coached a team to the NCAA College Cup, accomplishing the feat twice as a player and once as a coach.