Rohrman’s squad looks to tame No. 3 Lobos

first_imgThe Wisconsin men’s soccer team embarked on its first “real” road trip of the season Thursday when the squad flew to Albuquerque, N.M., for the Nike/TLC Plumbing and Utility Invitational to be held at the UNM Soccer Complex.Following last weekend’s heartbreaking 1-0 loss to No. 7 Fairleigh Dickinson, Wisconsin (3-1-0) will be looking to bag a top-ten victory when they line up against No. 3 University of New Mexico (4-0-0) Friday night at 8 p.m. The team will play its second and final tournament match Sunday morning at 10:30 p.m. against Butler University (5-0-0).Head coach Jeff Rohrman is delighted with the idea of facing two undefeated clubs and believes his team has the potential to fare quite well in the tourney.”It’s a great opportunity for us to play a top-five team [in New Mexico] and then also a top-five team in our region in Butler,” Rohrman said. “It’s a huge weekend for us, we’re looking forward to it and hopefully Sunday we’ll be flying back with two wins.”Friday’s matchup with New Mexico will be not be easy, however. The Lobos have won 11-straight at the UNM Soccer Complex, and have only one loss at home in head coach Jeremy Fishbein’s tenure.While Rohrman admits playing a team of such high caliber at home will be difficult, he hopes the competition will prepare his squad for the upcoming Big Ten season.”It’s going to prepare us for a pretty rigorous October with regard to some of the teams and games we’re going to be playing through that month,” Rohrman said. “So, it will simulate what we can expect from some of those teams when we get to that part of the season.”Providing the scoring for the Lobos is senior forward Jeff Rowland, whose 10 points and five goals both rank in the top-20 in the NCAA. Rowland’s finishing touch has played a major role so far this season as UNM has outscored their opponents 8-2.In order to notch a victory, the Badger defense will need to shut down the Lobo offense, primarily with an attack on Rowland’s impressive goal streak. Junior captain Aaron Hohlbein leads the assault, and is encouraging the rest of the defense to play patiently against the 6-foot-1, 175-pound forward.”I just need to keep the other guys focused,” Hohlbein said. “Just tell the guys to be relaxed and not to step in and don’t over-commit … just play the way that they always play and don’t think about anything else.”On the defensive side, New Mexico’s three shutouts in four games are tied for second in the nation. Following shutout victories over No. 23 Penn State, No. 18 Ohio State and West Virginia, the Lobos may have the Badgers scratching their heads looking for a way to score.With 5-foot-8 sophomores Victor Diaz and Sho Fujita in the attack, the Badgers will need to utilize their speed up front to counter the pair of 6-foot-4 Lobo defenders Andrew Boyers and Josh Brown.”New Mexico is a team that has got two very large center-backs,” Rohrman said. “We’re going to have to look to get early balls into [our forwards], so they’re going to have to be alert and aware of what spaces they can get into, and hopefully we can cause some problems that way.”Another certain factor in Friday’s match will be the crowd. Last season, the UNM Soccer Complex averaged 2,379 fans per game — the second-highest attendance in the NCAA in 2004. Tonight, however, is “Stuff the Stadium” night, and all tickets are only $2. With an anticipated crowd of nearly 5,000 fans, Rohrman’s club will surely enjoy themselves.”I think they’ll be excited,” Rohrman said. “A lot of our guys have some great experiences playing with regional teams and traveling abroad and so forth. I think [the crowd] will energize and motivate them; I don’t think it will put any fear in them. They’ll be ready to go.”last_img read more