The 2017 University of New Mexico men’s soccer team gets a rematch in the Aug. 25 season opener at Washington, the team that knocked it out of last year’s NCAA Tournament.
Washington is one of eight teams on UNM’s schedule that advanced to the NCAAs last season. Of those eight, the Lobos get six of them at the UNM soccer complex, where they haven’t lost since October 2015.
The home opener is Sept. 1 against UNLV, an NCAA participant last year.
The Lobos also host Denver, which reached the Final Four last season, and West Coast power UCLA.
Conference USA opponents Kentucky, Charlotte and South Carolina also were in the NCAAs.
“There will be no hiding this season,” UNM coach Jeremy Fishbein said. “We have outstanding home and road competition coming up and our guys will be ready.”
The Lobos return All-Conference USA defenders Tom Smart and Matthew Constant. Aaron Herrera, who is with the U.S. U-20 World Cup team, is also back, along with goalkeeper Jason Beaulieu.
They will have to replace Niko Hansen and Chris Wehan, who accounted for 48 of the team’s 92 points last season.
The Lobos have three home exhibitions against Air Force (Aug. 12), Colorado Mines (Aug. 17) and Grand Canyon (Aug. 19).
“Our philosophy is that to be the best, you have to compete against the best,” Fishbein said.
New Mexico was 12-7-3 last season and won the C-USA tournament, earning the league’s automatic bid.
UNM beat Portland on penalty kicks in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, only to lose at Washington 4-1 in the second round.