Oct. 7, 2011
DENVER, Colo. --- They've done it again.
While the Lobos broke their streak of scoring only second half goals by taking a lead early on in the Friday's game, Mathew Gibbons' 85th minute goal secured the 3-2 win for New Mexico, giving them an 8-0-2 (2-0-0 MPSF) record headed into Sunday's game with Air Force.
New Mexico hadn't scored a first-half goal in nearly a month before Friday evening's match with Denver, when Blake Smith put the Lobos ahead 1-0 in the 16th minute of play. Smith's fourth goal of the season can be attributed to exceptional vision and transition by the New Mexico offense, and gave the Lobos a first-half lead that they hadn't enjoyed since their Sept. 9 contest against Columbia.
Yet the win couldn't hit the books right away, as Denver responded in the 21st minute with a goal by Jarod Sigall to tie the match, and then took the 2-1 lead 10 minutes into the second half on a goal by Christian Volesky.
The Lobos have made a name for themselves this season as being a second-half team though. A one goal deficit, regardless of its meaning to the Pioneers, meant little to the Lobo squad. Overall, they've now erased five single point deficits on the season to log either a win or a tie game and maintain an undefeated record.
On Friday night, it was freshman defender Mathew Gibbon's turn to net the game-winner. While Devon Sandoval came up big to tie the match 2-2 in the 58th minute, Gibbon's 85th minute goal off of a Sandoval deflection worked to clinch the late-game win for the Lobos.
The goal was Gibbon's first career goal and game-winner, and marked the fourth time in the Lobos' last six contests that New Mexico has come from behind for a win or tie. The Lobos' efforts over the course of the game matched Denver 10 shots for 10 though, and they surrendered four corner kick attempts to the Pioneers while garnering none for themselves.
"From the standpoint of scoring goals, remaining confident and persevering, tonight was a real success," head coach Jeremy Fishbein said. "In order to be a good team and win games though, we need to improve on what we did tonight.
"We knew how Denver was going to play, we know that they would be dangerous on their set pieces, and they scored a couple of good goals on us. But I'm proud of our guys for their tenacity. Blake came up big early for us, Devon scored a great goal to tie the game at two-all, and Mattie Gibbons' game-winner from the far post was phenomenal," he finished.
Sandoval paced the Lobos with three shots on the evening, putting all of them on net. With Friday's game in the books, he has six goals and five assists this year to lead the team with 17 points. Smith follows with four goals and two assists for 10 points.
Lobo keeper Victor Rodriguez shares the Lobos' 8-0-2/2-0-0 record, having earned the win on Friday after having to make one save and allowing two goals. Denver keeper Mate Aquirre notched three saves on the night, but fell to 2-4-2 as the Pioneers dropped to 2-5-3/0-1-1 in week two of MPSF competition.
The Lobos will close out their trip to Colorado with a bout with Air Force on Sunday, slated for 1 p.m. mountain time.