Sept. 4, 2011
Santa Clara, Calif. --- New Mexico keeper Victor Rodriguez and the rest of the Lobos have stretched their shutout streak to three games after blanking the Broncos of Santa Clara 2-0 on Sunday evening in Buck Shaw Stadium.
The Lobos were composed throughout the game and had multiple first half opportunities to put points on the board. Santa Clara’s senior goalkeeper Kevin Klasila faced eight shots from New Mexico in the first half, five of which fell on goal but none working for the go-ahead goal.
Opportunities were golden for the Broncos as well though, as they matched the Lobos shot for shot in the first half but were less lucky in finding the mark. While Santa Clara managed to put together a bit of a run as the first half came to a close, they tallied just one shot on goal to UNM’s five over the first 45.
New Mexico seized control of the game in the second half though when freshman James Rogers carried the ball into the Bronco box for his first career goal and eventual game winner as a Lobo in the 68th minute of play.
Just over 13 minutes later, junior Blake Smith notched a piece of insurance with an unassisted goal of his own from the top of the box in the 81st minute.
“This was our best performance of the year,” head coach Jeremy Fishbein said. “There was a lot of composure and it was a complete game, we played really well tonight.
“James Rogers had a good goal, he’s a sensational attacking player, and it was an excellent goal by Blake Smith. Defensively we were solid as well with our third shutout in a row.”
Rogers fueled the Lobo attack all game, leading the team four shots and putting two on net including his goal. Smith had a perfect 1.000 shot on goal percentage, with both of his shots hitting the mark, one working for his first goal of the season. Devon Sandoval also forced Klasila to make three saves, contributing to the Lobos’ eight of 11 total shots falling on goal.
Santa Clara out-shot UNM in the second half, racking up seven shots for a total of 15 on the game. Yet Rodriguez only needed to make two saves in 90 minutes, earning the win while Klasila took the loss for the Broncos.
“This was a tough road trip, we played against two good teams on the road and we knew it would be a test in terms of maturity and being able to play out of our element,” Fishbein continued. “Tonight we dictated the pace of the game, which is a big part of being a good team, and we withstood the challenges of the weekend.”
The Lobos look forward to returning home next weekend for their annual TLC Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Invitational which will feature Columbia, Cal State Northridge and Missouri State.