New Mexico –4 #10 UAB-3 (Full Match Report)
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The howling winds that wiped over the UNM Soccer Complex at Wednesday night’s match between New Mexico and the tenth-ranked UAB Blazers (11-3-1) should have been a sign for the wildness that ensued. A frenzied back-and-forth affair saw UAB tie the match in the final minutes, which was a prelude to New Mexico (9-4-2) winning the match on a penalty kick with just seven seconds left on the clock.
The Blazers quieted a rowdy UNM Soccer Complex crowd with two goals less than four minutes apart for the first night’s first lead. The pair of unassisted goals came off the feet of Freddy Ruiz and Alex Clay. While the answer from the Cherry & Silver was 16 minutes later, it was a fierce response.
Riley McGovern and Niko Hansen paced the Lobo attack to a pair of goals within 90 seconds to equalize. Hansen would set-up McGovern for a goal from the right side of the box before McGovern returned the favor on a cross to Hansen in the middle of the UAB box for a second goal.
The match entered halftime tied at two goals apiece despite a dominating performance from UNM on the stat sheet. Coach Fishbein and the Lobos outshot the Blazers ten to three in the first half with a five to zero advantage in corner kicks as well. New Mexico forced five saves from UAB goalkeeper Raphael Ville as seven of their ten first-half shots were on goal.
With momentum and the home crowd on their side, New Mexico scored their third goal of the match to take the lead in the 81st minute. Defender Mathew Gibbons played a deep, lofty ball to the left side of the UAB box to Ben McKendry. McKendry finished his run ahead of the Blazer defense and beat the goalkeeper one on one.
The match, true to form, would take another wild twist when UAB tied the game with less than two minutes left when Karl Chester found Alex Clay for the goal. Yet the wildness of the match was not through.
New Mexico’s final attack in the run of play saw Riley McGovern attempt a cross to a sprinting Christopher Wehan. Wehan went down to the ground as the cross sailed by him. While running back the other way, UAB goalkeeper Raphael Ville made contact with Wehan with his shoulder while Wehan was getting up off the ground. Ville was issued a red card in his own box and disqualified from the match with seven seconds left.
Backup goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky entered the match in goal as Michael Calderon was preparing to take the penalty kick. Calderon slotted home the goal to the left of Kuzminsky for the game-winning goal.
UAB, who entered the match as the best offense in the nation, was limited to just four shots all night. All four shots were on goal as they converted three-quarters of their shots taken into goals. The Lobos held a final edge in shots at 19-4 with twelve of their shots being on goal.
UAB (21:59): Freddy Ruiz (unassisted)
UAB (23:25): Alex Clay (unassisted)
UAB (88:15): Alex Clay (Karl Chester assist)
New Mexico (89:53): Michael Calderon (penalty kick)
Starters: Lisch (GK), Gibbons, Venter, Gurule, Fisher, Kafari, Calderon, McKendry, Rogers, Wehan and Rochowksi.
First Half Subs: Hansen (29:49), McGovern (31:22)
Halftime Sub: Miele
Second Half Sub: Wypych (64:45)
- #10 UAB was the highest ranked opponent defeated by New Mexico this season. The Lobos had previously defeated #11 Georgetown.
- New Mexico’s four goals against UAB are the most goals scored in a home game since UNM tallied seven scores in the season opener versus Villanova. The four goals marked the Lobos’ highest scoring conference match this season.
- With his first-half goal, Niko Hansen ties his teammate Ben McKendry for third place for most goals by a freshman in New Mexico history with seven.
- Wednesday evening marked the first time UNM has overcome a two-goal deficit since defeating UNLV 3-2 on November 6, 2010.
- UNM’s twelve shots on goal were a season high.
“At that point if we can draw one back going into half, we’ll be good. We drew one, evened it up going into the half, and then we were confident.” – Head Coach Jeremy Fishbein on equalizing
“I thought we were the better team. They were good on the attack in that they had four chances and hit three nice goals… We had an edge to us with our backs to the wall a little bit. We were good against the tenth-ranked team in the country. That was the win we needed right now. That one was a big one for us.” – Head Coach Jeremy Fishbein.
“Tonight’s a huge boost for us. I wouldn’t say we needed it (the win), but I think we definitely expected to win this game. That’s the mindset we have in all of our games.” – Junior midfielder Riley McGovern
“Paul Souders had a great scouting report on them and really drilled some things into our guys. I thought they guys really responded. He had that game read and he did a great job preparing the team as did Brandon Moss.” – Head Coach Jeremy Fishbein
The Lobos will face their second ranked and top 25 RPI team of the week when they hit the road this weekend. UNM will travel to the Commonwealth of Virginia to face #24 Old Dominion in Norfolk on Saturday at 5 p.m. (MT). The match will be a battle of the top two teams in Conference USA.