Sept. 22, 2007
The University of New Mexico men's soccer team scored another big road win at No. 12 San Francisco tonight. The 28th-ranked Lobos logged their second straight shutout in a 2-0 victory against the Dons. After dropping Cal State Northridge 4-0 on Thursday, New Mexico (5-3-0) is now riding a three-game winning streak heading into Mountain Pacific Sports Federation action.
Tonight's match was a replay of last year's opening round NCAA Tournament game won by the Lobos 1-0 at USF. The Dons were surely out for revenge against New Mexico, having lost that match with less than a minute left on the clock.
The match started slowly with both teams staying the middle third of the field. Lobo senior Diego Barrera did get off a shot in the third minute, but his attempt was saved by Don keeper Jeremy Coupe. USF's Conner Chin tested Lobo goalie Mike Graczyk in the seventh, but Graczyk made one of his two saves on the night to keep USF off the board.
The Lobos finally broke through in the 29th minute on a score that was set up by junior Jack Smithson. Smithson took the ball from the right side and dribbled across the field. He then slotted a pass behind the Dons' defense to sophomore Justin Davis on the left side. Davis took a touch past a defender and put the ball by Coupe for his first goal of the season and the 1-0 lead. It was also Smithson's first assist of the season.
Both teams went back and forth for the remainder of the half with neither side creating much on offense. New Mexico finished with four shots in the period while USF had three. The Lobos did not earn a corner in the first period for just the second time this season, but did take their 1-0 lead into the locker room.
USF came out strong in the second frame, putting up seven shots after halftime. However, only one of their seven tries in the period was on net. The Lobos countered with five shots of their own, including a scoring strike from junior Chris Wright in the 51st minute. Wright pressured the Dons' backline, forcing a turnover. After beating a trio of defenders, Wright smacked a bullet from the top of the box the found the upper left post before hitting the back of the net. It was Wright's team-high fourth goal of the season.
"This was a great weekend for us, getting to big road wins," added UNM head coach Jeremy Fishbein. "We are finally starting to play up to our potential and this is a great confidence boost going into conference play."
New Mexico will be able to take next weekend off before hosting MPSF foes Denver and Air Force. The Pioneers (4-2-0) visit the UNM Soccer Complex on Friday, Oct. 5, at 7:00 p.m. while the Falcons (2-4-0) and Lobos will play a 1:00 p.m. match on Sunday, Oct. 7, at 1:00 p.m.