Nov. 5, 2011
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- It was a historic night at the UNM Soccer Complex as the top-ranked New Mexico Lobos downed the Rebels of UNLV, 3-0, in their final regular season game of the year. It was also potentially one of the most memorable nights for Michael Green and Lance Rozeboom, as they lit up the scoreboard first for New Mexico in their senior night game.
The win made the Lobo men’s soccer squad just the second team in school history to close out an undefeated regular season, as they improved to 16-0-2 and a perfect 10-0-0 in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play.
Having already clinched the regular season conference title and the No. 1 seed in the upcoming MPSF tournament, the Lobos were looking to cap off a season already laden with epic statistics. The team shattered the program’s previous record (set in 2005) of 11-straight games unbeaten with its Oct. 9 victory over Air Force, and finished the year on a 12-game win streak and four consecutive shutouts.
In fitting form, it was the senior class who kick started the scoring, each slotting away a penalty kick in in opposite halves to help send the No. 1 Lobos into the postseason as the last undefeated team in the nation. Lance Rozeboom’s first-half shot worked as the game winner, coming in the 41st minute of a very evenly matched first half. Giovannie Rollie drew the foul in the box and Rozeboom, having shouldered the responsibility of PKs all season, finished the play to put the Lobos up, 1-0 with his third goal of the season.
A physical game by UNLV was to be expected, as the Rebels had already fallen out of the MPSF race and were staring the end of their season square in the face. New Mexico dominated the second half, outshooting UNLV 11-3, 19-7 overall.
The second-half pressure paid off when they drew another foul in the box. Head coach Jeremy Fishbein immediately gave the nod to Green this time, who put away his second goal of the season to give UNM a 2-0 lead in the 60th minute.
The physicality continued as the Rebels logged three yellow cards and two red cards in the second half alone. New Mexico persevered though, and in the 81st minute Lawrence Robledo put the nail in the coffin, logging a third goal after following up on a blocked shot taken by Adrian Mora Delgado.
Also fitting for the night was the record-breaking attendance figure. The 5,284 fans that turned out for the contest worked for the highest regular season attendance ever recorded at the UNM Soccer Complex. It was also the third highest figure ever recorded in New Mexico Soccer history.
New Mexico goalkeeper Victor Rodriguez got the win for the Lobos with four saves; his personal record matches the Lobos’ 16-0-2. The shutout was his 10th of the season. Ryan Harding started in net for the Rebels, making five saves and allowing all three goals in just over 84 minutes of play. He was ejected in the 85th minute by way of a red card and replaced by Simon Cook.
The Lobos have earned a first-round BYE in the MPSF conference tournament, and will commence postseason play on Friday, Nov. 11 in Denver.