Oct. 5, 2007
The 22nd-ranked Lobo men's soccer team battled to a 1-1 tie with Denver at the UNM Soccer Complex in tonight's Mountain Pacific Sports Federation opener for both teams. New Mexico junior Chris Wright scored his fifth goal of the season, but UNM could not hold on to the lead. Denver sophomore Kellen Christensen equaled the game in the 81st minute.
Neither team looked good in the opening period with both squads combing for only seven shots. Both goalies also had it easy in the first frame with none of the seven shots on goal. DU's junior keeper Matt Bredehoft was not between the pipes tonight as the Pioneers went with freshman Teale Stone.
The Lobos tried to pick up the pressure in the second half, forcing play to Dever's side of the field. Just over 10 minutes in the second half, DU was whistled for a hand ball on the right side, giving UNM a free kick from 30 yards out. Junior Jack Smithson sent in an out-swinging cross to Wright who was waiting on the far side, 10 yards from the goal. He headed it far post past Stone for the 1-0 lead. It was Smithson second assist of the season and the team-high 11th point of the year for Wright. Wright's goal ignited the 3,148 fans on hand, the largest crowd of the year at the UNM Soccer Complex.
Denver picked up the attack after UNM's goal, outshooting the Lobos 8-6 in the second frame. Graczyk had a great save in the closing minutes and Wright stopped another DU shot when Graczyk was off his line to keep the 1-0 lead. Following a goal-kick from Stone, a Lobo defender tried to flick the ball back to Graczyk. The ball went wide and across the end line, giving DU one of its five corners on the night. Joe Mathot sent in a perfect cross to Christensen who headed in his fifth goal of the season, tying the game at 1-1 in the 81st minute.
New Mexico had three great looks in the final seven minutes of regulation. Smithson made a run down the right side with seven minutes on the clock, but his shot was wide of the net. Senior Diego Barrera got in behind the Pioneer defense on the left side in the 85th minute and played the ball back to senior Joey Vitagliano, but Vitagliano's shot was stopped by Stone. Finally, Wright had a give-and-go with Barrera, but Barrera's shot was again stopped by Stone with 3:09 on the clock.
Play went back and forth in the overtime periods with both teams taking four shots. Wright got loose in the box and was tripped from behind in the 105th minute, but no whistle was blown, allowing the game to end in a 1-1 deadlock.
"This was a very disappointing result for us tonight," stated UNM head coach Jeremy Fishbein. "We played poorly in the first half and were not clicking early. We finally started to string together some good passes in the second half and scored a great goal. Unfortunately, they took advantage of a stake and tied the game late. You have to give credit to them, because they played great. It is what we have to expect from every team in our league."
UNM moves to 5-3-1 on the season and picks up one point in the MPSF standings at 0-0-1. Denver is now 4-3-1 and 0-1-1 in MPSF play. The Lobos next face Air Force on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. (M.D.T.) at the UNM Soccer Complex. The Flacons are 2-6-1 and 0-1-0 in MPSF action after dropping a 1-0 double-overtime match at UNLV tonight. As always, GameTracker and Live Video will be available for the Falcons-Lobos match on GoLobos.com.