April 1, 2012
Albuquerque, N.M. --- When you are scheduled to play a 90-minute soccer match and an abbreviated 60-minute match about three hours later, the last thing you want is overtime. That's what the Lobos and Ft. Lewis, the defending Division II National Champions got, but OT was kind to New Mexico as Devon Sandoval scored the game-winner three minutes in, as UNM swept Ft. Lewis 2-1 in OT and 1-0.
The games were played at the Robertson practice fields, south of the UNM Soccer Complex.
The Lobos opened the scoring in the 10 a.m. opening match Nick Miele headed home a free kick near from near the touchline by Blake Smith 20 minutes in, giving UNM a 1-0 lead. That lead held nearly the rest of the match, but a foul in the box gave Ft. Lewis a penalty kick which it converted to square the match at 1-1.
While overtime probably wasn't what anyone wanted, Sandoval made sure overtime didn't take very long. Levi Rossi did the dirty work, beating a pair of defenders at the top of the 18. Rossi then slipped a pass to Sandoval, who parked one high into the net from about 10 yards out, ending the first game with a 2-1 Lobo win.
Three hours later, both teams were back at it for a 60-minute condensed game, and New Mexico won the second game 1-0, as Josh Dye scored just 10 minutes in. Miele hit a diagonal ball to speedy James Rogers, who beat a defender and went to the touch line, where he laid a pass back for Dye, who drilled his shot past a helpless Ft. Lewis keeper for the only goal of the match. Victor Rodriguez played all 60 minutes, earning the clean sheet.
The Lobos will host an Alumni Tournament on April 7 in their next outing.
Lobo head coach Jeremy Fishbein, who got his head coaching career started at Fort Lewis, was pleased with the day. "Ft. Lewis is always a tough opponent and it was a challenging situation with a big target on our chests."
Fishbein added, "I thought the boys played well and the two games were a great opportunity for our young guys to see some quality minutes. There are still areas we need to work on, but we are getting better every day."