Aug. 21, 2012
University of New Mexico Lobo Soccer Supporters: THE SEASON IS FINALLY HERE! Hope everyone is ready for an action packed season and our season opener on the road vs #2/#4 UCLA this Friday night. The match will be televised nationally on the Pac-12 Network (information below).
Northridge and San Diego State are both NCAA Tournament-caliber teams who would challenge us to be at our best. Our players were generally healthy with a few knocks from preseason still effecting a few of the boys. Everyone, except returning All-American, Kyle Venter, suited up for Thursday's match versus Northridge. We played a regulation 90 minute match, followed by an overtime period. Venter was back for Saturday's match versus SDSU and everyone was in uniform and ready to play the final exhibition (90 minute match followed by an overtime). Highlights from both matches can be viewed in the Season I episode of "Off the Pitch", which is included in a link in the bottom of this post.
Perfect night for soccer! The field was in immaculate condition, and the CSUN game operations staff ran a flawless show. Our boys were ready! We started Sandoval high with transfer Michael Calderon underneath, Blake Smith on the left, James Rogers on the right, Michael Kafari and Adrian Mora Delgado in the central midfield, Mattie Gibbons as our left fullback, Travis Campbell and Nick Meile played as central defenders, Riley McGovern played on the right flank and Javier Lane was in the net.
Both teams started slow. The adjustment to playing someone in another jersey took a bit......took a bit too long. In the 10th minute, a slip in the back by one of our defenders led to a great finish by CSUN. The honeymoon was over. Ten minutes into the season, and we were chasing the game. To the boys credit, no panic, just controlled fury and the confidence that our goals would come. We found our rhythm late in the first half and really took over the match in the second half. It was a matter of time before the ball would find the the back of the net. In the 73rd minute, freshman and Canadian U-20 International, Ben McKendry, hit a blast from outside the box to even the score. 10 minutes later, junior transfer and former Costa Rican Youth International, Michael Calderon would hit another blast from long range to make it 2-1 Lobos. We closed out the final 7 minutes with great maturity and came away on top, 2-1.
The overtime would provide more excitement. Freshman and Orange County native, Chris Wehan, found the net early off a Riley McGovern cross to go up 1-0. Great homecoming moment for Chris, as the stands were full of family and friends. Northridge evened things up with an incredible far post strike 15 minutes later to even the score. Despite quality chances, we weren't able to score another and the overtime period ended 1-1. 25 players saw the field (everyone but Venter) and we learned a great deal about ourselves. Here is the match recap.
It was a much different environment than Thursday and a much different team. The match was played in the heat of the day, and SDSU played direct and physical. Another great test. The goal of the trip, was to play two tough exhibition matches against teams with contrasting styles. We got what we asked for. The changes in the starting line-up were: Venter stepped into the center of our back line for Miele, Travis Campbell replaced McGovern as right back, New Zealand Youth International and transfer, Nik Robson, replaced Rogers on the right wing and Patrick Poblete manned the goal.
"The Pac-12 Conference is broadcasting the match on its National Conference-wide network (not one of its regional networks). According to the Pac 12, those with Comcast in most of the Albuquerque area will be able to watch it on channel 284. The Pac-12 Network is provided by a wide range of carriers throughout the nation in addition to Comcast. To see if the Pac-12 Network is available in a specific city, supporters can use this website. For those whose cable provider does carry the Pac-12 Network, you can also watch it via live streaming on www.pac-12.com but only with a validation code from your provider, which is given when you purchase the channel. That means you can only watch it online if you have ordered the network through your cable provider."
Coach Brandon Moss, our in-house video expert and Director of the Lobo Soccer Series "Off the Pitch", has produced the first episode of the 2012 season. Michael Calderon, the marksman responsible for two pre-season goals, is the featured guest.
Here is the link to a tremendous video with highlights from both exhibition matches: