New Mexico –0 Tulsa-3 (Conference USA Semifinals)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The University of New Mexico men’s soccer team entered Friday’s Conference USA semifinal looking for a win in the program’s first-ever C-USA Tournament match. New Mexico (11-5-2) fell behind by two goals in the first half to the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (11-5-3) and went on to drop the conference semifinal match by a score of 3-0.
Tulsa took command of the game in the first half with a pair of goals within a three-minute span beginning with Quinton Duncan’s header in the 23rd minute off an assist from Akeil Barrett after a ricochet off the crossbar. The Golden Hurricane scored their second goal just two minutes and three seconds later when Tony Rocha scored from inside the box off a pass from Cristian Mata.
The Lobos held the first-half advantage in shots at nine to eight but trailed in shots on goal six to two. Michael Lisch was credited with four saves in the first half.
Tulsa tallied their third goal less than five minutes into the second half as UNM was whistled for a handball in the box. Tulsa’s Omar Mata converted the penalty kick for the third goal of the evening.
The Lobos looked to have had pulled one score back when a Ben McKendry-James Rogers combination play saw Rogers find the back of the net, but the forward was whistled offsides negating the goal. It was one of two second-half would-be goals for UNM that were called back for an offsides call.
The Cherry & Silver continued to attack throughout the second half as they tallied eight shots with five of them being on goal in the half.
By match’s end, New Mexico led Tulsa in shots 17-14 (seven to nine in shots on goal) while corner kicks were tied at four apiece.
Tulsa (22:56) – Quinton Duncan (Akeil Barrett assist)
Tulsa (24:59) – Tony Rocha (Cristian Mata assist)
Tulsa (49:39) – Omar Mata (penalty kick)
New Mexico starters: Lisch (GK), Gibbons, Venter, Miele, Fisher, Kafari, Calderon, McKendry, Rogers, Wehan and Rochowski.
First Half Substitutes: Hansen (24:04), McGovern (29:31), Goss (35:31)
Second Half Substitutes: Dye (78:58) and Gurule (78:58)
- The lower-seeded team has won all four matches so far in the Conference USA Tournament.
- New Mexico is now 10-3-3 all-time in conference tournament play.
- Michael Lisch’s six saves were the second-highest total for him this season. He recorded seven saves against Old Dominion two weeks ago.
- Six different Lobos combined to take seven shots on goal.
“Tulsa came out with incredible energy, and we didn’t match it in the early going. It was something we identified. It was a couple of fortunate things in their half in terms of the first goal being off a miscommunication and the second goal being off a deflection. That being said, we had plenty of opportunities to score. It was a back-and-forth game that we didn’t get a handle on.” – Head Coach Jeremy Fishbein
“We came out great in the second half and had a great very good chance to take it to 2-1. Then it was an unintentional handball that didn’t go our way, and it was 3-0. Our guys just kept fighting until the very end… It was the kind of game where nothing went our way and everything went their way but that happens. You can’t put yourself in that situation.” – Head Coach Jeremy Fishbein
“Tulsa played like a team with their backs against the wall, and we let them play a little too comfortably. There’s a lot to learn from this. We’ll play one at home next week, whether it’s Thursday or Sunday we will find out.” – Head Coach Jeremy Fishbein
The Lobos will have to wait until Monday’s NCAA Tournament selection show to learn the details of their next match. The NCAA will stream the show on their website beginning at 10 a.m. (MST).