#14 New Mexico – 1 UC Santa Barbara-0 (Match Report)
Santa Barbara, Calif. – The University of New Mexico Men’s Soccer team (4-2-1) put in 90 minutes of hard work in their match at UC Santa Barbara (4-3-0) on Monday night. The unrelenting Lobos would wait 89 minutes and 48 seconds before that hard work paid off with Niko Hansen’s fourth goal of the season. Hansen won the match off a pass from James Rogers with just twelve seconds left in regulation.
The Cherry & Silver outshot the Gauchos eight to six on the evening while also holding an advantage of three in corner kicks. Michael Lisch made one save on the night as he recorded his third shutout of the year.
New Mexico fared well in the first half statistics. The shot total was even at four apiece while the corner kicks were near even as UCSB led 3-2. Many of New Mexico’s shots were decent chances with Ben McKendry and Michael Kafari both just missing wide on scorching shots from the top of the box.
The Lobos lifted the tempo from the get go in the second half getting a handful of shots off in the crowded Gaucho box in the first minutes of the half. The Lobo attack continued to create chances minutes later when Christopher Wehan’s shot hit the near post.
While New Mexico was creating chances in the Gaucho half of the field, Kyle Venter would make a pair of saves to quell the Gaucho attack. The senior defender deflected a pair of point-blank shots to keep UC Santa Barbara off the scoreboard.
Coach Fishbein and the Lobos kept knocking on the door down to the final seconds. Wehan had a take away on a Gaucho throw in to keep possession in UCSB territory. The action would go to the other side of the field as Niko Hansen moved the ball to James Rogers. Rogers took the ball into the box and slid a pass back to Hansen deep in the box. The freshman powered home the game-winning goal with just twelve seconds left in regulation.
New Mexico (89:48) – Niko Hansen (James Rogers assist)
“We talked about how we had to be confident, disciplined and have a “defend first” mentality. We were mentally tough tonight and absorbed the pressure. I thought we did a great job with that tonight.” – Head Coach Jeremy Fishbein
“I thought a lot of our guys were really good tonight. Some guys stepped up tonight; Riley McGovern was really good tonight. I also thought Niko Hansen and Nick Rochowski played well. As a whole, I thought we really played well as a team.” – Head Coach Jeremy Fishbein
“We got a hold of the game in the second half. The guys stayed the course to the very end, and I am just real proud of our guys.” – Head Coach Jeremy Fishbein
- Monday night’s match was a meeting between two programs with a lot of history. Both teams are perennial NCAA Tournament participants. New Mexico advanced to the 2005 national championship match, and the Gauchos would win the national championship the season following.
- UC Santa Barbara and New Mexico last met in 2010, which UCSB was the fifth-ranked team in the nation at the time. The match, played in Albuquerque, ended in a 1-1 draw.
- The win marked the second time in four matches the Lobos have scored a game-winning goal after the 89th minute. New Mexico beat Georgetown in double overtime with Nick Rochowski’s first career goal earlier this month.
- Monday evening’s listed attendance of 3,147 was the largest road crowd faced by UNM this season. It was more than three-times larger than the previous largest opponent crowd.
- New Mexico hasn’t dropped a decision (3-0-1) to the Gauchos in the last four match-ups. It was their first win in Harder Stadium since the 1999 season.
New Mexico returns for a one-game home stand at the UNM Soccer Complex. The Lobos will host UC Davis on Friday evening at 7 p.m. It will also be the Lobos’ final non-conference match-up before opening up Conference USA play next Monday evening at Marshall.