What a week for University of New Mexico Soccer! Two of our final three regular season matches versus nationally-ranked opponents; a daunting task and an exciting challenge. #10 UAB at home on Wednesday, October 30th and #24 Old Dominion on the road Saturday, November 2nd. The boys were prepared, confident and ready for the fight. This is why we were so eager to join Conference USA; Four teams in the "NCAA RPI Top 25" and not an easy game to be had. We wrap up our regular season this Saturday, November 9th at 5:00 PM against the University of Kentucky. The final regular season home match for seniors Kyle Venter, Michael Kafari, Michael Calderon and Michael Lisch. Hope everyone can come out for this very important match which will help determine the Conference USA Regular Season Champion.
LOBOS VS KENTUCKY WILDCATS, SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9TH, 5:00 PM, LOBO SOCCER COMPLEX. FINAL REGULAR SEASON MATCH OF 2013
LOBOS VS #10 UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA BIRMINGHAM, WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 30TH, 7:00 PM, LOBO SOCCER STADIUM
Action, action and more action. It was an exciting game to watch but a nightmare to coach. We came out on fire and attacked, attacked and attacked. The first 21 minutes saw beautiful soccer and all Lobos. It seemed like only a matter of time before the ball would find the back of the UAB net. In the 22nd minute, the unthinkable occurred. Against the run of play, UAB scored an excellent transition goal. We knew the Blazers were opportunistic and had plenty of offensive firepower….they sure did! We had a game on our hands. 1:30 later, a careless give-a-way in the back and we found ourselves down 2-0. We went from flying high and controlling the match, to floundering in a deep hole looking up…..not an enviable situation.
To the boys credit, we quickly regained our composure and the feeling on the bench, was if we could get one back prior to halftime, we would be fine. The boys turned it up another notch. In the 39th minute, great goal from Riley McGovern on the right flank, from a Niko Hansen assist: 2-1 UAB with increasing new energy from the Lobos. Two minutes later, 41st minute, great work on the right from McGovern, low driven service and slotted away by Niko Hansen. 2-2 and back in it! We went into halftime even and emotions were high.
We came out strong in the second half, controlled the tempo and were rewarded in the 81st minute with a great near post goal from Ben McKendry off a Mattie Gibbons service from deep. 3-2 Lobos and in command. We were comfortably burning minutes off the clock until the 88th minute. A bad loss of possession in the midfield and UAB countered. World class finish and the scoreboard read 3-3…..a roller coaster of a match…with two minutes remaining in regulation. 15 seconds left in the match and we had a final chance with a quality cross from the right.
Wehan made a run across the UAB GK's face, but couldn't find the ball. Clearance into our half and it looked the clock would run out and we would face overtime. Hold on a minute….the UAB goalkeeper threw an elbow at Wehan as the ball bounced near midfield. The referee's assistant saw the blatant foul and notified the center official. If a foul is committed in the penalty box while the ball is in play, a penalty is called and penalty kick is awarded. With 7 seconds remaining on the clock, after discussion amongst the officials, the center pointed to the PK spot, gave the UAB keeper a red card and opened the door for Michael Calderon to end the game from 12 yards. Calderon found only net. 4-3 Lobos and the clock hit zero off the ensuing kickoff. What a victory! 19-4 shot advantage to the Lobos and Lisch only challenged to make one save. UAB had four chances and finished three of them. Big win for the Lobos with #21 Old Dominion and Conference USA leader three days away on the road.
LOBOS VS #21 OLD DOMINION, SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2ND, 7:00 PM, NORFOLK, VIRGINIA
Old Dominion was sitting atop the conference standings and could clinch the conference championship with a victory. The boys were ready for this one. We recovered well and everyone was healthy. We were without the service of Michael Kafari, who picked up his 5th yellow card versus UAB and consequently, would have to sit this one out per NCAA rules. Smooth trip across the country, late afternoon arrival and we were greeted with rain and cold weather. The boys enjoyed the change in scenery and we had a spirited evening training session on the ODU campus.
Kick off the following night couldn't have been better. Clear skies, 58 degrees and the field was immaculate. We started out strong and had the better of the match early against an excellent ODU squad. In the 17th minute, a service from deep tipped by James Rogers into the net. 1-0 Lobos. The game evened out with both teams creating chances. This was proving to be a classico! The announcer called out one minute left in the half as the clock headed towards 45:00. Chris Wehan stripped the ODU right back of the ball in the final minute and hit a right footed bending ball into the far corner…..big time finish and what we needed. 2-0 Lobos going into halftime.
What a boost and great lead to take into the second half. ODU let it roll the final 45 minutes. They pushed four guys up high, held a high line and went all out in the attack. It was a matter of who would score first…..the ODU committed attack or the Lobo counter attack. We absorbed a lot of pressure, but held strong. Several chances to find the third goal and seal the game presented themselves, but we couldn't find the net. Finally, in the 80th minute, Ben McKendry beat his man inside the box and drew an all-important penalty. Calderon stepped to the PK spot and buried it high. 3-0 Lobos and ODU lost steam as we closed the match out. 3-0 Lobos in a great match and victory. I can't say enough about our team.
One final regular season match remains at home and a great way to send off our seniors. Hope everyone can make it out this Saturday night.
LOBOS VS KENTUCKY, SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9TH, 5:00 PM LOBO SOCCER COMPLEX
Thanks for all your support.
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