ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Oniel Fisher scored less than three minutes into the match and that would prove to be all the offense the fifth-ranked UNM men's soccer team needed as the Lobos defeated No. 13 Akron 1-0 in front of 2,895 fans at the UNM Soccer Complex Friday night.
The Lobos outshot Akron 20-5 and put eight shots on net. After Akron forced Lobo keeper Patrick Poblete to make a save just eight seconds in, the Zips managed just one shot on goal over the final 89:52 as the Lobo defense swarmed all over the pitch.
After Akron's chance early on, the Lobos quickly dominated play, and they capitalized on their first opportunity.
Christopher Wehan dribbled in from the near side and found Fisher all alone at the top of box. His shot eluded Akron’s keeper and snuck into the lower left corner of the net to give the Lobos a 1-0 lead after just 2:59.
UNM's pressure didn't relent. Wehan had a couple of great chances on a shot from inside the box that went just wide, and his effort off a free kick from about 25 yards in the 24th minute was touched over the crossbar.
Freshman Sam Gleadle than had a moment in the 38th minute. Fisher’s pass found him alone on the right side of the box but his shot hit the crossbar and ricocheted clear. At the end of the first half the Lobos held an 11-3 shot advantage.
After the break the Zips never truly threatened as they didn't record a single shot on goal, and only two shots total, in the second half.
Gleadle, meanwhile, kept applying pressure along with James Rogers and Niko Hansen. Gleadle put two shots on net while Hansen had a glorious opportunity in the 80th minute. He was all along on the right side of the box about nine yards out, but he mishit the ball and it sailed wide.
UNM withstood a little late pressure from the Zips, with the best chance coming on a shot in the 88th minute, but Ben McKendry blocked it and cleared it down the pitch.
Poblete earned his first win since Nov. 18, 2012.
New Mexico (2:59): Oniel Fisher (Christopher Wehan)
New Mexico: Poblete (GK), Gibbons, McGovern, Miele, McKendry, Rogers, Fisher, Hansen, Wehan, Gurule, Dye
Akron: Fenlason (GK), Souders, Abdul-Salaam, Radjen, Laryea, Gainford, Holthusen, Najem, Shultz, Dambrot, Quirk
"That's a nice way to start. Akron is a quality team. I felt good about us going in. It was a game that became a little more difficult than it needed to. We scored early, hit the post twice, had one cleared off the line. We needed that second goal. I think if we got that second goal then they would've come out a little more and we really could've opened them up." - Coach Jeremy Fishbein's thoughts on the game
"(Our success) started with the defense ... We're resilient. We were disciplined. Akron likes to control the ball, and they did. They made some nice passes, but they didn't get behind us. ... We were really disciplined. We were good." - Fishbein on the Lobos' defensive effort
"It gives us a lot of confidence going forward. It helps us believe that we can push on for great things. A clean sheet is a great way to start the season." - Poblete on his and the defense's performance
"It was a good combination with Wehan and I. He made a nice pass and I slid it past (the keeper)." - Fisher on his goal
- The Zips did not record a shot on goal over the final 58:17.
- Rogers, Fisher and Hansen all recorded three shots
- Fouls were New Mexico 13, Akron 11·
The Lobos are off until next weekend when they host The Lobo Invitational featuring American, UC Riverside and UCLA. UNM plays UC Riverside Friday night at 7 and UCLA on Sunday at 6 p.m.