Mens Soccer: Lobos Down San Diego State, 2-1, in Conference Opener
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The University of New Mexico mens soccer team opened their Mountain Pacific Sports Federation season with a 2-1 win over San Diego State this afternoon at the UNM Soccer Complex. The Lobos (11-2-0, 1-0-0 MPSF) got second-half goals from senior Junro Narita and freshman Ben Ashwill, then held off a late Aztec rally to earn their third straight victory. Their 11 wins are the most for a UNM team since 1997 when the Lobos finished 13-7-0.
Despite coming into the game with a losing record, the Aztecs (4-9-1, 0-2-0 MPSF) had impressive showings in two games earlier this week. SDSU upset No. 7 Loyola-Marymount on Wednesday, 3-2 in overtime, in San Diego, Calif. Then they played conference foe UNLV tough on Friday before falling 2-1. The Lobos came into the game nursing some minor ailments to major players. Junior Micah Newman and freshman Matt Chavez, both starters, did not play due to injuries, and Ashwills participation was a game-time decision due to a nagging ankle problem. As a result, the stage was set for an upset this afternoon. Fortunately for the crowd of over 2,000 Lobo fans, UNM was able to pull out the all-important conference win.
The Lobos have made a habit of staring games slowly, only scoring nine of their 29 season goals in the first-half. This afternoon, UNM tried mount an offense with seven shots and five corner kicks. Late in the first frame, sophomore Eric Carlson fed a streaking freshman Casey Thompson down the right side. Thompson then crossed the ball to fellow freshman Erik Bagwell, who headed it inches wide. This was typical of the just-missed scoring chances UNM had in the first period.
It did not take long in the second-half for the Lobos to break the scoreless tie. In the 49th minute, Narita stopped a cross just outside of the box on the right side. He made a quick move to his left, then fired a shot past Aztec goalie Brian Barnes. It was Naritas third goal of the season and gave UNM a 1-0 lead.
New Mexico was playing excellent defense up to that point, only having allowed one shot-on-goal in the first half. All the same, UNM still wanted to get an insurance goal. In the 84th minute, freshman Lance Watson sent a chip-shot down the left side of the box to junior Stian Eriksen. Eriksen sent the ball back across the middle where Ashwill was there to put in his MPSF-leading ninth goal of the season, giving UNM a 2-0 lead.
It was a good thing the Lobos got one more score because SDSU struck back with just 1:07 remaining to play. Sophomore Eric Wohl, who beat UNM last season with an overtime goal, fired a shot from 20 yards out. A surprised Andrew Weber made the save, but could not control the rebound. Aztec freshman Raul Batista was there to put in the score and bring SDSU to within a goal.
With just two seconds left in the game, Aztec sophomore Drew Picone fired a shot from thirty yards out. This time Weber made his seventh save of the game collected the rebound, giving the Lobos the win.
UNM next plays Air Force on Friday at 7:00 p.m. (M.D.T.) in the UNM Soccer Complex. The game follows a Mountain West Conference match-up between the Lobo womens team and the Air Force womens squad which begins at 5:00 p.m. (M.D.T.). Earlier in todays action, the Lobo women tied No. 24 Utah, 0-0, at the UNM Soccer Complex.
|Score by Period|1st|2nd|OT|OT|Total| |SDSU|0|1|-|-|1| |New Mexico|0|2|-|-|2|
Scoring Summary: UNM - 48:20 Junro Narita (3), unassisted UNM - 83:34 Ben Ashwill (9), assist Lance Watson (5), Stian Eriksen (2) SDSU - Raul Bautista (1), assist Eric Wohl (4)
|Shots on Goal|8|9|