Men's Soccer: Lobos Fall in NCAA Second Round
St. Louis, Mo. - The University of New Mexico mens soccer team came within a fingertip of upsetting No. 18 Saint Louis University tonight in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Instead the Lobos fell, 1-0, to the talented Billiken squad. New Mexico (18-4-0) was not able to overcome a first half goal by SLU (15-3-2) and was shutout for just the third time this season.
Saint Louis came into the game with a No. 18 national ranking, 10 national titles, and 42 NCAA Tournament appearances. The Lobos came in with their best record in school history but only their second trip to the NCAA Tournament. Despite being the apparent underdogs, the New Mexico put on one of its best defensive efforts of the season.
In the first half, the Lobos only allowed two SLU shots. However, one of those shots would prove to be costly. In the 18th minute, Nick Walls broke down the right side and centered a pass to Jack Jewsbury. Lobo keeper Andrew Weber was partially screened from the play and did not see Jewsburys shot from 15 yards out in the middle. The ball was played low and to Webers right, but Weber was able to dive and get a finger on it.
I was screened from the ball, but I saw it at the last second, stated Weber. I dove and got my fingertips on it but it wasnt enough. All I could do is watch it trickle slowly over the line.
The score gave SLU the, 1-0, lead and got the 1,722 fans in attendance on their feet. The Lobos tried to strike back in the 36th minute when freshman Ryan McVay took a free kick from the right corner. Freshman Jeff Rowland got a foot on the cross but Billiken goalie Martin Hutton was able to get enough of his fingertips on the ball to make the save and keep the 1-0 lead going into the break.
SLU came out in the second half pounding the ball in on the Lobo defense. Walls and Jason Cole, the 9th leading scorer in the nation, tried again and again to get past the Lobos back line of Brandon Moss, Danny Bills, Casey Thompson, and Stian Eriksen. Despite keeping the ball on their end of the field for most of the second frame, the Billikens could only manage five shots on goal. Weber denied Cole with two great saves on headers, and Bills saved a goal by heading out another shot. Every time SLU got close, someone from the Lobos stepped up and kept them from scoring.
The last good chance UNM had to tie the game came in the 92nd minute when freshman Ben Ashwill broke away down the left side and drew the keeper out. Ashwill centered the ball to Eriksen who got a shot off, but was denied by Hutton.
The Lobos end the season with the most wins in school history (18), the most wins to start a season (8), a perfect record at home (10-0-0), the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation regular season and tournament crowns, and their second straight trip to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
It is definitely a disappointment not to win, stated senior midfielder Junro Narita. But looking back on this season, I couldnt be happier. From the start of camp when we all came together, I knew we were going to have a great year. I am so proud of what we accomplished this year.
Narita and fellow senior Javier Carrasco finished their careers as Lobos tonight. UNM returns two juniors, seven sophomores, 12 freshmen and four redshirts for next season. That includes 34 of their 45 goals, 31 of their 40 assists, and nine of 11 starters.
|Team|1st|2nd|OT|OT|Total| |New Mexico|0|0|-|-|0| |Saint Louis|1|0|-|-|1|
Scoring Summary SLU 17:31 Jack Jewsbury (10), Assist Nick Walls (5) Walls broke into the box and sent a cross to Jewsbury who beat Weber to the left side.
Final Statistical Summary |Statistic|UNM|SLU| |Overall Shots|3|13| |Shots on Goal|2|6| |Offsides|1|5| |Corner Kicks|0|5| |Fouls|19|25|