ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The ninth-ranked University of New Mexico men’s soccer team wanted to send off their senior class with a special performance. That performance included goals, goals and more goals as UNM posted a 6-0 shutout win over Houston Baptist (4-10-2, 2-6-2 MPSF) on Senior Night.
UNM got their six goals from six different players, which included seniors Levi Rossi and Devon Sandoval. The shutout was the team’s sixth consecutive clean sheet, which gives New Mexico a streak of 555 straight minutes without allowing a goal.
The Lobos found the back of the net within the match’s first eleven minutes. A Houston Baptist foul gave UNM’s Blake Smith a free kick just outside the far edge of the box. The senior whipped a curling cross into the box that found the head of Ben McKendry at the far post. McKendry’s fourth goal of the season was one of five goals scored in the first half by New Mexico.
The Lobos’ leading scorer Devon Sandoval was able to score his 14th goal of the season off another UNM free kick. As the ball ricocheted off a Houston Baptist defender and another Lobo, Sandoval buried the shot from near the edge of the box.
Another deflection off a Husky defender would kick start the scoring action of New Mexico’s third goal. It would be James Rogers, who took a Devon Sandoval pass, and found the back of the net from a couple yards out. Rogers pushed the lead to 3-0 before the Lobos tacked on their fourth goal less than four minutes later.
It was poetic to see a second senior score a goal on Senior Night, and Levi Rossi’s goal in the 35th minute was even more poetic as it came after a great solo effort. Rossi received the ball past midfield and dribbled while surveying the field looking to cross. Rossi continued to dribble to the edge of the box and elected to take the shot himself after dribbling halfway across the field. Rossi’s shot from just inside the box was drilled past the keeper to the near post.
Lawrence Robledo would cap off the half with his second goal of the year on an assist from James Rogers. Rogers received a pass deep in the box and drove even deeper before laying it for Robledo who put the score into the top left corner of the goal.
By halftime New Mexico was in control with a 5-0 lead. They held the advantage is shots (11-5) and corners (5-3). The scoring pace was slower in the second half as New Mexico went over 27 minutes before receiving their sixth and final goal.
In a play that was eerily similar to UNM’s first goal, Adrian Mora Delgado would head home a textbook goal off a Michael Calderon corner. The entry ball from Calderon, much like Smith’s free kick on the first goal, was a blistering ball played right to the head of Mora Delgado.
The win gives Head Coach Jeremy FIshbein his 152nd career win at New Mexico. That ties him with his former mentor, Klaus Weber, for the all-time wins record at the University of New Mexico.
New Mexico (15-3-0, 8-2-0 MPSF) will begin preparations for the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament. The Lobos are the tournament host and all tournament games will be played at the UNM Soccer Complex. UNM, as regular season champions, earned a first-round bye and will face the lowest remaining seed on Friday, November 9 at 7:30 p.m.