By Dan Studley, for GoLobos.com
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The 12th-ranked New Mexico Lobos made it four straight victories as they swept past the Missouri State Bears 2-0 in front of a strong crowd of 1,184 on a windy night at the UNM Soccer Complex. Oniel Fisher scored the winner in the 73rd minute, and Chris Wehan added the insurance in the 84th minute.
"We were pretty good tonight," UNM head coach Jeremy Fishbein said. "It was just a matter of staying the course. (Missouri State) was a team that was going to try and score either in transition or off a set piece. That's what we were prepared for. We were good on the ball, we were patient, and we didn't give them any openings.
"We talked about the importance of this (four-game stretch), and we took care of business and won all four. I think that's the mark of a quality team."
Missouri State lived up to its defensive reputation for most of the match as they shut down any attack UNM mustered.
The opening goal came on 73 minutes, as Riley McGovern’s inch-perfect through ball into the area found an on-running Fisher into the area. His deflected shot rustled the back of the net for his fourth career goal and third of the season.
"It was a great slip ball by Riley into me," Fisher said. "It was all on Riley. I just lifted my head up, put it on target and it went in."
The play began with a great run forward by left back Mathew Gibbons. The ball eventually found its way to Josh Dye, who lofted a perfect pass across the pitch to McGovern to begin the scoring play.
"He gave me a lot of time to put my head up," McGovern said of the pass. "Oniel showed up in a good area and the rest was pretty easy."
Minutes later McGovern very nearly doubled the advantage, but blazed his shot from just inside the area into the side netting and out for a goal kick.
With the Bears committing men forward to find the equalizing goal, the Lobos sealed the victory on 84 minutes. After composed build-up play on the edge of the area, Wehan advanced into the area and rolled his shot into the left-hand corner of the net.
"It was a really mature performance," said Fishbein. "We committed only six fouls and were pretty disciplined. I think they only had one shot all game. This was a good team we played."
The first quarter of play was a cagey affair with the Missouri State Bears proving a tough defensive line to break down in the opening exchanges,
The game's first chance fell on 25 minutes, as Riley McGovern’s long through ball had the wind behind it and fell into the path of Niko Hansen. Hansen’s neat first touch set him up one-on-one with the Bears' Addison Watson, but his wayward effort only found the side netting.
The Lobos had the games second opportunity on 36 minutes, as Fisher found space on the edge of the six yard area to shoot, but was closed down and his deflected shot was sent wide for a corner.
It took until the 50th minute for the games first shot on target. Ben McKendry found space on the edge of the area to drive his effort goalwards from a rolling loose ball. The Bears shot-stopper Watson could only parry the effort around his left-hand post for the Lobos' second corner of the game.
UNM keeper Jason Beaulieu tied a UNM freshman record with his fifth clean sheet of the season, despite not being asked to make a single save.
"We did a good job defensively," Fishbein said. "I think (goalkeeper coach) Savva Biller did a good job preparing the keeper with how to tactically deal with the wind, and I think we did very well in terms of that."
New Mexico (72:39): Fisher (McGovern, Dye)
New Mexico (83:33): Wehan (McKendry)
New Mexico: Beaulieu (GK), Gibbons, McGovern, Miele, McKendry, Rogers, Fisher, Hansen, Wehan, Gurule, Dye
Missouri State: Watson (GK), Griffin, Fawke, Maher, Wood, Turner, Oslica, Roberts. Lightbourne, Besong, Barbero
All four of Fisher's career goals have been game-winners
The Lobos held an 11-1 advantage in shots
Andrew Weber also recorded five shutouts as a freshman keeper for UNM back in 2001
The Lobos travel to Conference USA foe Kentucky for a match Saturday, Oct. 18 at 5 p.m.