ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- The University of New Mexico men's soccer team (4-2-0) closed out the 2017 Grange and Ashwill Invitational with a 2-1 victory over UC Irvine (3-2-1) on Sunday night, coming away with the Tournament Championship. With the win, the Lobos extend their win streak to four and their unbeaten streak at the UNM Soccer Complex to 14 (12-0-2).
Four Lobos were named to the All-Tournament Team while junior Aaron Herrera and senior Jason Beaulieu were named Tournament MVP and Defensive MVP, respectively. The other two Lobos to make the squad were redshirt-sophomore Devin Boyce and sophomore Matthew Constant.
Overall, the match was full of energy on both sides as the teams combined for 22 shots, three yellow cards and a pair of red cards, resulting in the ejection of both UCI head coach Yossi Raz and UNM head coach Jeremy Fishbein.
"This was a great win by our guys, just a really gutsy performance," head coach Jeremy Fishbein said. "It was an interesting game .. there was a crazy goal off a deflection. We made some changes, brought in some energy, and in the end got a great goal to even it up from Antoine Vial.
"I felt in the second half we were very good. It was a matter of time but we got the second (goal). I think we made it more interesting than it needed to be. They were a good team, this was a great, come-from-behind win and I'm proud of the guys. Now we have a chance to get our legs back under us, get our team healthy and open up Conference USA play next Saturday night."
UCI Irvine took the lead early, putting up the first goal of the match in just the 10th minute. Mario Ortiz took a shot that was blocked by a Lobo defender before his brother, Jose Ortiz, put back the rebound to get the Anteaters on the board, 1-0.
The Lobos threatened when, in the 29th minute, junior transfer Antoine Vial picked up the ball at midfield and flew past the UCI defenders toward the UNM attacking third. Vial slowed to look for senior Sam Gleadle coming up the left side, just long enough for the UCI defense to catch up and prevent the shot.
Vial's momentum didn't quit however, and the new Lobo tied up the match in the 38th minute. He shot rapid-fire on goal, picked up his own rebound and, from about five yards out, buried the ball into the right side of the net for the equalizer, 1-1.
At the half, the Lobos led in shots, 9-3 and corner kicks 3-0, despite the even score. Both teams registered two shots on goal in the first half, yielding a save each for UNM keeper Beaulieu and UCI's Alex Waldron. Beaulieu improves to 4-2-0 with the win while Waldron takes his first loss of the season and is now 2-1-1. Both keepers spent all 90 minutes between the posts.
After the half, the Lobos were hungry for the lead. UNM took it in the 51st minute when Herrera, who registered a pair of assists on both of the Lobos' goals against CSUN on Friday, notched his first goal of the season. Boyce took a corner from the right side and sent it quick to Herrera. Herrera passed it to sophomore Aaron Scott who quickly returned it for Herrera to finish it off. Scott earns his first assist of the season on the play that put UNM up 2-1.
The Lobos nearly made it a two-goal game in the 78th minute when UNM earned a penalty kick. Senior Sam Gleadle took the shot but Waldron made an excellent diving save to preserve the 2-1 score.
On the day, UNM led in shots 15-7 and 5-2 in corner kicks. The Lobos also had five shots on goal to four for the Anteaters. Leading in the category was Gleadle and Vial, who posted a pair of shots on goal apiece.
The Lobos are set to return to action at home on Saturday, Sept. 16 vs Kentucky in UNM's 2017 Conference USA opener.
The Lobos won the 2017 Grange and Ashwill Invitational and were followed in second by CSUN, third by UC Irvine and Denver rounded out the teams in fourth.
2017 Grange and Ashwill Invitational All-Tournament Team:
Aaron Herrera – NM
Devin Boyce – NM
Jason Beaulieu – NM
Matthew Constant – NM
Emmanuel Usen – CSUN
Darion Mealing – CSUN
Ivan Canales – UCI
Mario Ortiz – UCI
Graham Smith – Denver
Jacob Stensson – Denver
Offensive MVP – Emmanuel Usen – CSUN
Defensive MVP – Jason Beaulieu – NM
Tournament MVP – Aaron Herrera – NM