SOUTH BEND, IND --- The University of New Mexico men’s soccer team dropped its second game of the season on Sunday evening, falling to No. 9 Notre Dame (2-0) on the road by a score of 1-0. Notre Dame’s only goal came in the 40th minute on a penalty kick and marks the second straight game for the Lobos that a penalty kick decided the outcome.
The match wrapped up the 2016 Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament where two Lobos were named to the All-Tournament Team. Senior Chris Gurule and sophomore Aaron Herrera were each named to the team for their outstanding defensive efforts.
“We played really well today, I’m really proud of these guys,” head coach Jeremy Fishbein said. “We created a lot of chances and dominated the offense, but we made a mistake and they converted on it. Two losses is not the way you want to start the season but I believe in this team, good things will come.”
The Lobo offense dominated throughout the contest, earning a 7-4 edge in shots in the first period before outshooting the Fighting Irish 11-2 in the second. The Lobos also held the advantage in corner kicks, earning four opportunities in the first 14 minutes to Notre Dame’s three. Overall, UNM amassed 13 corner-kick opportunities to five for Notre Dame.
Of the Lobos’ six shots on goal, senior Niko Hansen posted two while senior Josh Goss, senior Chris Wehan, freshman Matthew Constant and junior Sam Gleadle notched the other four.
Herrera opened the contest firing for the Lobos, launching a shot just 1:40 into the match before UNM posted two straight corner kicks that failed to convert. Notre Dame responded in the third minute when the tournament’s Most Outstanding Offensive Player, Jon Gallagher, worked his way past the Lobo defenders and went one-on-one against keeper Jason Beaulieu, but the junior made an outstanding save to keep Notre Dame off the board.
The save marked the first of three on the night for Beaulieu, who falls to 0-2 on the season.
The New Mexico offense created several close chances, including a scramble in front of the goal midway through the first half. Wehan crossed the ball in front of the box from the right side where Hansen was waiting by the left post. Hansen was almost able to punch the ball over the line but Notre Dame’s keeper collected the ball to squelch the opportunity.
At the 40-minute mark, two straight fouls on New Mexico led to Notre Dame’s Brandon Aubrey netting his second goal of the season on a penalty kick to put the Lobos down 1-0 headed into the locker room at the half.
UNM came out on fire in the second half. Just 49 seconds into the period Hansen shot one that soared over the top of the net before Goss took two straight corner kicks. Back-and-forth play continued throughout the remaining 40 minutes with near misses on both sides of the ball, including a swift cross from Herrera to Hansen in the 63rd minute. Hanson fired a shot that looked like it might equalize the score, but an excellent save from Irish keeper Chris Hubbard thwarted the effort.
The Lobos fall to 0-2 on the season after dropping their first two matches of 2016 against ranked opponents. UNM returns to action on Friday, Sept. 2 when it hosts the TLC Plumbing and Utility Invitational. The Lobos will face CSU Northridge on Friday at 7 p.m. (MT) before taking on Cal Poly on Sunday, Sept. 4 at 6 p.m.