DENVER, Colo. – If spring soccer is about getting better, UNM's men's soccer team accomplished that in spades on Saturday.
The University of New Mexico men's soccer team remained perfect in the Spring with a 2-1 win over the Colorado School of Mines and a convincing 3-0 victory over Creighton University in a pair of matches played in Denver, Colorado. The two wins ran UNM's record in the Spring season to 4-0-0.
UNM opened up Saturday's play with an abbreviated match vs. Colorado School of Mines. Going with a young lineup of Andy Rios in goal, Rus Bigege, Nick Rochowski, Matt Constant, Chris Lovato, Matt Dorsey, Kasper Kajermo, Simon Spangenberg, Devin Boyce, Gabriel Camera and Niko Hansen, the Lobos turned in a tense 2-1 victory.
Playing a team that lost to Cal Poly Pomona in the NCAA Tournament last year in the quarterfinals, the Lobos needed to come from behind after conceding an early score against the run of play. However, UNM netted two with Chris Wehanslotting one home in the 37th minute and Aaron Herrera, off the bench, tallied off a rebound what would hold to be the game-winner in the 42nd minute of the 45-minute contest.
"It was an abbreviated game up at their place, and we played some young guys," said head coach Jeremy Fishbein. "It was a quality performance. Good to win that game."
After a short break, UNM lined up again one more time, this time against Creighton. Creighton was an Elite Eight team a year ago and ranked No. 1 last year for eight straight weeks (starting 15-0-0 and ending up with a school record 19 wins), setting up a pretty big match for a Spring season game. UNM changed the lineup, going with Jason Beaulieu in net, and lineup of Lucas Seligman, Matt Constant, Aaron Herrera, Nick Rochowski, Chris Gurule, Patrick Khouri, Chris Wehan, Josh Goss, Niko Hansen and Luke Lawrence.
"We put an older lineup out for Creighton, and we had to with the game earlier in the morning, there was some fatigue there," said Fishbein.
After a scoreless first 40, it looked like it would stay that way until halftime. Devin Boyce, a starter in game one, entered as a sub in game two and opened the scoring in the 41st minute, and that would be all that UNM would need.
The Lobos added two more markers in the second half, one on an own goal that was forced off a UNM corner. A Niko Hansen burner in the 71st minute, his third of the Spring, was the final tally.
Beaulieu now has 180 minutes without conceding a goal with the group of Herrera, Rochowski, Constant and Seligman in front of him. Boyce's winner was also his second of the Spring
"One of the goals of our Spring is to really test the guys and create some challenging situations. Two matches in one day creates a mental and physical overload, but I must say that was a very complete performance," said Fishbein.
UNM will now prepare for next week's halfway mark of the Spring schedule with its annual trip to Taos to take on Air Force and Fort Lewis at Taos Eco Park. The Lobos will play their only home Spring match the following weekend, April 23, vs. UC-Colorado Springs. The Lobos close out their spring in Denver vs Denver University on April 30.