ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. ---
The University of New Mexico men's soccer team claimed its second straight shutout in as many games on Sunday night over Cal Poly by a score of 2-0 at the UNM Soccer Complex. With the victory, the tournament hosts earn the overall win of the 2016 TLC Plumbing and Utility Invitational as the only team to win both of its games.
Watch UNM's Goals!
- Aaron Herrera
- Chris Wehan
In addition to winning the tournament with two shutouts, the Lobos (2-2-0) have yet to allow a goal in the course of play in their first four games of the season. Four Lobos earned spots on the All-Tournament Team including junior Jason Beaulieu
, senior Niko Hansen
, redshirt-freshman Tom Smart
and senior Chris Wehan
"I thought it was a really mature performance today, I thought they played it right," head coach Jeremy Fishbein
said. "I thought one of our attacking guys was going to break it open in that second half…Eventually Chris did which was nice, he needed one. Overall it was a mature performance, we didn't panic and we managed the game really well."
In an aggressive start, the Lobos posted two corner kicks in just the first seven minutes of play. Senior Josh Goss
lined up for both kicks and launched the ball into the box where Hansen, the tournament's Offensive Most Valuable Player, waited to deliver a solid play. His effort was a narrow miss, however as the Cal Poly (0-4-0) defense rejected the attempt.
The Lobos broke the deadlock in the 24th minute when Goss took another corner kick from the right side. The senior placed it in the box where it was rebounded and reset on the right. After a scramble in the front of the box, it was sophomore and reigning Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week that put the ball away into the bottom left corner of the net. Senior Chris Gurule
and Hansen assisted on the play that put the Lobos up 1-0.
"Right now it's definitely the best chemistry we've had in the last two years for sure," Herrera said. "Last year we were shaky, it's something we've been working on a lot. We're always there to cover one another."
Both teams finished the first half with just one shot on goal in a strong defensive effort by both squads. The Lobos emerged from the period with a slight 4-3 shot edge and a commanding 5-2 advantage in corner kicks to send UNM into the locker room up 1-0.
Beaulieu, who was named the tournament's Defensive Most Valuable Player, notched one save in the first half compared to zero for Cal Poly keeper Eric Kam.
Just six minutes into the second period, the Lobos nearly took a 2-0 lead when Herrera and Goss batted the ball back and forth on the right side of the net. The pair maneuvered past the Mustang defense and looked to be close to adding an insurance goal for UNM, but a cross from Herrera just in front of the net was intercepted by keeper Kam.
New Mexico finally notched its second goal of the game when Wehan, the tournament's Most Valuable Player, took on a defender outside the box and shot into the bottom right corner for the eventual 2-0 victory. The goal marks the first of the season for Wehan, who led the team in scoring last season with 22 points on 10 goals and two assists.
"My time came and I wasn't worried about it, it's been great, great performances, great goals by Niko, it was good to see Aaron get a goal today," Wehan said. "I'm going to do my part to help this team win, that's the most important thing to me. If the goals come, the goals come, if they don't and we're winning I'm just as happy."
Overall, New Mexico and Cal Poly matched in shots at 10 apiece while the Lobos maintained a hefty advantage in corner kicks, 9-3. Beaulieu improves to 2-2 on the season and finished the game with two saves while Kam falls to 0-2 after collecting four.
The Lobos are scheduled to return to action on Friday, Sept. 9 when they host their second tournament of 2016. They will face CSU Bakersfield on Friday at 7 p.m. in their first matchup of the Grange and Ashwill Memorial Invitational. On Sunday, the Lobos will complete the tournament facing Grand Canyon at home at 6 p.m.
2016 TLC Utility and Plumbing Invitational All-Tournament Team:
GK - Jason Beaulieu
DEF - Tom Smart
DEF - Shane Steffes - CSUN
DEF - Gabe Robinson - CSUN
DEF - Kody Wakasa - Cal Poly
MF - Chris Wehan
MF - Troy Pujats - AFA
MF - Tucker Bone - AFA
FW - Justin Dhillon - Cal Poly
FW - Niko Hansen
FW - Nicholas Grinde - CSUN
Offensive Most Valuable Player - Niko Hansen
Defensive Most Valuable Player - Jason Beaulieu
Tournament Most Valuable Player - Chris Wehan