ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- The University of New Mexico men's soccer team extended its scoring streak to eight on Sunday night while claiming its first victory over a ranked opponent this season. The Lobos topped the visiting No. 25 South Carolina Gamecocks at the UNM soccer complex to move up to fifth in the Conference USA standings and remain undefeated at home.
"It was a good win today," head coach Jeremy Fishbeinsaid. "Two to one is really not indicative of the game, that was a game we needed to put away early. That's kind of been our Achilles heel: finishing good chances. That being said, I'm proud of the guys. We had two fantastic goals tonight and good defending."
Sunday's game marked just the second time in UNM history that the Lobos have claimed the victory over South Carolina. Overall, the Lobos outshot South Carolina 18-7 including an 8-3 margin in the first half, but it took until the 37th minute for the Lobos to gain the lead.
Senior Chris Wehan netted his fifth goal of the season to put the Lobos up 1-0 eight minutes before halftime. Wehan received a pass through the Gamecock back line from junior Sam Gleadle before firing from the right side of the box into the upper left corner of the net. The goal marked the first time this season that UNM has scored first against a ranked opponent and the Lobos are now 9-0-1 when scoring first this season. See Wehan's goal HERE.
Gleadle nearly made it 2-0 four minutes later when he beat out the defense to go one on one with keeper William Pyle, the Oct. 17 C-USA Defensive Player of the Week. Gleadle fired high, but grazed the crossbar to keep it 1-0.
At the half, the Lobos were the lone squad to post a single shot on goal. In addition, the teams were even in corner kicks at the break, 2-2.
The Lobos dominated offensively in the second half, posting 10 shots to just four for the Gamecocks, but it was South Carolina that struck next to even the score.
In the 57th minute, USC's Bjorn Gudjonsson scored his sixth goal of the season after receiving a pass from 18 yards. Gudjonsson flipped a header from the center of the box into the top left corner of the net to knot it up, 1-1.
UNM responded eight minutes later when Hansen, who entered the game leading the conference in goals, netted his 10th goal of the season. Hansen fired from inside the box into the bottom right corner to put the Lobos back on top, 2-1. The goal marked Hansen's fifth gamewinner of 2016 and also the first time this season that UNM has scored two goals on a ranked opponent.
Junior Jason Beaulieu earns his ninth win of the season, improving to 9-6-1 while Pyle falls to 9-4-1 overall. Beaulieu registered one save on the night as Pyle posted two.
The win over No. 25 South Carolina not only helps the Lobos in the national rankings, but will also help determine the seeding of the 2016 Conference USA Tournament. With the top seven teams earning a berth, the Lobos are currently fifth in the standings with 10 points. South Carolina drops to third with 13 points.
After suffering four close losses to ranked opponents this season, the Lobos are peaking at the right time. UNM has just one more regular-season match scheduled on Friday, Nov. 4 at the UNM Soccer Complex at 7 p.m. before determining its placement in the 2016 C-USA Tournament.
"I'm excited about where this team is at," Fishbein said. "We're playing very well right now and we'll get a couple of days to recover before we play one more at home and look to keep the streak alive at home."