MIAMI, FLA. --- The 24th-ranked New Mexico Lobos fell to No. 15/22 FIU on the road on Saturday by a score of 4-0 despite a career-high 10 saves by senior Jason Beaulieu. FIU entered the match undefeated on the season, leading in the Conference USA standings with a total of 13 points, just three ahead of UNM.
With the loss, the Lobos fall to 8-4-2 overall but suffer just their second loss of the conference season (3-2-1). FIU improves to 10-0-3, 5-0-1 C-USA.
The Lobos kicked off the match with a pair of early shots that looked to put the momentum in favor of UNM. However it was the FIU squad that scored first, converting a penalty kick just 21 minutes into the match for an early 1-0 advantage.
"It was really just kind of a perfect storm tonight," head coach Jeremy Fishbein said. "I thought we opened the game really well but that was a pretty disappointing PK call to be honest. I haven't been able to look at the video yet but it was unfortunate to go down 1-0.
"I thought we closed out the first half well but in the second half, we played to their strengths and made some mistakes. We're a very good team but a loss is a loss, no matter the margin. We have to quickly put this one behind us and be ready to play on Wednesday."
The Panthers, who entered the match ranked number one in the nation in scoring offense with 3.08 goals per game, were limited to just one goal in the first half by the UNM defense. In the second half however, FIU rapid fired on goal for the eventual 4-0 victory.
On the night, FIU outshot UNM 21-8 including a 14-4 shot on goal advantage, though the Lobos did hold the edge in corner kicks 6-5.
Senior Luke Lawrence closed in on goal just before halftime looking to even the score before the end of the first frame, but the good look didn't materialize and the teams remained 1-0 at the break.
FIU scored three times in a span of 26 minutes to put the game out of reach. C-USA Preseason Player of the Year Santiago Patino, who leads FIU's scoring efforts on the season, was kept silent on the night. Instead, fellow C-USA Preseason Team member Paul Marie led the Panthers with three points on a goal and an assist. Marie entered the match with five goals and two assists on the season.
The final two FIU goals came after outstanding saves by Beaulieu in the box. Both were deflected by Beaulieu, collected on a rebound and fired out of reach for the score.
Of UNM's eight shots on the night, redshirt-sophomore Devin Boyce posted three followed by junior Antoine Vial who shot two. Both Boyce and Vial registered shots on goal and so did sophomore Aaron Scott and freshman Nick Taylor.
Beaulieu takes the loss which makes him 8-4-2 while FIU's Hugo Fauroux improves to 9-0-3 on the season. The loss ends a six-game unbeaten streak for UNM.
The Lobos are set to return to action on Wednesday, Oct. 25 when they take on Denver in the "Lobos Love Pink" game at 7 p.m.. The match will be the next-to-last home event of the regular season prior to senior night on Saturday, Oct. 28 against Charlotte at 6 p.m..
UNM will complete regular-season play at Old Dominion on Friday, Nov. 3 before looking toward potential post-season play.