HOUSTON, Texas – The No. 4 New Mexico men’s soccer team overcame a 13-hour postponement due to inclement weather to defeat Houston Baptist University (2-5-0, 0-1-0 MPSF) 2-1 behind two second-half goals on Sunday morning. Senior Nik Robson and sophomore James Rogers scored in the final half an hour of play to give the Lobos the win in the first-ever match-up between the two programs.
The weather that forced the re-scheduling of the match was still lingering in the Houston area. The Huskies and Lobos played Sunday’s match in strong winds and light precipitation.
“The whole trip was a real challenge. It was indecision right up until game time last night, and then we ended up playing at a different site on a different day. I thought our guys responded to the adversity by playing well,” said Head Coach Jeremy Fishbein.
The Lobos’ fell into old habits and gave up an early goal to the Huskies. UNM carried into the match 179 consecutive minutes of shutout play. That streak was snapped at 195 minutes with Kristopher Tyrpak’s goal (16th minute) off a rebound from a Thilo Borgmann shot. The goal was the second goal allowed by New Mexico in the last 385 minutes of action.
New Mexico was unable to get a first-half equalizer despite shots on goal from Devon Sandoval and Michael Kafari. The Lobos held the advantage in shots (5-3) and corners (5-0) in the first 45 minutes of action.
The tense wait for a game-tying goal would last nearly 20 minutes into the second half. The Lobos were aggressive as they peppered the HBU goal with shots as they forced Husky keeper Kevin Suarez to make three saves in the 62nd minute alone.
15 minutes later, UNM would get their second goal of the game (77th minute). James Rogers capitalized on a Blake Smith-Nik Robson combination of passes to score his fourth goal in his sixth game of 2012. Smith’s assist was his seventh of the season and kept pace with his fourth-place ranking nationally in the category.
Coach Fishbein and company didn’t relent after their second goal of the game as they out-shot the Huskies in the final 13 minutes of action. The trademark attacking style of New Mexico led them to double-up on Houston Baptist in shots at 16-8. They also held a massive advantage in corners at 12-1 for the match.
Victor Rodriguez had his busiest day in goal this season. The senior from Las Cruces was credited with a season-high four saves on Sunday morning.
“We really only made one mistake, and they pounced on it to get the early goal. We knew after that it would be tough going against a team in a defensive shell that was up one goal. We had to be really good attacking, and we got a wonderful goal from Nik Robson and another from James Rogers. We challenged ourselves a bit more than we needed to, but I thought it was a mature effort in dealing with the entire situation,” Coach Fishbein commented.
The win in the conference opener puts the New Mexico record at 8-1-0 (1-0-0 MPSF). The Lobos will return to Albuquerque for a weekend of action at the UNM Soccer Complex. UNM will first host Air Force on Friday, October 5th at 7 p.m. before welcoming in Denver on Sunday, October 7th at 1 p.m.