ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – It was bound to happen eventually.
The University of New Mexico men's soccer team had somehow failed to score a single first half-goal in any of its first eight matches. That changed in a big way Wednesday night against the University of San Francisco as they struck for three in the first half en route to a 3-0 victory in front of 1,726 fans at the UNM Soccer Complex.
"I think we got everything we wanted to out of this game," UNM head coach Jeremy Fishbein said. "We had a good first half, scored good goals, got a shutout, a lot of guys got minutes, and we got to rest some guys."
Chris Wehan was in the right place at the right time to open the scoring in the 18th minute. Lucas Seligman sent in a cross that deflected off Niko Hansen right to Wehan who was all alone right near the penalty dot. He easily slotted it behind the keeper to give UNM (6-2-1) all the scoring it would need.
"Our coach challenged us today," Seligman said. "He wanted us to come out strong, get that first goal in the first half, set the tone and go from there. It worked pretty perfectly."
The highlight of the match was New Mexico's next goal. Freshman Simon Spangenberg received a pass from Josh Goss in the center of the pitch. He took a couple touches and unleashed an absolute laser that beat the keeper in the top left corner from about 35 yards out.
"I didn't think," the Brussels, Belgium, native said. "I had the ball, I saw the goal, and I just shot it. I was really happy about it, but this was a team win."
The final goal came just a few minutes before halftime. Goss sent in a cross from the near sideline and a USF defender attempted to clear it. The clearance, however, went straight to the back of the net for an own goal.
The Lobos outshot the Dons (2-9-0) 17-10, and UNM keeper Jason Beaulieu made four saves as the Lobos shut out their third opponent of the season.
With a sizeable lead in the second half, Fishbein was able to get extended minutes for several players. Olav Hovstad, who had only played about 40 seconds this season, came on and played the final half hour. James Bannon-Schneebeck saw his first action of the season at keeper and was very aggressive coming off his line to snuff any potential attack by the Dons in the final 19 minutes. Redshirt freshmen Gabriel Camera andJustin Hix played the final 10 minutes, the first collegiate action for each of them.
"We got a lot of guys minutes, and they deserve that," Fishbein said. "It was great seeing guys like Olav, Jimmy, Gabbo and Hix get their first minutes of the season."
The Lobos return to conference play Sunday night when they host Kentucky at 6.
New Mexico (17:12):Wehan (Seligman, Hansen)
New Mexico (28:45):Spangenberg (Goss)
New Mexico (42:47): Own goal
New Mexico: none
San Francisco: Kaminski, yellow (43:44)
San Francisco: Buckingham (GK), De Luna, Padilla, Garrett, Kaminski, Bowman, Ramos, Ashworth, De La Torre, Crow, Gould
New Mexico: Beaulieu (GK), Seligman, Rochowski, Goss, Hansen, Khouri, Domiciano, Wehan, Gurule, Herrera, Dye
The Lobos host Kentucky Sunday night at 6 in a key Conference USA matchup.