ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The University of New Mexico men's soccer team earned its first win of the season with a thrilling 2-1 victory over No. 19 UC Santa Barbara at the UNM Soccer Complex Sunday night. Chris Wehan scored two goals for the second consecutive game as the Lobos (1-1-1) earned a share of the championship in the Grange & Ashwill Memorial Invitational.
Wehan finished as both the Tournament MVP and Offensive MVP after recording all four goals for UNM over the weekend.
"What more can you ask from the guy, five goals?" UNM head coach Jeremy Fishbein said with a laugh.
Wehan's play has been tremendous, but he was glad for his team to get its opening win of the season.
"I'm living on a high right now," he said, "but I couldn't be happier for the team. This was two tough games, coming from behind in both of them, but it shows a lot of the group to believe (that we could come back)."
The Gauchos (1-1-1) carried the play for the most part in the first half and opened the scoring with a tremendous shot from outside the box off the right foot of Ahinga Selemani in the 23rd minute.
"We didn't come out like we hoped," said Fishbein. "They were good in the first half. But then we kind of sorted things out and realized sometimes you're going to have to battle. I thought our adjustment at halftime was great."
The Lobos were a vastly different team in the second half. They carried both possession and play for long stretches, and their effort was finally rewarded in the 66th minute.
Josh Goss, who made his first career start at left back for the Lobos, found Wehan in the box with a nice through ball. Beez, as he is known, buried it top shelf in the left corner to tie the game.
The Lobos continued to apply pressure to UCSB's backline and were almost rewarded in the 69th minute, butNiko Hansen's shot from inside the box went just wide. When Kasper Kajermo was seemingly pulled down in the box in the 80th minute with no call forthcoming, it seemed like the match might be destined for overtime.
However, Matt Dorsey won a long ball with a flick of his head that found Wehan's chest. The redshirt junior dribbled it towards the center of the box and found the bottom left corner to give UNM the lead with less than four minutes remaining.
"We'd been close on those (headers) the last couple of games," Wehan said. "I took a chance because Dorsey is incredible in the air. All credit to him winning that header. It fell in the right place, and I just saw and took my chance."
It was a satisfying win for the Lobos, who felt like they played well enough to earn a win over San Diego in Friday night's 2-2 draw.
"This was a big-time win," Fishbein said. "I'm proud of the guys. This is something we can build on and carry momentum. Plus we're going to get guys back. Yuri (Domiciano) and Sam (Gleadle) will be back full-time next week and get back in the mix. This is a team that's going to keep getting better and better. I'm really proud of them."
UCSB (22:06): Selemani (Jome)
New Mexico (65:32): Wehan (Goss)
New Mexico (86:13): Wehan (Dorsey)
New Mexico: none
UCSB: Feucht, yellow (32:54)
UCSB: Berke (GK), Quezada, Mendonza, DePuy, Backus, Selemani, Kim, Jome, Feucht, Perez, Strong
New Mexico: Beaulieu (GK), Seligman, Dorsey, Rochowski, Goss, Hansen, Khouri, Wehan, Gurule, Herrera, Dye
MVP: Chris Wehan, New Mexico
Off. MVP: Wehan
Def. MVP: Jason Beaulieu, New Mexico
Josh Dye, New Mexico
Josh Goss, New Mexico
Chris Gurule, New Mexico
Jordan Schweitzer, DU
Sam Hamilton, DU
Ahinga Selemani, UCSB
Kevin Feucht, UCSB
Darragh Vieyra, San Diego
Merlin Hoeckendorff, San Diego
The Lobos head back to California for road matches at CSUN on Friday and LMU on Sunday.