On Friday afternoon, the University of New Mexico soccer team lost in the Final Four of the NCAA post-season tournament. Although UNM did a good job of controlling possession and took as many shots on goal as the Fighting Irish did, they allowed an early slip in defense, which led opportunistic Patrick Hodan to a goal in the seventh minute. With that disadvantage ensconced in their minds, the Lobos refused to play timid, challenging the staunch Notre Dame offense again and again.
As the second half began, though, and time started to slip through the fingers of the Cherry and Silver, things got a bit more tight. The set pieces started to develop for both teams—there were no corner kicks in the first half, and 8 total in the second. UNM still played the role of the aggressor, but it was clear by the mid-point of the second half that it was because they had to, not because they wanted to. Finally, in the 65th minute, Notre Dame connected again with the back of the net. Again, it was Hodan, this time off an extremely odd miss, hammered off the crossbar by Vince Cicciarelli and followed up on by Hodan after an unlucky Lobo touch.
From then on, it was desperation mode for coach Jeremy Fishbein and his crew; watching their magical season evaporate in front of their eyes and on ESPNU. When the final whistle sounded, UNM was still down 0-2, and Notre Dame was advancing, although their opponent was still to be determined at the time. Later Friday evening, Maryland took down Virginia for their place in the national title match.
There have got to be several consolations to ending the season in a loss, even in the face of departure from their seniors. Kyle Venter has been invited to the MLS Super Draft and is almost certain to be selected, while goalkeeper Michael Lisch and a pair of Michaels—Kafarri and Calderon—will all be gone next year, even if they don't all make it to the MLS. But the silver lining to these heavy contributors leaving the team is that there is a strong youth movement behind them. For a team that sometimes felt like it was overachieving this year, there's a solid foundation to build upon next year. And, much like this year's eventual champion, Notre Dame, there's a strong chance the Lobos will come back stronger next season.
The Lobos played yet another fantastic season and have much to be proud of. The future looks bright.
The Lobo soccer team continued its roll in the NCAA post-season tournament on Sunday, winning the match against Penn State by a final score of 2-0. The opportunities for more scoring in the match were numerous, but the Lobos just could not connect for the extra insurance. However, as the clock ticked down the seconds of the Sweet Sixteen game, it became apparent that the bonus points weren't needed—the Lobos are now headed back to the Elite Eight for their second time since 2005.
The Lobos will match up in Seattle against the University of Washington Huskies, where the current head coach is Jamie Clark—a man well-known in Albuquerque for his role as an assistant coach to the Lobos from 2002 to 2005. Clark served under current head coach Jeremy Fishbein and was present for some of the most exciting times in Lobo soccer. Ultimately, he would depart the Cherry and Silver squad when an opportunity arose at Notre Dame, where he would assist under his father. After brief stints at Harvard and Creighton, Clark has now taken the Huskies to their first Elite Eight appearance in school history.
Neither Washington nor UNM have faced ranked opponents in the Tournament thus far, but if the Lobos win the game on Saturday, they'll have to travel again. Their opponent, should they win in Washington? Either an upstart Michigan State team, or the Notre Dame team that Clark left UNM to work with.
Either way, Coach Fishbein, cognizant of having been here before, says he would love to continue playing at home, but the team is ready to take the battle up to Washington. As one of only three programs in the nation to make three consecutive Sweet Sixteens, the Lobos will look to match or beat their prior best; the last time UNM made it past the Sweet Sixteen, they went all the way to the national championship game, before ultimately falling to Maryland.
The UNM/UW game will be streamed online Saturday, Dec. 7 at 6pm MST and should be shown at various bars around town. The soccer program is making waves yet again as an organization worth the time to support.
The University of New Mexico Men's Lobo soccer team will play in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in a home game on Sunday, Nov. 24, at 5pm. The Lobos will host George Mason at home as a result of their 7 seed, which is the second-highest in school history. (In 2005, the Lobos received a 2 seed.)
Despite losing in the C-USA Tournament last week, the Lobos were rewarded by the selection committee for a fantastic season. The Lobos have now made the NCAA post-season 11 in the last 13 seasons.
George Mason advanced to Albuquerque by defeating William & Mary on Thursday night by a final score of 2-2 that had to be decided by penalty kicks. The PKs ended up 4-2 in GMU's favor and the match was in the books. The George Mason Patriots finished up their season with a record of 12-2-5 and were the champions of the Atlantic 10 conference.
When it comes time for the match on Sunday night, the Lobo soccer club will be positively littered with honors, both on and off the field. On Thursday, the Lobos received yet another Team Academic Award, rewarding our student-athletes for posting a cumulative team-wide 3.43 GPA. The academics are impressive, but there's no doubt that the men on the club will be looking to pick up another win to extend their season.
On Tuesday night, the US Men's National Soccer team won a game—which wasn't a surprise—but the overall results of the night had an odd side effect: With a win in the match, against Panama by a score of 3-2, the United States helped their greatest regional rival, Mexico, retain hope that they'd qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
For a long bit in the game, it didn't look as though the US—already securely qualified for the World Cup—would pull out the victory. Panama scored in the 18th minute, securing a lead for themselves that would last the vast majority of the game.
When the Americans finally came back with an equalizer—Michael Orozco in the 64th minute with a sweet header off the vaunted set piece of the corner kick—it felt like the tide had shifted a bit. But Team USA was never able to fully capitalize and Panama continued to push the game in their direction. What seemed like the final blow came in minute 83, as Luis Tejada put in a ball that had been deflected by American goalkeeper Brad Guzan in superior fashion, which the US defense was too slow to effectively clear. Tejada ran off the field, tore off his shirt—and the country of Panama celebrated. This seemed to most observers to do two things: vault Panama into the World Cup matches and knock Mexico out, as they'd lost to Costa Rica earlier in the evening.
But Jurgen Klinsmann teams have been taught to continue fighting. The Americans did precisely that, despite sitting some of their more established stars for whatever reason. (Whether the Americans were sandbagging the game or not does not seem truly important.) With three minutes of stoppage time added to the clock, Team USA was down 1-2 and, somehow, improbably, the Americans scored twice in that time span to send Panama into a tail spin and Mexico into a fevered frenzy, their chances still alive.
Graham Zusi absolutely nailed a header off one of the sweetest crosses in the 92nd minute and the game morphed into something else. Mere moments later, Aron Johannsson demolished the hopes of Panama with a bullet of a shot. Johannsson's goal resulted in the game's conclusion less than a minute later, no hopes of extra time, no hopes of future games—at least not for Panama.
With the victory, the US Men's National Team racked up a record-tying 22 points in the qualifying stages and added some mojo back to their current streak. Earlier in the year, the Americans possessed the then-longest winning streak in the world—13 games—and the team will surely remember this game as a fantastic example of not folding when they could have easily done so. Team USA's next match will be an international friendly in Scotland on Nov. 15.
The Americans had lost their last game, against Costa Rica, on Friday night. They were whooped, 1-3, and they lost the mental edge of having the longest win streak in the world, at 12. Moreover, they lost Jozy Altidore, Geoff Cameron and Matt Besler for the Mexico match due to those players picking up their second yellow cards of the qualification process. Michael Bradley also sat out against Mexico, having suffered a freak injury during warmups when he sprained his left ankle.
Due to those absences—particularly Altidore, whose performance for the team has been impressive, to say the least—and the long-standing disadvantage America has maintained while facing Mexico, there were some who doubted the team's chances despite the home field advantage. However, the Mexican team seems to be in complete disarray, suffering from the endless tailspin that inevitably follows a sudden departure from previously winning ways.
However, when it came time to get things done, the team stepped up as a whole with their depth tested, and the team answered the call. The previous stars were particularly adept, with Eddie Johnson scoring in the 49th minute, once again off a header. He was spelled by Mikkel Diskerud in the 76th minute. Reviled when his plan didn't seem to be taking right away, coach Jurgen Klinsmann now looks like a genius, particularly when it comes to substitutions. Diskerud played a smart ball of a throw in with a deft first touch, putting the ball right in front of the Mexico goal. Clint Dempsey had a brilliant look at the clincher but whiffed his attempt. Luckily, Landon Donovan was there, as he's been for Team USA ever since making his comeback. Donovan put his goal in at the 78th minute.
When Honduras tied Panama nearly an hour after the USA/Mexico game finished, the work of the night was complete. Team USA is now officially qualified for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. It's worth noting that, of the 207 nations in the world who compete in the qualification process, only 32 make it. Eight nations have won the World Cup; the United States is not amongst that number. With this qualification, though, the United States becomes only the 13th nation to qualify for the ultimate tournament 10 times.
There isn’t too much that can be said about this video…except that even when dogs ruin everything, they still make it all better. It’s not certain how these two pups made it onto the field during this match between the Turkish team Galatasaray and Germany's VfR Aalen. This fact somehow makes it all the more cute.
The University of New Mexico's men's soccer program began their season as the number two team in the country. Their successful season ended on Sundayin Storrs, Connecticutas as the number 13 Lobos fell to number 4 University of Connecticut. The Lobos scored the lone goal of the first half in the 32nd minute, but gave up an equalizer in the second half. UConn's Mamadou Diouf put a header in the back of the net in the 76th minute to knot things up. Despite coming out of the second-half break on fire, UNM never found the right mix, even missing a point blank shot with only two minutes left in regulation.
Heading into the overtime periods, the rules change from the regular season, and the Lobos had to fight for every inch, knowing that the golden goal would send whichever team scored first to the Elite Eight. Both teams only managed one shot on goal, UNM in the first OT and UConn in the second. It was this kick in the 105th minute that sealed the deal.
UConn will play in Storrs again next weekend when they face Creighton, who beat Akron with a 5-4 penalty count after 2 scoreless overtime periods. That game will be played to determine who will to make the trip to the Final Four.
UNM ended their season in the Sweet Sixteen for the second consecutive year, disappointing fans who were looking for improvement on last year's incredible, undefeated season. The bitter taste is sure to hang heavily on senior Devon Sandoval, who played a phenomenal game and had an excellent season. Sandoval, one of six seniors on the team, recorded 15 goals for the season. He had been mentioned all season as one of the top seniors in the nation, and is now considered as a possible draft pick in Major League Soccer's draw.
Although Sandoval stands out as the senior with the most prospects for the future and the Lobos are heading home earlier than both they would like, it should be noted that these six seniors helped the team equal a record set by the the 2004-2005 Lobos: 35 wins over a combined two seasons. The net result of those teams? A national runner-up spot in 2005 after losing to Maryland in the final game of the season. The lesson here is that Lobo soccer is back. Losing six seniors will hurt, but this team should be a force to reckon with for some time.
The No. 4 University of New Mexico Lobos looked a bit sloppy against the Houston Baptist University Huskies on Sunday, allowing a goal in the 16th minute. However, they managed to put two in the back of the net to come out on top in Houston.
The Lobos continue their march forward in the wake of last year's undefeated season—a remarkable season that, due to the odd rules of soccer, concluded in the third round of the NCAA Tournament with a match that sent the Lobos home, but did not count as a loss.
The Huskies have lost five games this season, but the Lobos have taken only a single loss. Their tenacity after a 13-hour weather delay and a site change for the game shows how focused this team is on improving last year's considerable accomplishments.
This game was the conference opener for the The Lobos and who now face nine consecutive matches with members of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation all vying for the NCAA Tournament automatic bid. UNM's last conference game will be another against Houston Baptist on Saturday, November 3. In between, of course, there will be plenty of tough matches, though none against the old giants of the MPSF, Sacramento State and Colorado. The Lobos should still brace themselves October 21 for a home battle against CSU Bakersfield, another Mountain Pacific team that qualified for the NCAA Tournament last year.
In a year full of individual accolades that continue to pile up for the Lobos, the most promising praise is the national ranking and the knowledge that, after such repeated success, this team deserves to be considered among the national title contenders.
This weekend, the Lobos will continue their assault on two in-conference visitors: Air Force on Friday and Denver on Sunday. Both matches should showcase the Lobos' talents and serve as excellent opportunities for fans to jump on the wagon and get behind a local team that could make waves come championship time.
It was an excellent weekend for UNM sports. The Lobo football team gets 21-14 conference win over UNLV, Steve Alford's men's basketball team opens the season with 92-40 triumph over New Orleans, and the men's soccer team takes the conference championship over Cal State Bakersfield.
Oh, also, Monster Jam was at Tingley this weekend all vintage-style.
Sexual abuse charges against Jerry Sandusky suggest his youth mentoring charity might have been a pipeline for potential victims.
The women clinched the Mountain West Conference championship in the finals with a pair of goals that mirrored each other in time. Scoring nineteen seconds into the game, Natalie Jenks put away the quickest game-winner in MWC tournament history. The game ended with the Lobos on top 2-0 and they secured an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. They will begin play at UCLA on Saturday, Nov. 12. The Lady Lobos are playing in only their second NCAA Tournament and hope to surpass last year's first-round exit.
On the other hand, with its No. 1 ranking secure, and an unbeaten streak that is the talk of the town, the men's team has higher expectations foisted upon it. The men also performed admirably over the weekend, shutting out UNLV in an ugly game that saw two ejections from the opposing side in the second half. No doubt frustrated by the score, the Lobos' ability and the fact that they'd already been eliminated from the post-season, UNLV turned what had been a pretty even affair in the first half into a slogged-down, foul-filled game in the last half.
Both teams, obviously, will be cheered for, but there's no denying that, between the rankings, the press and past history, the men's team will be waiting with bated breath on Monday, Nov. 14, when the men's NCAA Tournament bracket is revealed. Because of the aforementioned circumstances, the clear hope—and expectation—is for a healthy slate of home field advantage for the early rounds of the tournament. But no matter where they play, the Lobos are sure to have a target on their backs.
The men's soccer team, as previously mentioned, has been here before. Ranked first in the country. A team full of athletes dedicated to a common cause. The same coach. The atmosphere drowning the city. It didn't end as well as it could have. Ironically, the team that is ahead of UNM in the NSCAA poll is Maryland, the same team that beat the Lobos in 2005 for the national championship.
The Lobo soccer team is the only unbeaten team in the nation at this point, and is looking to finish up their schedule on a strong note. Two of the last three regular season games take place this weekend at the UNM Sportsplex, and tickets are still more than available.
The truth at this point, though, is that UNM has got to start thinking about the NCAA tournament and, perhaps, let some of the thoughts regarding its now-record-breaking win streak go by the wayside. The MPSF tournament comes first and a respectable finish there is more than just hoped for by now – it's expected. The team will refuse to look past opponents, giving everyone their due respect, but we have the luxury of looking ahead.
When the Lobos were making their earlier runs, they had the benefit of some serious home-field advantage. We can hope for the same here, but it's only useful if the stadium is packed. With the lofty goals of a sport-starved city foisted upon them, the Lobos certainly have more-than-ample excuse to crumble. These men, though, seem up to the challenge. The season is almost over and the time for marking true accomplishments is practically here. Make sure to get out to the Lobo soccer field to see what happens.
When news broke that Mike Locksley had been asked to vacate his head coaching position, the Albuquerque populace tried to react. But after more than two years, exactly two wins, and countless affairs off the field that brought things to a head, there's not much left to say about the beleagured ex-coach of the men's football team.
The better place to focus is on the sport of “football” that the rest of the world is interested in. On Monday, almost simultaneous to the Locksley story, news broke that the Lobo men's soccer team had broke into the Top 10 of the nation. As previously noted, the men's soccer team has not yet lost this season. They played the reigning national champions to a standstill in double overtime.
The men's soccer team is a proud follow-up to a recent dynasty at UNM. Although our previous teams never won it all, they gave fans plenty to cheer about, and they packed the stands. In 2005, the Lobos lost to Maryland in the national championship game. It was a one-point game, and fans went bonkers for the matches on the road to that loss.
Now it’s getting to the point where people are counting on more thrills from Lobo soccer. The men's team, meanwhile, isn't backing down from those expectations. As a proud follow-up to a great—albeit recent—tradition, the men's team neither shies away from the spotlight, nor embarrasses those of us who root for the team with any antics.
The next opportunity to support the men's soccer team at home is on Friday, Oct. 14, when they host Denver. The game will start at 7 PM.
Team U.S.A. prided itself on succeeding with its back against the wall. It wanted the pressure. In the final match of the 2011 Women's World Cup, that pressure might have proven to be too much.
The U.S. played a better game at every single point of the game that mattered, until the part that mattered the most. Up by one in regulation and then again up by one in overtime, the Women's team twice let its lead evaporate and eventually headed to penalty kicks. The only other Women's World Cup that had gone to penalty kicks was the famous 1999 Brandi Chastain-imprinted win. When it came time to shoot down those echoes of the past, however, this team simply could no do it.
When the game started, it looked as though it was going to be a US-dominated affair. Lauren Cheney got things off on the right foot with a quick run up the left side within the first minute. Megan Rapinoe continued the US pressure with a killer cross to Cheney in the 8th minute and Carli Lloyd almost had a neat clean-up at the 11th minute. Cheney passed to Rapinoe for a fantastic straight-on shot only 20 seconds later.
After an advantage call in the 28th minute, Abby Wambach had a shot bounce off the top of the crossbar, in a dramatic instance that would be repeated time and time again. Despite numerous chances, the United States did not seem as though they'd be able to capitalize.
Things started to pick up for Japan when Shinobu Ohno got a good shot in the 30th minute, but U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo cut off that effort easily. In the 2011 Women's World Cup, three of Japan's 10 goals had previously come on set pieces. And at the 37th minute, despite being outplayed for virtually the entire first half, they got a corner kick where they might have had another one of those set piece goals. One minute later, Japan got a great service for Kozue Ando, but Solo came off her line quickly and successfully.
As the first half ended, the momentum appeared to have shifted, albeit slightly. The United States had more chances—all missed—but they couldn't capitalize at any point. They played so well for almost the entire half, but they could not come out ahead. It was at this point that the question of pressure had to be rising in many people's minds.
To counter that doubt, coach Pia Sundhage started the second half by removing Cheney and putting in Alex Morgan, who almost put in a cross to the short corner a mere four minutes into the second half. After the referee incorrectly called an offside offense against Japan, Heather O'Reilly hit Wambach with a lift in the 64th minute that Wambach nearly headed just above the Japan keeper.
In the 68th minute, super-sub Morgan got an excellent feed from Rapinoe. Morgan took one touch on the ball and blasted a left-footed shot into the lower right hand corner to take the lid off the goal for the Americans.
In the 80th minute, though, Japan got an equalizer from Aya Miyama and put on non-stop pressure. With two more chances in the next minute for Japan, it seemed as though the U.S. was on its heels. Making it through the last ten minutes of the regulation game was its own blessing, though, and the World Cup Final went to overtime.
Team U.S.A. got overtime started in a similar fashion, with an on-target header from Wambach that was halted by Ayumi Kaihori. However, as the first half of the overtime period moved toward its conclusion, in the 103rd minute, Morgan sent a small cross sailing past the Japanese goal which Wambach redirected masterfully into the back of the net off a header.
In the 111th minute, Team U.S.A. survived a scare, as Solo came off her line, missed the ball and then two defenders collided while attempting to clear the ball. But Japan could not convert. Shortly after, Rapinoe got subbed out in favor of Tobin Heath finishing the game with fresh legs. The threats were not over, however, for the United States, as Yukari Kinga broke toward the goal off a feed from Homare Sawa. Solo was hurt and remained on the ground, but captain Christine Rampone was there to clear the goal. Unfortunately, on the resulting corner kick in the 116th minute, Sawa put in the cross to knot things up 2-2.
There would be no more points scored in the overtime period. And while Japan converted three of its first four penalty kicks, Team U.S.A. was only able to put in one of five, total.
As the pressure finally cracked, nothing good came of it. There was no tremendous release, no dismissal of the specters of the past. There was a better finish for Team U.S.A. than in the previous two World Cups. That's the silver lining. But for the game they played, the way they executed, the near-perfect—minus goal-scoring—team effort, it's hard to focus on that silver lining. For a team that was aiming for a championship or bust, second place cannot be anything other than first loser.