ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Win Was Second In 11 Series Tilts
LOS ANGELES – The statement made by the sixth-ranked University of New Mexico men’s soccer team on Friday night was loud and clear.
Remember that unbeaten 2011 team? This version has high expectations too.
The Lobos made a splashy debut to 2012, knocking off No. 2-ranked UCLA 3-2 in a game televised by the new Pac-12 Network.
Tulsa Invitational: No. 6 New Mexico at Tulsa, 7 p.m.
Devon Sandoval scored two goals, and fellow UNM senior Blake Smith added a goal and an assist.
“It was a pretty hard-fought game,” said UNM head coach Jeremy Fishbein. “We thought we would be tougher than UCLA and that we would press them and cause them a lot of problems. But that was a very good team and one of the best teams we have ever played. I thought we mixed it up well playing softer when we needed to, but then we were able to battle when needed.
“We played with a lot of class, and I was just really proud of our guys.”
So, apparently, were others in the UNM nation, per Twitter. Among them:
Former Lobo hoopster Kenny Thomas: “@UNMLOBOS congrats men soccer team. That’s nice!”
Former Lobo and current Colorado Rockies player Jordan Pacheco, in a retweet: “What a GREAT day to be a Lobo. Our #6 Lobo soccer team takes down #2 Ucla in Cali. I Love being a Lobo.”
The 1-0 Lobos next travel to Oklahoma for the Tulsa Invitational with games against Tulsa on Friday and against SMU on Sept. 2. Lobo goalkeeper Patrick Poblete, a redshirt sophomore, was making his first start since he was a high school senior in Scottsdale, Ariz., three years ago. He recorded five saves, which included one in the final 30 seconds to preserve the victory.
“They scored two really good goals off him, and there wasn’t much he could do about them,” Fishbein said. “But he came up big, and he was great at the end.
Friday night’s victory against UCLA marked New Mexico’s second win in the 11-game series. It avenged a heartbreaking loss to the Bruins in their previous meeting in the 2007 College Cup. In that first-round tournament match-up UCLA scored the only goal of the game in the 89th minute off a free kick.
In Friday’s match, Poblete was tested early, recording two saves in the first 15 minutes of the game. The UNM defense tightened up, but UCLA opened the scoring in the 43rd minute and led 1-0 at halftime.
— This article appeared on page D3 of the Albuquerque Journal