In an exciting final exhibition matchup at the UNM Soccer Complex on Saturday, the No. 20 University of New Mexico men’s soccer team earned a 2-0 victory over the visiting Grand Canyon Lopes. UNM utilized a pair of newcomers on the offensive front for its two goals including freshmen Alex Vedamanikam and Nick Taylor.
New Mexico will return to action on Friday at No. 11 Washington for the regular season opener. The game will serve as a rematch from the Lobos’ final match of the 2016 season, when the Huskies knocked UNM out of the NCAA tournament in the second round.
“Overall I am happy with the performance. A couple of times I thought we were a little loose but all in all, I’m happy with it,” head coach Jeremy Fishbein said. “We got the shutout and there was a big save by Jason (Beaulieu) at the end. We scored two nice goals, had a chance to probably score a couple more that we should have put away, but for the third exhibition game and where we are at, I am happy and excited to move forward.”
For the third straight exhibition game, UNM and its opponent played a scoreless first half, but the Lobos turned on the offense in the second half.
Vedamanikam netted the first goal of the game at the 52:18 mark with a swift shot into the net to put UNM up 1-0. The Lobos struck again in the 66th minute when Taylor broke through the defense and fired on an open net for the insurance goal, putting UNM up by two.
The Lobo defense continued its performance throughout the remaining 24 minutes and senior goalkeeper Jason Beaulieu held the shutout, despite some last-minute chances from the Lopes’ attackers.
UNM outshot Grand Canyon 17-13 and Beaulieu collected eight saves. Four yellow cards were issued in the match including one for GCU.
Following the Lobos’ season-opening contests at No. 11 Washington and Seattle, UNM will host UNLV on Sept. 1 at the UNM Soccer Complex at 7 p.m.