FULLERTON, Calif. — The University of New Mexico men’s soccer team pulled off its second victory over a ranked team this season on Sunday night with a 5-1 win over No. 30 Cal State Fullerton on the road. Sophomore Nick Taylor netted a pair of goals for the Lobos, his first two of the season.
UNM improves to 2-2-0 with the win against three ranked opponents while CSF drops to 0-1-2 on the season. The last time the Lobos scored five goals or more in a game was on Oct. 1, 2014 when the then-No. 15 Lobos topped West Virginia 6-1 at home.
“We really took our chances tonight, which we didn’t do on Friday. It was a great effort and result,” head coach Jeremy Fishbein said. “We scored a really nice first goal, then made a big blunder on the equalizer, but I thought we had a good first half overall. It did kind of take the wind out of our sails a bit to go in the second half 1-1, but the guys were really good in the second half with those four goals.
“Our attackers performed well tonight and we are fortunate to score that many goals. It will be fun to play another really good team next Friday (No. 19/23 Tulsa).”
The Lobos got out to a fast start when Taylor notched his first goal of the season just 12:43 into the match. Taylor scored on a breakaway, assisted by senior Antoine Vial, to put UNM up 1-0.
Exactly six minutes later however, at the 18:43 mark, Cal State Fullerton’s Samuel Goni netted an equalizer from deep, tying it 1-1, but Lobo keeper Ford Parker wouldn’t allow another through the remainder of the contest.
UNM nearly regained the lead in the 34th minute when freshman Omar Grey sent a missile from inside the box that bounced hard off the right post, but teams ultimately went into the half knotted up 1-1.
The teams combined for just nine shots, five on goal, in the first half, but CSF opened up the second frame attacking with a pair of quick shots including one saved by Parker, still 1-1.
Just 5:27 into the second half, sophomore Matt Puig took a cross from the right side and, waiting in the box, slipped it just past Titan keeper Paul-Andre Guerin to put the Lobos back in the lead, 2-1.
Four minutes later the Lobos extended the lead when the attacking trio of Puig, Grey and senior Antoine Vial struck once again. Puig and Grey crossed the ball back and forth across the defense, looking for the opening, before Grey dished it into the box for Vial to put away, 3-1 Lobos.
With less than 20 minutes left on the clock, Cal State Fullerton’s Donovan Wilson nearly reduced the deficit with a hard shot from right in front of the box. Parker leaped up and punched it out of the top of the net to preserve the two-goal lead. The save was one of five on the night for Parker.
As the clock wound down through the fourth quarter of play, the Titans continued to shoot, bouncing another close one off the post, but another swift goal off the foot of Taylor made it a nearly impossible 4-1 Lobo advantage in the 73rd minute.
That three-goal lead was increased to four when Puig fired off the left post in the 81st minute. Grey collected the rebound, recovered in the box and found the back of the net from short range for the 5-1 final.
Each team finished with 10 shots on the night, seven on goal, along with three corner kicks apiece. In 84:38 between the posts, Parker collected five saves while allowing one goal before freshman Alex Fetterly saw his collegiate debut. Fetterly posted one save in the last 5:22. Guerin allowed five goals and saved just two of the Lobos’ shots on goal.
After taking on three ranked teams in their first four matches, the Lobos will face yet another top-30 squad in No. 23 Tulsa on the road on Friday at 6 p.m.