SEATTLE — They had only a brief moment to enjoy the rush of a dramatic shootout win. Now the New Mexico Lobos are back to business with a substantial challenge facing them Sunday in Seattle, where they face 11th-seeded and No. 13-ranked Washington in the NCAA men’s soccer tournament second round.
“Washington is a great team,” UNM coach Jeremy Fishbein wrote in a blog following the win over Portland on a chilly Thursday night at the UNM Track and Soccer stadium.
“We played them in August in an exhibition and they are quality. Going to be a tremendous (matchup).”
The Lobos (12-6-3) advanced with a 6-5 edge in the shootout Thursday. Backup goalkeeper Ford Parker made three saves in the shootout after starter Jason Beaulieu worked the first 110 minutes of scoreless soccer. UNM outshot Portland 18-5. It was the ninth Lobos shutout of 2016.
The Huskies have a lot of Lobo in them, as it turns out. Washington is coached by Jamie Clark, who was a UNM assistant for four years, and by assistant Jeff Rowland, a La Cueva High alumnus who was a two-time All-American at New Mexico.
In addition, Washington fifth-year senior defender Justin Schmidt, recently named All-Pac 12 first team, is from Volcano Vista. Schmidt had two goals on the season, including one for an OT win vs. Stanford.
“I am delighted for our All-Conference selections, but in particular Justin Schmidt,” said Clark on the University of Washington athletic website.
“When a guy comes back for a fifth year, they really have committed to giving back to the team and program; so when they get recognized in return, it’s the icing on the cake.”
The 13-6-0 Huskies come into today’s matchup having lost 1-0 decisions to San Diego State and Oregon State in their last two outings. They received an NCAA bye and last played on Nov. 10.
UNM is 1-2 all time against the Huskies, all with Washington ranked. The exhibition contest came Aug. 20 in Albuquerque, where the Lobos made a goal from senior Niko Hansen hold up for a 1-0 victory.
Today’s winner advances to a Sweet Sixteen matchup between sixth-seeded Denver and UNLV.
NCAA Tournament: Second round, New Mexico at No. 14 Washington, 6 p.m.