The University of New Mexico men’s soccer team registered their third win of the season with a 2-1 victory over CSUN while playing in the Grange and Ashwill invitational on Friday night at the UNM soccer complex.
Alex Vedamanikam scored his first career goal while Antoine Vial helped double the lead for the Lobos.
“Getting the first goal is definitely a special experience. Celebrating it with the team was incredible. I enjoyed every minute of it,” UNM freshman Vedamanikam said.
Both teams exchanged possession early in the first half with the Lobos looking likelier to score the first goal of the game. The first half of the game rarely had moments to get the crowd off their seats, and neither team created clear chances to have a fair shot at scoring.
“I think we were just feeling them out,” UNM sophomore Devin Boyce said. “Early, we were connecting passes but just having trouble going forward and finishing off in the final third. We were good in the middle third, but once we got upfront, we were struggling to find the net. We were able to come together and fix up on a few things and finish off two good goals in the second half.”
The forward line of the Lobos consisting of Alex Vedamanikam, Sam Gleadle and Luke Lawrence all had minutes in the first half in search of breaking the deadlock. A total of six shots were taken by both teams, but not a one threatened the goalkeepers.
The first goal came in the 66th minute of the game when UNM’s Vedamanikam was set up from a play courtesy of Nick Taylor and Aaron Herrera.
Minutes later, Herrera was also involved in the second goal. His free kick rebounded off the goalkeeper, allowing Vial to notch up the second goal of the night for the Lobos.
The Lobos seemed to lack composure in creating goal scoring chances in the first half. But on the other side, CSUN may have lacked patience in finding an opening in the Lobos defense.
The second half started with CSUN controlling the ball with an intent of finding the net. As a result, in the second half, CSUN registered six shots in comparison to five of UNM.
The Lobos defense resisted every attempt CSUN threw at them until the 75th minute of the game when UNM’s Aaron Herrera fouled a CSUN forward inside the box resulting in a penalty kick for the visitors. CSUN’s Papi Diouf slotted the ball in to the goal to reduce the lead to one, 2-1 Lobos.
“I thought we played pretty well,” head coach Jeremy Fishbein said in a release. “They were a solid team, they had some good players, but I felt like we were pretty comfortable. Later in the game we got stretched a little bit. There was a moment where we really had to defend. We scored two really nice goals, which I think were deserved.”
“The PK made the game interesting, but our defense showed a lot of resilience. My man of the match, Lucas Seligman, stepped up big and played 90 minutes for us. He had a great game.”
The Lobos next play UC Irvine on Sept. 10 in Albuquerque, New Mexico for their last match of the Grange and Ashwill Invitational.
Ajinkya Patil is a freelance sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s soccer. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @ajinkyapatil_16