The New Mexico Lobos Men’s Soccer Team played to their first draw of the season on Friday night against the South Carolina Gamecocks, as the game finished 2-2 after double overtime failed to produce a winner for either team. The result: the Lobos have a 4-3-1 record, and an 0-1-1 record in conference play, which was a bit of a let down for Lobos head coach Jeremy Fishbein.
"I have mixed feelings about this one," Fishbein said in a release. "I thought it was a game we should have handled. That being said, we allowed two goals, but we showed a lot of mental fortitude to rebound and equalize in both situations.
During the first half, neither team was able to break through with a goal. South Carolina came out of the gates strong, forcing two saves from Jason Beaulieu. The Lobos countered with their own opportunities on goal starting in the 29th minute, but the first half was characterized by strong defenses and the two veteran goalkeepers.
However, the second half was a different story.
South Carolina opened the scoring in the 50th minute when Justin Sukow scored his fourth goal of the season, when Luca Mayr drew Beaulieu off his line and laid it off to Sukow, who was able to put in the back of the net. The Lobos responded immediately, and Simon Spangenberg nearly equalized off a Devin Boyce corner kick when he hit the post. About five minutes later, Spangenberg was able to avoid the post and score the equalizer off of an Aaron Herrera assist.
Following the goal, South Carolina went back on the attack and was able to equalize in the 72nd minute as Mitchell Myers was able to take a deflected cross and rifle it into the back of the net from the top of the 18-yard box. As the Lobos tried to equalize, they were successful in creating pressure on the Gamecocks but didn’t break through until the final moments, when Sam Gleadle saved the Lobos from defeat in the 89th minute. Gleadle was charging into the box when he lost the ball at the feet of a South Carolina defender, but when he mishandled it, it ended up back at Gleadles feet, and he fired it into the lower left corner of the net to force overtime.
The Lobos had their chances in the first overtime period, firing off three shots, but they were unable to convert. South Carolina had a pair of chances in the second overtime period, but also failed to convert.
The game ended in a draw after 110 minutes. Coach Fishbein is focusing on the positives of a match where he believes the Lobos showed their mental fortitude.
"We need to look at this game and take the positives from it,” Fishbein said in a release. “We scored two goals, but we need to get some shutouts, and we can't give openings. I think that will happen. We are a team that keeps getting better, a team that expects to win, and that's a great mindset moving forward."
Next up, the Lobos will head to West Virginia to take on the Marshall Thundering Herd on Saturday, Sept. 30 at 5 p.m. in their third straight C-USA matchup.
Cameron Goeldner is a freelance sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s soccer, but also contributes content for baseball, basketball, football and track and field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @goeldfinger.