Returning from a win over Florida Atlantic in their last game, the Lobos scored two goals in the second half on Saturday at the University of New Mexico Soccer Complex to defeat Alabama-Birmingham.
New Mexico (8-3-1, 3-1-1 C-USA) extended its winning streak to four and is now unbeaten in its last five games, taking care of UAB by a score of 2-0.
The Lobos remained in fourth place in the C-USA standings with 10 points, just three points behind first place Florida International. Old Dominion and Kentucky occupy second and third place, respectively.
Playing on their home turf, the Lobos came out attacking in the first half and outshot UAB by a margin of 12-4 in shots attempted. The Lobos also earned five corner kicks but failed to capitalize on those opportunities, while the Dragons were also unable to convert on their three corner chances.
Much to the disappointment of the team and fans, the first half ended scoreless.
The deadlock was broken in the 47th minute of the game, when a calculated play from the Lobos resulted in an own-goal from UAB and put UNM on the scoreboard to lead the match 1-0.
Sophomore Aaron Scott, who started the game at left back, junior Aaron Herrera and senior Luke Lawrence were all involved in the buildup to the first goal.
From the right side of the field, Herrera crossed the ball to Lawrence, who was well-positioned to take the shot. However, a UAB player got to the ball first. Unfortunately for the Dragons, he put it in the back of his own net.
"It was a good result, and it was good to get the shutout tonight," head coach Jeremy Fishbein said in a release. "I thought we were good early, but once again we didn't find the net in the first half. We had faith in our bench, tried to share the minutes, and at the end of the day we got two nice goals and created a lot of chances. We'll enjoy this one, but we have another big match on Wednesday vs. UCLA."
The shutout victory was the sixth time this season the Lobos have held their opponent without a goal and another clean sheet for senior UNM goalkeeper Jason Beaulieu, who had five saves on the night and registered his 20th career shutout.
In the 74th minute of the game, junior midfielder Simon Spangenberg cleared the ball up the field where a UAB defender misjudged the bounce on the ball. UNM junior Antoine Vial pounced on the opportunity and set his sight toward scoring the second goal of the game when he earned himself a one-on-one chance with the UAB keeper.
Vial kept his composure and rounded the keeper to score into an open net, increasing his goal tally to four on the season.
New Mexico was able to make UAB pay for the two defensive errors it committed on the night, which allowed the Lobos to pull away.
With the loss, UAB fell to 3-5-3 overall and 0-4-1 in C-USA matches. UAB sophomore Massimo Ferrin led the team in shots taken for the game, as he registered four shots on the night.
The Lobos will next host UCLA on Wednesday, Oct. 18 in a tough non-conference matchup. After facing UCLA, UNM will travel to Miami to face Florida International. The Lobos’ next home game will be against Denver on Wednesday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m.
Ajinkya Patil is a freelance sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s soccer. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ajinkyapatil_16.