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In this file photo, UNM’s Travis Campbell battles for the ball with Cal-State Bakersfield Ernessto Hinojosa at the UNM Soccer Complex on Oct. 24. The Lobos were invited to play in the 2010 NCAA tournament but were defeated at Creighton 4-1 on Thursday.

From hopeful to heartbreak

After a surprising NCAA tournament invitation, the UNM men’s soccer team’s celebration quickly turned horrific.

Creighton demolished the Lobos 4-1 on Friday during the first round of the NCAA tournament in Omaha, Neb., marking the second straight season that UNM failed to win its first-round game.

“I’m not going to sit here and say I am happy with anything,” head coach Jeremy Fishbein told “This is not how I wanted to see our seniors end their careers.”

The Lobos finished 9-6-5 overall and scored 22 goals in 20 games this season. In their defense, they played six ranked teams and escaped with a 3-1-2 record against those teams.

But on Friday, the Lobos never had a chance. The Bluejays scored three goals in the first half, and UNM never recovered.

“It was a good performance by Creighton, and I’m embarrassed, to be honest,” Fishbein said. “We talked about things going into the game and said we can’t make mistakes in our half because their attacking players were really good. We gave them the ball in bad spots, and they hurt us.”

The Bluejays grabbed the lead within four minutes when midfielder Jose Gomez picked the ball up 15 yards from goal and scored.

“It’s tough, but with a team like this our mindset is to get it back even again,” senior James Urbany told “When we lost it in transition, it became tougher and tougher because that first goal was so early.”

UNM pressed offensively to find the equalizer, but instead found themselves down three goals at the half.

Bluejays’ defender Tyler Polak took a pass from Gomez and beat goalkeeper Justin Holmes, who only got a hand on the ball.

Six minutes later, Creighton midfielder Jordan Greg played a pinpoint pass to forward Ethan Finlay who dribbled past Holmes and tapped the ball into the empty net.

“It was not indicative of the team we are, but that third was the killer,” Fishbein said. “Going into the half down 3-0, it’s hard to come back from.”

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UNM dominated ball possession much of the second half. Forward Devon Sandoval scored from 18 yards out in the 70th minute, but it was too little too late.

“I thought we came back and battled, but it’s a little bit of fool’s gold,” Fishbein said. “When a team is up three goals on you, they are going to play a little differently.”

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