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Lobo forward James Rogers battles for the ball, Sunday at University Stadium against Cal State Northridge. UNM won the game 3-1 thanks to three goals in the final six minutes of the game.

Late rush leads victory over Cal State Northridge

It took the Lobos men’s soccer team just over a minute and a half to do what they had failed to accomplish for the entire game prior.

After beating Columbia 5-1 on Friday, the Lobos were trailing 1-0 to Cal State Northridge on Sunday with six minutes left before they scored three goals in the span of one minute and 37 seconds.

In the 84th minute, defender Kyle Venter scored off a corner kick, and less than a minute later the Lobos took the lead when forward Devon Sandoval finished from inside the box. In the 86th minute, forward Blake Smith rounded off the scoring on a quick counter-attack.

“You could feel the goals were coming,” head coach Jeremy Fishbein said. “Our guys had a lot of belief. We defended well and kept creating opportunities and it was an important win for us.”

The Lobos hosted and, thanks to the two wins, earned first place in the TLC Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Invitational this weekend. Sandoval and Venter were named the tournament offensive and defensive MVPs, respectively.

The Lobos dominated much of the game against the Matadors and almost took the lead in the fourth minute, when Sandoval broke through the defense but shot right at the goalie.

The story was the same in the 17th minute, when forward James Rogers failed to score when he was in on goal.

Against the run of play, Northridge took a one-goal lead with its first shot of the game. Matador Gustavo Villalobos picked up the ball 35 yards from goal and unleashed a shot that went in past Lobo goalkeeper Victor Rodriguez.

Sandoval said he was impressed with the goal, but after his team outshot the Matadors 14-6, he knew his team would find a way to win.

“They scored an amazing goal but we played well, and were confident that we were going to win,” he said.

The second half was much of the same for the Lobos, who continued to dominate the game but failed to find the back of the net.

With time winding down, it looked as if the Lobos would get their first loss of the season until defender Giovanni Rollie won a corner kick.

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The ball was played in, and after bouncing around in the box, Venter hit the ball into the back of the net for his first goal of the season.

Fifty seconds later, Sandoval played a give-and-go, with Rogers on the top of the box, and placed his finish in the far post to take the lead.

“We just got pumped up after the first goal … we were trying to score one more, and I got through in the back and stuck it away at the back post,” Sandoval said.

Within 47 seconds of Sandoval’s goal, the Lobos scored again.

Northridge pushed forward to find a tying goal, but Rogers was played in on a quick counterattack and passed a perfect ball to Smith at the top of the box, who finished high at the near post.

The win takes the Lobos to 4-0-1 for the season. Fishbein said he was happy with his team’s comeback.

“No one is bigger than the team, and I think we have that belief and that pride in us, and it felt really good to deal with the adversity today,” he said. “Regardless of how good you are, soccer is not an easy game, but we stayed the course and it’s an important win for us.”


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