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Forward Devon Sandoval keeps the ball away from Air Force defender Mitch Kim. The Lobos beat the Falcons 1-0 thanks to a first half goal from Lance Rozeboom. They are now an undefeated 11-0-2 for the season.

Messy win reminder to excel

It wasn’t a pretty finish, but a win is a win.

After putting away six goals on Friday in its 6-0 win over Denver University, UNM could only muster a one-point victory as it beat Air Force 1-0 yesterday, to take them to 11-0-2 for the season.

The only goal came in the first half as senior Lance Rozeboom was taken down in the box and converted the penalty kick.

“I am proud of the guys for grinding it out,” Rozeboom said.

“Games like these — in the past we have not grinded them out, but we did today. Air Force is always a tough team to play. They battle nonstop, and they are committed to the way they play.”
The Lobos beat the Falcons Oct. 9 with a last-minute goal, 2-1 in Colorado Springs, and the game this time was just as close.

UNM could have been up by two goals after only ten minutes, but forward Devon Sandoval had his header saved by Falcons goalie Matt Underwood, and seconds later midfielder Blake Smith’s 20 yard shot went wide of the far post.

In the 27th minute, Rozeboom picked up the ball in the midfield and dribbled past two defenders before being taken down in the box.

Rozeboom converted a penalty kick in the first half to give the Lobos the lead, and on Sunday he stepped up for the chance to do the same.

Rozeboom again converted the penalty as he coolly slotted his shot to the left, while the goalie dived the wrong way.

“It’s on me as a leader to step up and make those penalty kicks, and this weekend, fortunately, I was able to do that,” Rozeboom said.

Head coach Jeremy Fishbein said his team needs to learn from close games such as this one.

“We made some young mistakes and we weren’t punished,” he said. “The lesson is when you are playing in big games, when it gets to the NCAA tournament and it’s single elimination, you can’t make mistakes. You have to make good teams beat you.”

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The second half was a much different story as Air Force took the game to the Lobos and forced Lobo goalkeeper Victor Rodriguez into action.

With ten minutes left, the Falcons’ Garrett Getschow got around his defender but failed to get his shot on goal.

Three minutes later, Air Force’s Jake Jones hit his shot just wide and then later forced Rodriguez into one of his three saves in the game.

The Lobo defense fell apart again in the last minute of the game, as a long ball over the top found both Getschow and Jones wide open on the back post, but neither of them could get the ball on frame.

The Lobos ended the game outshooting the Falcons 13-10, and forced Underwood into making six saves.

Fishbein said that this is a game they just need to look past.

“I’m glad we won. I thought we played well in areas, but we just have to move on. This is not a game to dwell on,” he said.

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