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Blake Smith celebrates with fans after the Lobos beat the Blue Devils in extra time on Sunday at University Stadium in the second round of the NCAA tournament. In front of a sold out crowd, the Lobos won 2-1, and set up a third round matchup with South Florida next Sunday.

Lossless Lobos defeat Duke

Blue Devils lament overtime goal that sends Lobos to third round of tourney

The men’s soccer team imitated King Midas’ touch with a golden goal shot in overtime, granting it a victory over Duke in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Junior forward Devon Sandoval had the assist and redshirt freshman forward Carson Baldinger got the winning goal in the first extra time, as the No. 10 seed Lobos beat unseeded Duke 2-1 in a sold-out crowd of more than 6,200.

“It felt so good to get that win in front of the local people, and two local boys connecting for the goal,” said head coach Jeremy Fishbein. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of our guys; just the resilience and the confidence in that team of ours is something else.”

The game was fairly even, but Duke was in the lead after the 51st minute. However, a red card to Blue Devils’ Chris Tweed-Kent with 15 minutes remaining changed the game.

The game started with a flurry of shots. Duke shot over the net in the first minute, and Lobo freshman forward James Rogers’s shot was saved soon after

Both teams could have had a goal by half if it wasn’t for the spectacular goalkeeping from both keepers.

Six minutes into the second half, a rare mistake by the Lobos’ defense let Duke’s Nick Palodichuk in on goal. He placed his shot to the far post, and junior goalkeeper Victor Rodriguez failed to respond, which put the Blue Devils ahead.

After the goal, Duke kept its players behind the ball and waited to hit UNM on a counterattack.

With 15 minutes left, the game changed when Tweed-Kent got a straight red card for an apparent elbow to a Lobo player’s face.

Duke head coach John Kerr said the foul didn’t deserve a red card.

“It was a huge decision,” he said. “It went against us. It really affected how we defended and gave them a huge advantage, and it was very difficult for us to come back from it.”

Playing a man up, the Lobos pushed forward every time they touched the ball, and it didn’t take long to tie the game.

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Junior forward Blake Smith picked up a loose ball 25 yards from goal and half-volleyed it past goalkeeper James Belshaw.

After the goal, the Lobos pushed forward for the next goal, but they missed three chances to win it in regular play.

“I felt confident in that second half we were going to generate chances, and if we got one, we were going to get two,” Fishbein said. “We got after them — I think we started wearing them down.

It was just a great performance.”

The Lobos dominated extra time, and with two minutes left in the first extra time a long ball found Sandoval at the back post. He headed the ball across goal to a wide-open Baldinger, who headed it effortlessly.

Many of the fans rushed the field to celebrate with the players.

Baldinger said the goal is one he’ll never forget.

“You go to believe so,” he said. “This kind of goal in front of these fans in my hometown is just something that will never leave my mind.”

Baldinger said after this win there is no telling what the Lobos can do.

“We feel that we are here to win it,” he said. “We’re not here to get to the third round or the quarterfinals: We’re here to win it. The sky is the limit for us.”

The Lobos now travel to take on No. 7 seed University of South Florida next Sunday in the third round.


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