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James Rogers goes for a sliding shot against UConn in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. The Lobos lost 2-1 in double overtime.

Double-overtime loss ends men’s soccer season

Huskies defeat Lobos 2-1 in Sunday’s match

Early leads for the UNM men’s soccer team have been the norm; unfortunately, strong finishes haven’t.

UConn freshman forward Nicholas Zuniga struck the game-winning goal — the first of his career — after taking a pass on a breakaway and shot the ball into the lower left corner of the net to give the University of Connecticut a 2-1 double-overtime victory over UNM.

“At the moment, what was going through my mind was to just put it in the goal, because I had enough opportunities that game. I’m just glad I got that one,” Zuniga said. “My heart is still pounding right now.”

UNM head coach Jeremy Fishbein attributed the Lobos’ loss to their inability to take advantage of opportunities.

“We knew it was going to be a game with two good teams that are committed to playing soccer with quality players, special attacking players and good defenses. It was going to be a matter of taking chances and limiting mistakes,” he said. “We had a lot of chances to win the game, so it was a tough way to end the season, but we lost to a good team.”

UNM senior forward Devon Sandoval scored the first goal of the game after UConn sophomore goalie Andre Blake saved a shot by junior midfielder Michael Calderon. The ball then bounced to Sandoval, and he put it into the back of the net for his 15th goal of the season.

UConn junior forward Mamadou Doudou Diouf tied the game at 1-1 in the 76th minute when he received a deep cross from senior defender Max Wasserman. Wasserman headed the ball to Diouf, who headed it past Lobo senior goalie Victor Rodriguez.

UNM freshman midfielder Ben McKendry almost hit a last-minute goal when he missed a cross pass in front of the goal in the 88th minute.

At the end of regulation, UNM had a 13-12 shot lead, and both teams had attempted three corner kicks.

Sophomore forward James Rogers took UNM’s only shot in overtime, taking a chance at the top of the box that sailed right above the crossbar. And then just five minutes into double overtime, Zuniga hit the game-winning goal.

The Lobos finish with a 17-4-1 record and tie a program record for 35 wins in a two-season span.

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Fishbein said that after Sunday’s game, the Huskies deserve to be recognized as one of the top programs in the country.

“It’s always difficult to end your season and to do so in that fashion. I am really appreciative of our team and our seniors … It was a tough way to lose, but there’s the utmost respect for this program,” he said, referring to UConn. “The UConn players were class act and so was the coaching staff, and that’s all you can really ask for.”


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