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Junior midfielder Michael Calderon tries to break away from the Virginia defense on Sunday at the UNM Soccer Complex. The Lobos went on to win their second-round NCAA tournament game 3-1 and will play the University of Connecticut in the third round.

Lobos beat Cavaliers 3-1 in second round of NCAA tournament

The NCAA College Cup returned to the UNM Soccer Complex on Sunday, as the Lobos defeated Virginia 3-1.

The second-round game against the Cavaliers pitted the Lobos against a team better than their usual foes.

“We needed this first one,” UNM head coach Jeremy Fishbein said. “Coming off that (conference) schedule, we hadn’t played a team of this caliber. We knew it was going to be a good challenge.”

The first goal of the match was scored at the 5:12 mark on the Lobos’ fourth corner kick. Junior defender Kyle Venter headed the kick by junior midfielder Michael Calderon to put the ball in the net and give the Lobos an early lead.

“This is the third second-round game with a bye that we’ve hosted. In each of the previous two games, we gave up the first goal,” Fishbein said. “Coming off of the bye is always a challenge. Are you going to be a little lethargic? The other team is just coming off of a win; they’re excited. We locked it down early today, and that was important.”

The Lobos kept the momentum through the rest of the first half, outshooting Virginia 14-4. Virginia played hard defense, leading to a few scuffles between the two teams. One incident escalated, resulting in Virginia’s freshman forward Darius Madison’s receiving a yellow card 37:53 into the first half.

“We were good the first half,” Fishbein said. “We were really taking it to them, and I just kept thinking that it was a matter of time before we put that second goal in.”

Virginia struck early to start the second half, with sophomore defender Matt Brown scoring fewer than three minutes in. The goal, which came off of a corner kick and was assisted by Cavalier freshman midfielder Scott Thomsen, tied the game 1-1.

“At the start of the second half, we started to find our rhythm,” Virginia head coach George Gelnovatch said. “We got a quick goal, but unfortunately (the Lobos) had a quick counter that made it really difficult for us.”

Lobo sophomore forward James Rogers, assisted by Calderon, snuck the ball past Cavalier sophomore goalie Spencer LaCivita. The goal, scored at the 57:30 mark, gave the Lobos a 2-1 lead.

“James made a pretty good run,” Calderon said. “I know that he’s pretty fast, so I just put it between the defenders, and he had a good finish.”

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Calderon put the icing on the cake, scoring a goal of his own with 18 seconds left to put the Lobos up 3-1.

Tensions from the first half carried over to the second. UNM freshman midfielder Ben McKendry was given a yellow card at the 61:27 mark. Calderon garnered another yellow card for the Lobos, committing a foul at 65:02. The Cavaliers got their hands dirty as well, with freshman midfielder Todd Wharton receiving a yellow card at the 69:07 mark. Virginia senior forward Will Bates added to the game’s roughness, receiving a yellow card at 76:56.

“I don’t think that anyone would ever call us physical,” Gelnovatch said. “We are not a strong or physical team, but we felt coming in here that we needed to respond. Looking back, I don’t think that we were overly physical. I think it was a response to a game that was very competitive.”

UNM moves on to play Connecticut on Sunday in Storrs, Conn. The Lobos’ senior goalie Victor Rodriguez, who served his one-game suspension Sunday, will be eligible for the game against the Huskies.

“I can’t tell you how excited we are to fly out to Connecticut and get a big one next Sunday,” Fishbein said. “The exciting thing coming into this next game is that we’re the underdog. We don’t feel that we’re the underdog; we’re going to win this game. It’s great to be the underdog against (Connecticut). They’re not going to know what hit them.”


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