The New Mexico men’s soccer team lost its third Conference USA match 2-0 against the No. 11 Old Dominion Monarchs on Saturday night.
The Lobos have yet to win a conference match this season. Their regular season was off to a promising start with a 5-1-1 record in the first seven matches. The one loss was against then-No. 1 UCLA. New Mexico was ranked as high as No. 7 in the NCAA Coaches’ Poll this season.
However, the Lobos have dropped three of their last four games. Saturday’s match brought their record to 6-4-1 overall and 0-3-0 C-USA.
Old Dominion (7-1-1) proved to be a physical team. The Monarchs had 14 fouls, including three yellow cards. The Lobos only committed six fouls.
New Mexico and Old Dominion recorded 15 shots each, but Old Dominion had more shots on goal, forcing Lobo keeper Jason Beaulieu to make 5 saves throughout the night. The Monarch keeper, Alex Tiesenhausen, only had to make two.
“We had some really good scoring chances, including one in the first two minutes,” UNM head coach Jeremy Fishbein said in a statement. “You’re presented with a handful of very good chances each game, and you have to take them. Just like in any sport, you get punished if you make mistakes or don’t capitalize on your chances.”
Early in the game, Lobo forward Niko Hansen had a chance to give his team the lead, but his shot was blocked by the ODU defense.
The first goal for the Monarchs came during the 28th minute. It came from a header by defender David Macsicza, who was assisted by midfielder/forward Jesse Miralrio and midfielder/forward Ivan Militar. This was Macsicza’s first goal for the season.
The second goal came in the 53rd minute. Militar, assisted by forward Josue Henriquez, scored his third goal of the season when he sent a shot into the lower left corner of the Lobo net.
New Mexico had several chances to score, including a series of three corner kicks in the 79th minute, but the players were not able to convert.
“It’s frustrating, but it’s not lack of effort or quality, it’s just finding the right mix of players and physical presence and adapting to your opponent a little better,” Fishbein said in a statement.
Fishbein said that to be successful, the Lobos will need to match other teams that are playing “efficient soccer” while at the same time maintaining their quality of play.
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UNM will now prepare for its final non-conference match of the season on Wednesday night, when the team hosts Valparaiso.
The Lobos’ next C-USA game will be next Sunday, when they host the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Isabel Gonzalez is a sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @cisabelg.