The No. 23 UNM men’s soccer team fought through double overtime and finished its last nonconference match of the season with a 1-1 draw with Valparaiso Wednesday night.
“That was a good opponent. I thought they came in here ready to play. My hat's off to them," said UNM head coach Jeremy Fishbein.
The match began 45 minutes later than expected due to some of the lights at the UNM Men’s Soccer Complex failing to work. The first half of the match was played with the west side lights off. But the technical difficulties didn’t seem to shake either team.
Junior midfielder Chris Wehan gave the Lobos a very early lead with a goal just 35 seconds into the match. Wehan sent the ball to the bottom left corner of the net with the help of sophomore forward Sam Gleadle.
This was Wehan's ninth goal of the season and 22nd of his career.
The Lobos (6-4-2, 0-3-0 C-USA) might have scored early, but the Valpo Crusaders dominated the field offensively throughout the match. During the first half they lead with 10 shots, compared to New Mexico’s four.
Fishbein said he was happy about his team scoring in the first minute. However, he was disappointed the Lobos didn’t keep that same energy throughout the entire game.
“I think if you have a lead, you have to play maturely with that lead,” he said.
The Crusaders were just as strong during the second half as they were in the first. But until the last five minutes of the match, it looked as if the Lobos would be able to escape with a 1-0 win.
That’s until junior midfielder/forward Matthew Gweh scored with a header off a pass from junior midfielder Isaiah Madrid in the 86th minute.
Valpo finished the second half with 13 shots, while New Mexico finished with seven.
Overtime was not much better for the Lobos, as they failed to record a single shot. In the end, Valpo (6-3-3, 2-1-1 Horizon) lead 30-11 in shots. They also lead 9-7 in corner kicks.
Get content from The Daily Lobo delivered to your inbox
Fishbein said the Lobos lacked “a little bit of quality” which allowed the Crusaders to see more of the ball. But he also said he thought the Lobos had a few chances that they could have taken advantage of.
"It's a pretty disappointing result," Fishbein said. "But as the game played out you're probably fortunate to get out of there with a tie.”
Up next, UNM will take on the University of Alabama at Birgmingham. This will be the Lobos’ fourth Conference USA match of the season. They are yet to win a conference game.
The Blazers (4-7-0, 1-2-0 C-USA) are coming off a 4-3 win against Florida International University (7-4, 2-2 C-USA).
Isabel Gonzalez is a sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @cisabelg.