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Men's soccer: UNM bows out of C-USA tourney early

The UNM men’s soccer team fell 1-0 to the No. 17 South Carolina Gamecocks during the Conference USA Quarterfinals Wednesday night.

Head coach Jeremy Fishbein described the loss as “gut-wrenching.” The Lobos (8-6-4) saw a lot of the ball, outshooting the Gamecocks 12-9, and 5-3 with shots on goal. But their efforts were not enough for a win.

“It’s a really disappointing loss,” Fishbein said in a statement. “It was kind of the story of our season. We carried the majority of the game and had better chances, especially one that needed to be a goal.”

The first shot of the match came from South Carolina’s Kurtis Turner just three minutes in, but the ball went too wide.

During the 12th minute, Lobo defender Aaron Herrera recorded the first shot on goal when he sent a header straight toward the Gamecock net. However, goalkeeper William Pyle did not hesitate to make the save.

A better chance for the Lobos came in the 22nd minute, when midfielder Chris Wehan attempted a shot from about eight yards out. But once again, Pyle made the save.

The Gamecocks quickly took control of the ball after Wehan’s attempt, but the New Mexico defense was able to block a shot by Kevin Walker. His teammate, Asa Kryst, found the ball seconds later and tried a shot of his own, but Lobo keeper Jason Beaulieu made the save.

In the 33rd minute South Carolina’s Joey Hutchinson took a shot from inside the 18-yard box. Beaulieu made the save, but Gamecock Ive Burnett took the rebound and put the ball in the back of the net. However, the play was called offside, and therefore the goal was not counted.

The first half ended scoreless with the Lobos slightly leading in shots 6-5.

Both teams were hungry for a goal during the second half, but it took a while before any points went up on the scoreboard. The winning goal for South Carolina came in the 78th minute.

Earlier this week Beaulieu said South Carolina plays a lot of counterattack. And that’s exactly how the Gamecocks (11-6-1) got their win on Wednesday.

In the 76th minute, Lobo midfielder Josh Dye was fouled just outside the 18. Midfielder Francesco Casucci took the free kick from 19 yards away, but the ball was slightly too high. Pyle managed to send his goal kick behind the Lobo defense, and Bjorn Gudjonsson, assisted by Trygve Ellingstad, quickly converted this opportunity into the winning goal for his team.

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With this loss, the Lobos’ postseason will now be decided by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee. New Mexico came into Wednesday’s match with an RPI of 38.

“We’re in a funny situation, because our RPI is still pretty high, but I don’t know if we’ll get into the tournament,” Fishbein said in a statement.

Isabel Gonzalez is a sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at or on Twitter @cisabelg.

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