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Lobos defender Nicholas Rochowski scores a goal against Florida Atlantic University at the UNM Soccer Complex Friday night. The Lobos won 3-0. 

Lobos defender Nicholas Rochowski scores a goal against Florida Atlantic University at the UNM Soccer Complex Friday night. The Lobos won 3-0. 

Men's soccer: New Mexico stamps its ticket to C-USA tournament

The Lobos season is not yet over following a crucial 3-0 win over the Florida Atlantic Owls on Senior Night Friday.

With this win the Lobos clinched their spot in this year’s Conference USA tournament. It was an important win, but by no means an easy one, especially since the first half was not so hot for the Lobos.

Both teams recorded four shots during this period. However, FAU had two shots on goal, while New Mexico had none. The Lobos had a few chances, but weren’t able to finish them.

“The start of the game, we hit the post, what, three times?” head coach Jeremy Fishbein said. “You keep saying ‘there’s no way it’s going to be one of those days. Eventually they are going to find the net.’”

In the 17th minute midfielder Chris Wehan took a shot that was too wide on the left side. Then in the 22nd minute forward Niko Hansen took a shot that hit the crossbar.

The second half was completely different. By the end of the half, the Lobos lead 19-6 in total shots and 11-0 in corner kicks. The Lobos saw a lot of action throughout, but all three goals were scored within the last 20 minutes of the match.

Defender Nicholas Rochowski scored a goal in the middle of the period, but was declared offside and it didn’t count.

“It’s just the way of the game. The ref calls it and that’s it, we have to get back and play,” Rochowski said. “It didn’t take away much; everyone got really excited, we got the feeling of getting the goal, so we wanted to feel it again.”

Rochowski scored again in the 72nd minute, putting his team 1-0 ahead of the Owls.

“It was a huge weight off our shoulders because it was a step in the right direction,” he said.

Midfielder Francesco Casucci increased the Lobos’ advantage to 2-0 just four minutes later. Hansen assisted this goal by sending Casucci the cross to set it up.

Less than five minutes before the match was over, the Lobos decided that two goals wouldn’t be enough.

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Hansen quickly scored with an assist by Wehan in the 85th minute to give the Lobos the final 3-0 victory.

Fishbein said he would have preferred to see his team score the three goals within the first 20 minutes as opposed to the last 20 minutes, but he said he was still happy with the overall performance and the way the Lobos handled themselves.

“It was good to deal with pressure. They guys knew what was at stake, and that’s how it is here on out.” Fishbein said. “All we can do now is look forward to the next game.”

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

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