A lone goal and a strong defense helped the Lobos in a 1-0 victory over the University of Washington Huskies for their third and final preseason match on Saturday.
Senior forward Niko Hansen banged in his fourth goal of the week with just six minutes remaining on the clock. This game-winner was also his 11th goal in 2016, as he scored seven in the spring.
UNM did not allow a single goal during the fall preseason games. On Monday the Lobos took down UNLV 3-0, and on Thursday the score was 4-0 against Fort Lewis.
But head coach Jeremy Fishbein said Saturday’s victory was different from the other two.
“This was a game you wanted to have,” he said on a statement. “You needed one real test to kind of see what we are about. I think we got that (on Saturday) and you start to see which guys you think can play at this level, who needs to keep growing and keep working, but for this time of the year, early going, we’re pretty happy with it.”
The Lobos came out with energy, seeking an early goal. Their first real threatening shot came during the 12th minute when redshirt senior Nick Rochowski rattled the left post following a right-side corner kick taken by senior Josh Goss.
Both teams had a couple chances but the next big one was 12 minutes before the first half was over. This one was for the Huskies.
Washington sophomore Quentin Pearson fired a shot from the left side straight toward the top of the net. Lobo keeper Jason Beaulieu was able to punch the ball above the crossbar and away from danger.
Statistically, the Lobos dominated the first half leading 11-4 in shots, and 4-1 in shots on goal.
The second half began with Washington taking control of the ball. However, the Lobos made their presence felt again when they almost got on the scoreboard 17 minutes in.
Goss took a shot that looked promising, but it ended up going straight into the hands of Washington’s goalkeeper Auden Schilder.
The Lobos had a couple more half chances but the ball didn’t go in until six minutes before regulation time was over. Hansen faced four Washington players and after dribbling past them and fired a shot deep into the top the right corner.
Get content from The Daily Lobo delivered to your inbox
The match ended with UNM beating Washington 18-5 in shots, and 7-1 shots on goal.
“We could be a little bit sharper in the attacking third,” Fishbein said on a statement. “I think we had some really good chances in that first half that we should have put a couple in the back of the net, but all in all, we were solid defensively. (I’m) happy with the performance, great goal to win it by Niko Hansen and it’s something to keep growing.”
The teams played two additional 20-minute halves to get some extra practice out of their last preseason match. No more goals were scored during this extra time.
With Saturday’s win, the Lobos are still undefeated in 2016, as they finished both the spring and fall exhibitions without losing a single match.
UNM will officially kick off their 2016 fall season this week when the Lobos travel to South Bend, Indiana to face Indiana University and Notre Dame in the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament.