The Seattle University men's soccer team played minute-for-minute with the fifth-ranked team in the country, but the University of New Mexico converted on enough set pieces for a 2-1 victory over the Redhawks Friday afternoon at Championship Field.
"I thought we could play with New Mexico, and for the most part we did, but giving up those set piece goals hurt us in the end," head coach Brad Agoos said. "We need to find someone to step up and create those types of opportunities for us more often."
New Mexico (12-0-2, 6-0 MPSF), the last remaining undefeated team in NCAA Division I men's soccer, jumped on the board in the fifth minute. Blake Smith sent a corner kick into the box, where Kyle Venter was able to put his head on the ball and send it into the net for his fourth goal of the season. The Lobos controlled the early portion of the match, but were unable to earn any more tallies in the first half.
Seattle U started to move forward midway through the first half, picking up three shots in the final five minutes of the half. Marshall Kosaka (Burien, Wash.) was able to put his shot on net, but Lobo goalie Victor Rodriguez prevented it from getting past him, while shots by Elliot Richards (Seattle, Wash.) and Tyler Hanson (Federal Way, Wash.) failed to find their target.
In the 51st minute of the match, Mikey Ramos (Spokane Valley, Wash.) made a rush into the Lobo box and made a crossing pass through the goal mouth. Michael Green attempted to corral the ball, but it deflected off his foot and rolled into the net for an own goal that tied the match. New Mexico increased its offensive pressure, taking four shots over a seven-minute span.
Seattle U had a great chance to pull ahead in the 68th minute, as Jens Klitgaard (Nykobing-Falster, Denmark) joined the offensive threat and put a shot on net that Rodriguez stopped. While the Lobo keeper was trying to rejoin the action, the ball found Demaci Roussos (Sacramento, Calif.), but his shot was turned away by the New Mexico defense, and Klitgaard's second chance of the rally was sent away by the Lobos.
Marshall Reese (Portland, Ore.) made two brilliant saves on scoring chances by Devon Sandoval, but the second one led to a corner kick. Smith's pass reached Levi Rossi, but his shot was sent away by Brandon Hamer (Carmichael, Calif.), who was stationed at the goal line. However, on the corner kick in the 75th minute, Smith's pass landed at the feet of Carson Baldinger, whose shot from 10 feet out eluded Reese and crossed the goal line.
The Redhawks created one final chance in the 82nd minute, but Hamer's shot was stopped by Rodriguez, who was credited with four saves in earning his 12th victory of the season. Reese earned three saves for the Redhawks, who were even with the Lobos in shots (14-14) and corner kicks (4-4).
Ramos led the Redhawks with four total shots, while four other players earned two shots apiece. James Rogers led New Mexico with four shots, while Sandoval finished with three shots and Rossi was credited with two shots.
Seattle University (2-9-2, 1-5 MPSF) will welcome UNLV to Championship Field Sunday, Oct. 23, for a 1 p.m. contest.