Tuesday, November 27, 2012

lobos soccer loses to uconn in sweet sixteen.

The University of New Mexico's men's soccer team began the season as the second ranked team in the country. Their season ended on Sunday, in Storrs, Connecticut, as the 13th ranked team, to number 4 University of Connecticut. The Lobos scored the lone goal of the first half in the 32nd minute, but gave up an equalizer in the second half. UConn's Mamadou Diouf put a header in the back of the net in the 76th minute to knot things up. Despite coming out of the second half break on fire, UNM never found the right mix, even missing a point blank shot with only two minutes left in regulation.

Heading into the overtime periods, the rules change from the regular season, and the Lobos had to fight for every inch, knowing that the golden goal would send whichever team scored first to the Elite Eight. Both teams only managed one shot on goal, UNM in the first OT, but it was UConn's, in the second OT period, in the 105th minute, that sealed the deal.

UConn will play in Storrs again next weekend, as they will be facing Creighton, who beat Akron with a 5-4 penalty count, after 2 scoreless overtime periods. That game will be played at 11 MST, to determine who's going to make the trip to the Final Four.

UNM ends their season in the Sweet Sixteen for the second consecutive year, disappointing fans who were looking for improvement on last year's incredible, undefeated season. The bitter taste is sure to hang heavily on senior Devon Sandoval, who played a phenomenal game and had an excellent season. Sandoval, one of six seniors on the team, recorded fifteen goals for the season and was consistently mentioned as one of the top players in the country. He's been mentioned all season as one of the top seniors in the nation, and as a possible draft pick in Major League Soccer's draw. Although Sandoval stands out as the senior with the most prospects for soccer in the future, and the Lobos are heading home earlier than both they and their fans would like, it should be noted that the six seniors helped the team equal a record that the 2004-2005 Lobos set: 35 wins over a combined two seasons. The net result of those teams? A national runner-up spot in 2005, losing to Maryland in the final game of the season. The lesson here: Lobo soccer is back. Losing six seniors will hurt, but this team should be a force to reckon with for some time.

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