Herd Falls 3-1 to No. 25 New Mexico|
Sept. 30, 2013
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Poised for an upset of No. 25 New Mexico (5-3-1, 1-0-0 C-USA), the Marshall men’s soccer team (2-5-3, 0-1-0 C-USA) was unable to pull the upset as the Lobos took the match by a score of 3-1, Monday night, on Hoops Family Field at Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex.
“It was just a tough match and we knew New Mexico was going to be a good team,” Marshall coach Bob Gray said. “From top to bottom they didn’t have any weaknesses. I think we showed them that we belong out on the field with them and we can play with them. We were a little unlucky, just as it has been all year for us as we were unable to score goals.”
The win gave Conference USA newcomers New Mexico its first win in the conference in its first C-USA game, as the Thundering Herd dropped its first conference match of the year.
With Marshall having controlled the first 20 minutes of play, the tides turned on the Herd in the 21st minute as New Mexico countered and converted on a cross to Ben McKendry that was struck past Marshall goalkeeper Danny Sellitti (Las Vegas) and into the left side of goal, giving the Lobos a 1-0 advantage under a quarter of the way through the match.
After the early goal, New Mexico seized control of the match despite being on the road as the Lobos’ defense clamped down on the offensive attack of the Herd. Michael Calderon displayed his scoring prowess for New Mexico in the 30th minute as he took a pass in the 18-yard box and snuck it past Sellitti to put the Lobos on top, 2-0.
The Herd would remain strong as just minutes later; Marshall drew a penalty kick on a foul in the box on a corner kick in the 34th minute. Senior co-captain Zach Hunter (Marietta, Ga.) stepped to the penalty spot and converted from 12 yards out to make it 2-1, bringing the Herd within one goal of the Lobos.
On the Hunter penalty kick conversion, Marshall extended its scoring streak to eight matches after the Herd was held scoreless in its first two matches of the season. The streak began in a road match at Wright State (Sept. 6).
Back on the attack with additional offensive pressure, Marshall looked to tie the game before the half as senior Anthony Virgara (Pittsburgh, Pa.) took a shot on line that hit the right post of the New Mexico goal before being cleared away to keep the Herd from netting an equalizer. The score would remain 2-1 in favor of the visitors heading into the half time break.
At the start of the second half, Marshall worked for scoring opportunities with hopes of tying the game at two goals apiece, but the New Mexico back line was tough for the Herd to break through.
In the 66th minute, New Mexico extended its lead to two goals for the second time of the night as Niko Hansen recorded his first goal of the night and fifth of the season to put the Lobos up 3-1.
Despite having recorded eight corner kicks, to six from the Lobos, Marshall was unable to score again as New Mexico collected a 3-1 victory.
“Overall I was pleased with our effort as they are a team that will be there in the end,” said Gray. They will only get better as they have played an extremely tough schedule so far. They will be a team to be reckoned with in the conference and now we realize we can play with anybody in Conference USA.”
The C-USA opener for the Herd also signified the end of a six-match homestand for Marshall at ‘the Vet’ that began against Oakland (Sept. 13). Marshall posted a 2-2-2 record over the span.
The meeting between Marshall and New Mexico was just the second in the series history, with the Lobos having won both contests by a combined score of 6-1.
Marshall will play away from ‘the Vet’ for the first time since Sept. 8, as the Herd heads south to take on FIU in Miami on Sunday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m.