Thrilling game between New Mexico and UAB ends in loss for No. 10 Blazers
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. –- Tenth-ranked UAB suffered a 4-3 setback at the hands of Conference USA foe No. 25 New Mexico on Wednesday night. New Mexico converted on a penalty kick with seven seconds remaining in regulation to secure the home victory.
New Mexico (9-4-2, 5-1-1) was the aggressor early in the match. Senior goalkeeper Raphael Ville came up big in that stretch, recording four saves, including one point-blank save on a great attempt by New Mexico sophomore midfielder Ben McKendry.
UAB (11-3-1, 4-2-1) seized the momentum in the 22nd minute, pushing ahead on its first shot of the night. Sophomore forward Freddy Ruiz drove from off the end line and buried a shot past senior goalkeeper Michael Lisch. It marked Ruiz’s 11th goal of the season, which leads Conference USA.
Not even two minutes later, UAB extended its advantage to 2-0. Redshirt junior midfielder Alex Clay snared a pass from New Mexico’s backline. Clay then fired the stolen ball past Lisch into the lower right corner of the Lobos’ goal.
The Lobos would not give up so easily, though. In the 40th minute, redshirt junior defender Riley McGovern put New Mexico within striking distance with his third goal of the year. Seventy-seven seconds later, freshman forward Niko Hansen one-timed a pass from McGovern to tie the match at 2-2.
Each team was looking to surge ahead in the second half. Hansen had a great opportunity early in the second stanza, but sophomore defender Ian Svantesson booted the ball out of the net to keep the match tied.
In the 81st minute, New Mexico got the go-ahead goal it was looking for. McKendry put the ball toward the far post and Ville could not make the save despite a diving effort.
UAB would not go away so silently, though. Redshirt sophomore forward Karl Chester played a ball to Clay inside the New Mexico box in the 89th minute. Clay collected the pass and placed a beautiful shot into the top right corner to tie the match at 3-3.
It appeared the match was destined for overtime, but with seven seconds remaining Ville drew a red card, setting up a New Mexico penalty kick. Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky checked into the match for Ville, with the game on the line. New Mexico senior midfielder Michael Calderon set up for the penalty kick. Calderon slotted the ball into the lower left corner past a diving Kuzminsky to secure the victory for the Lobos.