SEATTLE, Wash. -- The challenge was clear for the New Mexico Lobos on Saturday’s frigid quarterfinals match: survive and advance. New Mexico (14-5-2) did just that withstanding freezing temperatures, a frozen pitch and a formidable foe in the Washington Huskies (16-2-4). The Lobos’ 1-0 win put New Mexico in the Final Four for the second time in school history thanks to Ben McKendry’s first-half goal.
The game was played at a back-and-forth pace as temperature sat in the 20’s all day in Seattle. The heavy freeze turned the Huskies’ field into a solid block as many players elected to play in turf shoes.
The Lobo attack was a constant threat in the first 45 minutes of the match as Christopher Wehan nearly scored a pair of goals off long-distance strikes. After missing by inches on several shots, Ben McKendry found the back of the net.
The scoring action, which occurred in the 37th minute, began with James Rogers possessing along the right edge of the box. Rogers skipped a pass to Oniel Fisher who found Ben McKendry for a point-blank goal.
The Lobos dominated the first-half statistics in shots (10-1), shots on goal (4-0) and corner kicks (3-1). Wehan recorded four of the 10 New Mexico shots.
The Washington attack would come to life in the second half. The Huskies outshot the Lobos early in the half as they took a majority of the shots in through the 75th minute. Washington tested the Lobo defense several times in the final minutes, but UNM absorbed the pressure from Washington’s long throw-ins.
Coach Fishbein and the Lobos nearly got insurance goals in the final minutes off a pair of counter attacks from Rogers and Wehan. Wehan’s breakaway shot was saved while Rogers missed high.
UNM won the statistics battle by match’s end as well. The Cherry & Silver held a 16-8 advantage in shots (5-3 shots on goal).