Washington men’s soccer falls in NCAA quarterfinals, 1-0 to New Mexico
New Mexico scored the game’s only goal on a tap-in eight minutes before halftime. Oniel Fisher received the ball 10 yards out on the right flank and played a cross to the far post, where New Mexico’s Ben McKendry was for a left-footed finish.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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Taylor Peay covered his face with a purple and black jersey as the horn sounded for full time Saturday night. The horn also sounded on Peay’s career at Washington.
In front of more than 2,000 spectators at Husky Soccer Stadium, the Washington men’s soccer team was unable to take the next step in the NCAA tournament.
The No. 2-seeded Huskies fell in the program’s first national quarterfinal match, a 1-0 defeat against No. 7-seed New Mexico. The Lobos scored the game’s only goal on a tap-in eight minutes before halftime. Oniel Fisher received the ball 10 yards out on the right flank and played a cross to the far post, where New Mexico’s Ben McKendry was ready for a left-footed finish.
Windy conditions affected UW’s victory over Stanford last weekend, and the weather had an impact again Saturday. The field was frozen over, causing players to have trouble switching directions.
Washington’s struggles with cleats on the frozen pitch caused team officials to go buy new footwear during the game and switch the footwear at halftime.
“We’d never played in it before and didn’t realize how much of a difference it would make,” UW coach Jamie Clark said. “Poor Taylor and these guys couldn’t defend in the first half, and it made New Mexico look good.”
The Lobos had most of the possession in the opening 45 minutes, as Washington struggled to string together passes in New Mexico’s half of the field. Neither team could direct many shots on goal, partly due to an icy surface, though the ball was often inside Washington’s 18-yard box.
The Lobos took 10 shots in the first half to UW’s one.
Michael Harris did many of his signature flip throw-ins, but none of his acrobatics were able to create dangerous chances for UW. His frustration was evident when he got into a shoving match with New Mexico’s Mathew Gibbons late in the first half and got a yellow card.
Four minutes into the second half, the Huskies had one of their few prime chances to score. James Moberg drove a free kick to the feet of Cristian Roldan inside the box, but Roldan’s shot went high and wide after he was one-on-one with New Mexico’s keeper.
The match Saturday was the final collegiate game for defenders Peay and Harris, both four-year starters. Peay is a semifinalist for the MAC Herman Trophy.