ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The No. 16 Penn State men's soccer team had its season cut short in the NCAA Third Round by seventh-seeded New Mexico, 2-0, at the UNM Soccer Complex Sunday night in front of 3,347 fans. Andrew Wolverton (Atlanta, Ga.) did all he could to give Penn State a chance to win, making seven saves in the contest.
Penn State (13-6-2) had its memorable season cut short by a talented Lobo side. The Nittany Lions won their second straight Big Ten title and fifth in Big Ten history, while making the squad's 31st NCAA Tournament appearance.
The first half belonged to New Mexico (13-5-2) with a decisive 7-1 edge in shots and two outstanding chances for an early lead. Nicholas Rochowski's header on the far left post required an athletic outstretched save by Wolverton in the 39th minute. In the 43rd minute, Chris Wehan's 20-yard effort was destined for the left-side netting, but Wolverton was there for the acrobatic stop as the two teams went into the break scoreless.
The pressure would finally pay off for the Lobos in the 54th minute as Michael Calderon flicked a ball over the PSU midfield to a running Obrien Fisher. Fisher chested the pass to himself and ripped a left-footed shot that just got by Wolverton, who tipped it before going in. The goal was the first one conceded by the Nittany Lions in 343:37.
New Mexico doubled its lead just 3:20 later off a corner kick as Riley McGovern touched home a 10-yard shot to the far left post, which was assisted by James Rogers. The two-goal deficit was Penn State's first since Sept. 6 at Rutgers in a 4-1 loss.
The Nittany Lions battled back the best it could, generating two quality chances in the aftermath of the New Mexico tallies. Martin Seiler (Stuttgart, Germany) had a golden opportunity in the 62nd minute as he was left wide open on a corner kick, but his header from 12 yards away sailed high. In the 66th minute, Mark Wadid (Missassauga, Ont.) let loose a rip from 20 yards out that beat goalkeeper Michael Lisch, however, Wadid's effort went just wide of the left post.
The Lobos limited Penn State's chances and held the Nittany Lions to just five shots total, with Wadid accounting for two of them. New Mexico posted 15 shots of its own, owning a 9-0 edge in shots on goal, 4-3 in corner kicks and 7-6 in fouls.
The loss ended the careers of three Nittany Lions in action Sunday evening: Grant Warming (Omaha, Neb.), Akil Howard (Queens, N.Y.) and Seiler. The trio combined for two Big Ten championships and the program's first NCAA Tournament road win since 1998 in a 1-0 victory at UC Santa Barbara last week.
--Penn State Athletic Communications