Mason men's soccer season ends with loss in second round of NCAA Tournament

Mason men's soccer lost to New Mexico in round 2 of the NCAA Tournament (photo by John Irwin).
Mason men's soccer lost to New Mexico in round 2 of the NCAA Tournament (photo by John Irwin).

Mason men’s soccer team finished its run in the NCAA tournament, as the Patriots lost 1-0 to the University of New Mexico in the second round on Sunday night. A late goal by junior midfielder James Rogers in the 83rd minute materialized the dominance the Lobos exerted throughout the game.

On the night, the Patriots were outshot 19-4 by the Lobos and placed only two shots on goal as opposed to six by their opponent. Mason’s goalkeeper Steffen Kraus had another great performance and registered five saves on the night. Four of them were in the first half and included one when he jumped across the goal to palm away a short-range header by New Mexico defender Nick Miele. However, even Kraus could not prevent Rogers to slide the ball past him after a ground cross by Niko Hansen from the right hang side.

In the first half, Mason was the closest to scoring in the 13th minute through sophomore midfielder Ryan Harmouche, who headed senior Julio Arjona’s free kick just over the bar. However, by far the best chance for the Patriots came in the dying minutes of the game, when they were already trailing. Sophomore Brice Colcombe received the ball near the penalty area and found himself with only one defender between him and Michael Lisch’s goal. Despite having options to pass on both sides, Colcombe opted to shoot, forcing a great save from Lisch.

The defeat put an end to a historic season for Mason, in which the team tied a record for an unbeaten streak (13 matches). Aside from individual athletic recognition and the Atlantic-10 conference title, coach Greg Andrulis’ squad received the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Team Academic award. This is due to the players’ average GPA of 3.11 for the 2012-2013 school year.

On the other hand, the Lobos continue to the Sweet 16 round next week where they will face Penn State University. The Nittany Lions pulled one of the upsets of the second round, defeating the No.10 seed University of California-Santa Barbara 1-0.

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