Junior Caleb Downey certainly knows how to make the most of his trips to Albuquerque, N.M. Two years ago as a freshman, he scored the first goal of his career in a 3-2 victory at the UNM Soccer Complex, then Friday night scored the second goal of his career 3:41 into overtime as the Air Force men’s soccer team stunned the 5th-ranked Lobos 1-0 in front of 3,205 fans.
The victory was Air Force’s first against a top-5 ranked team since upsetting No. 1 Creighton, 2-0, in the 1993 NCAA Tournament. With tonight’s win, Air Force moves into sole possession of first place in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation’s Mountain Division with a 2-0 league record and improved to 5-5-1 overall. The Lobos, who saw their seven-game winning streak snapped, fell to 8-2 and 1-1.
“This is an awesome win for our program,” said Air Force head coach Doug Hill. “We felt we had a great game plan going in and we executed it to perfection tonight. It was a great team effort for 90 minutes which got us to overtime and then anything can happen.”
Downey scored the game-winner after senior Trevor Wade sent a long throw in towards the box that was misplayed by UNM goalie Victor Rodriguez. After several players collided, the ball ended up at Downey’s feet and he sent a shot to the far post that New Mexico's Kyle Venter tried to block but the ball deflected off him and into the net. It was Air Force’s eighth total shot and just its second shot on goal for the entire game.
“Caleb played a great game tonight,” said Hill. “Not only does he get the game-winner, but he shut down (Devon) Sandoval, one of the best players in our league. Eric Tise also played an outstanding defensive game for us.”
The Lobos attempted 15 total shots and put four on goal but could not solve Air Force keeper Matt Underwood, who posted his second straight shutout and fifth of the season. He made four saves and has not allowed a goal in over 193 minutes of game action.
Air Force senior Zane Dydasco tied three Lobos with a game-high three shots. No other Falcon had more than one.
Air Force heads to Houston, Texas to take on MPSF-newcomer Houston Baptist on Sunday, Oct. 7 beginning at 1 p.m.