Senior Kevin Durr and junior Caleb Downey scored and the Air Force men’s soccer team turned in another stellar defensive performance as the Falcons knocked off 8th-ranked New Mexico for the second time in seven days, this time 2-1 Friday night at Cadet Soccer Stadium. The Falcons, who beat UNM 1-0 in overtime last Friday, take over sole possession of first place in the MPSF Mountain Division at 6-6-1 overall and 3-1 in league play. The Lobos, meanwhile, fell to 9-3 and 2-2.
Downey, who scored the only goal against UNM last week, notched the game-winner in the 75th minute after fellow senior Jake Jones flipped a pass to him and Downey headed a shot past UNM keeper Victor Rodriguez to the right post from inside the box. It was Downey’s third goal of his career, all coming against the Lobos.
“It’s nice to see Caleb get rewarded for all of his hard work,” said Air Force head coach Doug Hill. “Once again, he played a great defensive game, as did our entire team, shutting down Devon Sandoval and the rest of their team.”
Senior midfielder Kevin Durr opened the scoring with what Hill called “one of the best goals I’ve seen in college soccer this year.” Durr found an opening and fired a rocket from 30 yards out with his left foot that just cleared the outstretched arm of Rodriguez and entered the net just below the crossbar. It was Durr’s second goal of the season and first since scoring against Presbyterian College on Sept, 16.
New Mexico tied the score at 1-all in the 51st minute with a penalty kick by Nik Robson, but the Falcons kept up the pressure and it paid off with Downey’s game-winner.
“It was nice to play on the bigger field at home and have room to set up our plays,” said Hill. “We were very effective on our counters tonight and got a superb effort from our starting 11.”
The Lobos outshot Air Force 16-11 in total shots and 4-3 in shots on goal. Durr led all players with six shots, while Michael Calderon led the Lobos with five. Air Force goalie Matt Underwood made three saves, while Rodriguez made just one.
Air Force hosts Houston Baptist on Sunday, Oct. 14 beginning at 1:30 p.m.