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Miners Get Historic Soccer Win Over NMSU

SOCORRO, N.M. September 15, 2010 -- The New Mexico Tech Miners and Tech athletics scored an historic victory Sunday, Sept. 5. for the first time in the modern era, the Miners soccer team beat the New Mexico State University Aggies in a regular season conference game. Tech defeated a short-sided NMSU team last spring in an informal tournament game.
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                            The 2010-11 Miners soccer team
 


It is a feat that the Miner men have not been able to accomplish since their reformation in 2000, and entrance into the National Intramural-Recreation Sports Association's collegiate club soccer league in 2003.

The Miners had come close at times — a tie in 2004, and a couple of early game leads which turned into late game one-goal losses — but the talented Aggies always managed to find a way to defeat and sometimes humiliate the Techies.

This time it was different. The Miners were victorious with a decisive 5-2 score. It was a satisfying win for the Miners, decided not by a fluke goal, or a referee call, or a numbers advantage. For most of the game, the Miners out-skilled, out-smarted, out-hustled and over-powered the NMSU men. It was an exciting match for the faithful fans, and a proud moment for an old coach.

A lot of scoring took place early on. Within five minutes, Tech was up 2-0 with goals by Mahmood Shittu and Robert Hernandez.
NMSU got on the board with a goal at the 10-minute mark, but Tech's Calvin Santisteven quickly negated the Aggie goal when he broke through the defense and stunned the keeper with a floating chip to the corner of the goal.

For a few minutes, the Miners got a little too comfortable, and allowed several attacks on goal. A defensive lapse on a corner kick permitted NMSU back to within one goal, 3-2, at halftime.

The second half started slow, but at about the 60-minute mark, a long punt from NMT goalkeeper Joey Gallegos allowed Hernandez to light up the scoreboard again.

Ben Nzavi added Tech's fifth goal late in the game.

Throughout most of the game, the speed and power of the defense, led by sweeper Pat Gallegos and stopper Sepp Fuierer, shut down the Aggie offense. Midfielders Carlos Vargas and Nick Smallridge were "workhorses" in the middle, according to coach Brad Winton. Frustration was obvious on the NMSU side, with complaints and even a red-card ejection during the waning minutes.

Notches in the win column have been few and far between for the Miners ever since the move into the NIRSA desert southwest conference, which includes powerhouse teams like the University of Texas-El Paso, Arisona State and the University of Arizona.
Sunday's win could stand as a milestone for the Miners. While the NMT men have earned a reputation over the years for their organization, dependability and never-give-up attitude, the talent and experience of this year's team offers the possibility for very competitive games, several wins, and perhaps even a bid to the NCCS (National Campus Championship Series) tournament.

The Miners have several more home games and invite support from the Tech campus and Socorro community. Their schedule and activities can be found at http://infohost.nmt.edu/~soccer.

-- NMT --

By Paul Fueirer/New Mexico Tech