Blackney Secures Win for Mountain Lions

published August 24, 2001

Jared Blackney scored on a beautiful pass from Patrick Brannan with just over 4 minutes remaining to lift the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Mountain Lions to a season-opening 1-0 victory over the Southern Colorado Thunderwolves Friday in Pueblo.

It was UCCS' third straight victory over the Thunderwolves. The Mountain Lions won both meetings last season, including a 1-0, double-overtime thriller that ended USC's season and propelled the Mountain Lions into their fourth consecutive berth in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference playoffs.

The teams played to a scoreless draw for over 85 minutes, neither able to take advantage of the limited scoring opportunities give up be the defenses. Then, Brannan took over.

The freshman from Broomfield drove down the left side of the pitch, deep into the USC defense, and sent a perfect crossing pass to Blackney - who was positioned about 20 feet in front of the Thunderwolves' net. The 6-foot-3 Blackney lept and headed the ball into the goal at the 85:43 mark.

"I didn't see anything but the goal," said Blackney. "I saw the defender, jumped over him and headed it."

While glad for the victory, UCCS coach Eddy Dietz was guarded with his praise.

"We thought we played a good game, but we didn't play the game well in the last one-third of the field most of the time," said Dietz. "We had our chances, but a pass would be a little off, or a player a little out of position. Finishing plays is a concern for us.

"Southern Colorado played their hearts out. This game could have gone either way."

The Thunderwolves were more spirited for most of the second half. Craig Miller had a near miss on a header with 41:36 remaining, then missed wide right less than a minute later. Another header, this one by Mike Ambrose with 39:25 left, was stopped by UCCS goalkeeper Mike Archuleta.

The Mountain Lions were not without scoring opportunities, however. Justin Behar had a hard shot stopped by USC goalkeeper Jacob Rivera.

"In the second half we had better (scoring) chances than they did, but couldn't put the ball away," said USC coach Roy Stanley. "We had a good response defensively. Our midfield game was organized all day, and we created enough chances. We should have won this."

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