2002 soccer season recap
A familiar scenario launched the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs soccer team into unfamiliar territory when, for the fourth time in the past five years, the Mountain Lions season was ended with a loss to old nemesis Fort Lewis.
But with that loss, CU-Colorado Springs was launched into terra incognito.
For one, the Mountain Lions went home during playoff time. After six consecutive seasons of postseason play, CU-Colorado Springs failed to qualify for the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference playoffs.
More importantly, the loss marked the end of Eddy Dietzâ€TMs run as the Mountain Lions coach. Dietz, ranked No. 42 among Division II coaches in victories with 110, was relieved of his duties after the season.
Finally, it brought to a close perhaps the most chaotic season in the programâ€TMs history. After an offseason of strife, CU-Colorado Springs opened the 2002 season full of optimism with a rejuvenated Dietz and one of the strongest recruiting classes in the teamâ€TMs history.
The Mountain Lions went 1-2 to open the season, a fair enough start considering the teamâ€TMs youth. Then the wheels came off.
Dietz was hospitalized with a serious infection that threatened his life. While he was gone, tactical changes were made that the team was unable to handle. Three straight conference losses later, CU-Colorado Springsâ€TM season was in a tailspin.
Dietz returned, without medical permission, to lead the team to its first conference win, 3-2 over Colorado Christian. The Mountain Lions then won four of their next six, including three more key conference wins. A second win over Colorado Christian on Oct. 26 put the Mountain Lions at 7-9 (5-6 RMAC) and one win away from their seventh straight playoff appearance.
The math was simple: win and theyâ€TMre in. But Fort Lewis stood in the way.
Jared Blackney, who finished tied with Jimmy Bisgard for the team lead with eight goals, redirected a William Davis pass to give CU-Colorado Springs the lead. As the temperature dropped in Durango, so did the Mountain Lionsâ€TM energy level, and Fort Lewis scored the equalizer.
Then goalkeeper Nathan Worley had to leave the game after being kicked in the head, an eerie reminder of an incident earlier in the season when Chris Hovasse sustained serious injuries in similar circumstances. Worleyâ€TMs injuries were not serious, but his departure left freshman Chris Sack in the difficult position of coming in without proper warm-up and with little game experience. Six minutes later, Fort Lewis scored the game-winner.
Looking to 2003, the Mountain Lions journey through the unfamiliar has given them a glimpse of new horizons. New coach Flavio Mazzetti has energized the team and facilitated some key roster additions. The striking turnaround the team managed after a slow start has lent hope that last yearâ€TMs powerful class of promising freshmen will begin to dominate this season as sophomores. They have an attitude that simply making the playoffs is not nearly enough.
And that an old nemesis is due for some serious payback.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
|Additional News Stories|
|August 31, 2002||Soccer team settled, suited for success||Last year at this point, the menâ€™s soccer team at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs was in turmoil. The players were doing their best to recall their coach, the now exited Eddy Dietz. Amidst the dysfunction at the onset of the season, wins were hard to come by for the teamâ€”and imminent change was doubtful.|