Mountain Lions topple No. 15 Regis

By Doug Fitzgerald published September 12, 2003

Jared Blackney drilled home a deflected shot to give the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs an improbable 2-1 comeback victory over the Regis Rangers Friday at Sand Creek Stadium.

Why improbable? The Rangers came into the match ranked 15th nationally. They had outscored their first four opponents 16-4. Finally, they scored first and in soccer, thatâ€TMs often enough for a team as solid as the Rangers.

But CU-Colorado Springs never backed down.

“Weâ€TMre showing a lot of heart,” said Blackney, who has scored in each of CU-Colorado Springsâ€TM past two games â€" both victories. “Weâ€TMre working hard and working as a team. Weâ€TMre going to go far if we keep our composure.”

Regis showed why they came into the match ranked No. 15 for much of the match. The Rangers were crisp in their passing, often finding an open man with a single touch of the ball. Although not a tall team, they often dominated balls in the air through excellent positioning. Finally, after taking the lead, they displayed superior “gamesmanship,” a soccer euphemism that describes things like taking an inordinate amount of time to get the ball in play and rolling around on the ground like a wounded extra in “Saving Private Ryan” after the slightest contact in hopes of drawing a penalty on the opposition.

But the Mountain Lions also showed something. They showed that being mentioned in the same statement with a nationally ranked opponent isnâ€TMt an overstatement.

Regis scored first on a fluky play. Travis Mitchell sent a long pass toward the CU-Colorado Springs goal, ostensibly looking for a teammate to head it in. Amid the jostling in front of the goal, CU-Colorado Springs goalkeeper Matt Mitchell got bumped and lost track of the ball, which sailed into the net.

It was a bad pass that became a good shot.

Such a play might have cracked CU-Colorado Springs confidence the past couple of seasons. It might also have sent them into attack mode, making them vulnerable to easy goals in transition. But the Mountain Lions didnâ€TMt panic and it paid off.

First, Mitchell gave them a boost with a brilliant save off a shot by Lance Snodgrass, the 2002 RMAC player of the year who has already notched eight goals this season. Then, coach Flavio Mazzetti gave the Mountain Lions energy, subbing in the fresh legs of speedy youngster Misha Thomas and savvy veteran Martin Kristiseter. Finally, Art Cutter gave them an opportunity, when he scored in the 79th minute off a play that was eerily similar to the Regis goal.

Less than two minutes later, CU-Colorado Springs had the lead.

Blackney drove into the Regis penalty area but was knocked down from behind, sending the ball spinning across the front of the goal. Thomas one-timed it, but Regis goalkeeper Mike Montgomery deflected it away. Blackney, momentarily forgotten by the scrambling Regis defenders, knocked home the deflection.

CU-Colorado Springsâ€TM defense, which had been brilliant all day, made sure the lead stood up.

“Last year we were in a man (defense) and this year weâ€TMre in a zone,” said Brian Best, who cleared ball after ball from the CU-Colorado Springs zone. “The last two games weâ€TMve played it textbook. Nobodyâ€TMs really had any great (scoring) opportunities.

“Weâ€TMve cut down our defensive breakdowns. Everybody whoâ€TMs been back there (on defense) has been phenomenal.”

And phenomenal will beat even a nationally ranked opponent.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Jared BlackneyJared Blackney11FJr.
Jared BlackneyJared Blackney11FSr.
Art CutterArt Cutter18DFr
Art CutterArt Cutter8DSo.
Art CutterArt Cutter8DSr.
Martin KristiseterMartin Kristiseter20MF/FJr.
Martin KristiseterMartin Kristiseter10MF/FSr.
Misha ThomasMisha Thomas9FFr.
Misha ThomasMisha Thomas9FSo
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