Mountain Lions dominant in win
The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Mountain Lions got exactly what they needed Saturday night.
Jared Blackney scored two first-half goals as CU-Colorado Springs got itself back into the regional picture with a convincing 4-1 victory over the Montana State-Billings Yellowjackets.
CU-Colorado Springs had fallen out of the Midwest regional rankings this past week after a heartbreaking double-overtime loss to nationally ranked Fort Lewis. The fall was particular disheartening since the Mountain Lions had already beaten two of the teams, Regis and Metro State, who were among the regionâ€TMs Top 10.
The return to a .500 record will help, especially since CU-Colorado Springs has faced perhaps the toughest schedule in the region. Although the difficult schedule has hurt the Mountain Lions as far as record goes, coach Flavio Mazzetti has no regrets.
â€œOur purpose is not to be a part of the rankings but to play good soccer,â€ said Mazzetti. â€œIf I had it to do over I would do it the same because it made us better.â€
Ryan Slaughter opened the scoring for the Mountain Lions (4-4) just 3 minutes, 13 seconds into the match. Martin Kristiseterâ€TMs crossing pass went wide, but Jason Brunner collected it and send a short pass to Slaughter, who was posted up inside. Slaughter turned, beat his man, and drilled a shot into the bottom corner of the goal.
Brunner also factored into CU-Colorado Springsâ€TM second goal. Kristiseterâ€TMs corner kick spun into the traffic in front of the net, pinballed through frantically kicking legs, then squirted out to Brunner who had positioned himself just outside of the fray. Brunner found Blackney, who gave the Mountain Lions a 2-0 lead at the 21:14 mark.
Brunner said the playing surface at the Mountain Lionsâ€TM new home pitch, Sand Creek Stadium, deserved much of the credit for the teamsâ€TM offensive execution.
â€œItâ€TMs just this field, you can move the ball around real well,â€ said Brunner. â€œI was able to get open and get behind them.â€
Montana State-Billings (5-7-1) got on the scoreboard in the 31st minute. CU-Colorado Springs goalkeeper Matt Mitchell came off his line to defend a crossing pass, but got caught up in traffic. The ball deflected off of Patrick Boltz and into the net.
Blackney answered just three minutes later, when he and Misha Thomas executed a nifty give-and-go. It was Blackneyâ€TMs team-leading fifth goal of the season and gave CU-Colorado Springs a 3-1 lead that lasted into halftime.
Freshman Eric Foulk dominated the midfield, using outstanding ball control and passing to move the CU-Colorado Springs attack forward, while maintaining defensive integrity through outstanding positioning. He shunned praise, though, preferring to pass credit on to the 250 vocal fans in attendance.
â€œI wanted to come out and play hard in front of our home crowd,â€ he said. â€œWhen everybody gets out here, itâ€TMs more fun. You want to show good for them.â€
Freshman Brandon Best notched his first career goal at 54:45 in the second half to complete the scoring. Thomas had the assist.
With two assists each, Brunner and Thomas joined several others through the years in matching the CU-Colorado Springs single-match assists record.
The Mountain Lions went into defensive mode in the second half and substituted freely. The combination of fresh legs and a stop â€˜em attitude helped CU-Colorado Springs to a 12-1 shot advantage in the period. For the game, the Mountain Lions outshot the Yellowjackets 24-8 and had a 14-2 advantage in shots on goal.
The only blemish of the night occurred with less than 15 minutes remaining. Blackney made a hard tackle while trying to chase down a booming long ball from Mitchell. Had Blackney got to the ball, he would have had an excellent chance to notch the hat trick. Instead, his ill-advised play netted a red card from referee Chris Shipley, making him ineligible for CU-Colorado Springsâ€TM next match, Oct. 7 at Air Force.
It was the lone black mark in a dominating performance. And dominating performances are what get a team regionally ranked.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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|November 2, 2003||Metro State tops Lions; advances to playoffs||Two second-half goals propelled the Metro State Roadrunners to a 2-1 victory over the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Mountain Lions Sunday and into the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference playoffs.|
|October 31, 2003||Overtime win gives Lions a share of the lead||The top of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference soccer standings is a strange, and confusing, place to be.|
|October 28, 2003||Backup goalie shuts out Mines||Despite playing most of the second half a man down, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Mountain Lions (9-6-0, 7-3-0 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) held on for a 1-0 victory over the Colorado School of Mines Orediggers (7-10-1, 7-3-0) Tuesday at Sand Creek Stadium.|