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.
The victory earned Metro State (11-7-2, 5-5-2 RMAC) the fourth and final spot in the playoffs on either Nov. 7-8 or 8-9 at Colorado School of Mines in Golden. CU-Colorado Springs (10-7-0, 8-4-0) will be the third seed and Fort Lewis will be the second seed.
Cynics could find plenty to be unhappy with about the Mountain Lions performance. A general lack of energy made Senior Day look more like senior citizen day. The passing was sloppy as well, and CU-Colorado Springs had more turnovers than a French bakery.
While fault certainly could be found in the Mountain Lionsâ€TM effort and execution, most of the trouble was caused by a frantic Metro State team that came into this match needing the victory â€" and getting it.
â€œTheir whole season was on the line in this game and they played like it.,â€ said CU-Colorado Springs coach Flavio Mazzetti. â€œThey played extremely well early and set the tone for a game they ended up winning. They were trying to survive and we may have been feeling a little bit too comfortable.â€
That comfort level grew as CU-Colorado Springs weathered an early flurry by the Roadrunners, thanks in part to a pair of hit goalposts. It got positively luxurious when Ryan Slaughter drilled in a rebound of a Jared Blackney shot to give the Mountain Lions a 1-0 lead in the 43rd minute.
But Metro State coach Brian Crookham was calm during halftime, as if he knew something the other 127 people in attendance at Sand Creek Stadium didnâ€TMt know. Perhaps his calm demeanor came from something that the Mountain Lions knew as well.
â€œIn this conference, you donâ€TMt win games with one goal,â€ said Slaughter.
The truth of that statement was validated three minutes into the second half, when Metro Stateâ€TMs Jeff Manson juked his way around a defender and drilled an 18-yarder past CU-Colorado Springs goalkeeper Matt Mitchell to tie the match.
Just over 13 minutes later, Zack Cousins dribbled to the endline, reversed his course and knocked a roundhouse 12 yarder in to give the Roadrunners the lead.
CU-Colorado Springs had a chance to tie when Jared Blackney was taken down in the Metro State penalty area in the 70th minute. Metro State goalkeeper Eric Butler, who finished with nine saves, guessed correctly and stopped Martin Kristiseterâ€TMs penalty kick with a dive to his left. CU-Colorado Springs was unable to seriously threaten after that.
â€œWe didnâ€TMt take advantage of a couple of our opportunities,â€ said Mazzetti.
Metro State did, however, and now both teams advance to the playoffs.
â€œThis would have been the end of their season, so hats off to those guys because they played really hard,â€ said Slaughter.
The Mountain Lions will need to find the same level of intensity against Fort Lewis this weekend.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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|November 7, 2003||Fort Lewis gorilla won't let Lions go||Thatâ€™s not a monkey clinging to the back of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs soccer program - itâ€™s a gorilla.|
|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.|