Penaly kick costly to soccer team

By Doug Fitzgerald published September 12, 2004

If a case were to be made that the penalty kick is the most severe infraction in all of sports, Sundayâ€TMs match between the Colorado School of Mines and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs would be presented as Exhibit A.

Mines forward Mike Dixon converted a penalty kick in the 24th minute as the Orediggers (2-1-1, 1-1 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) defeated the Mountain Lions 1-0 at Sand Creek Stadium.

Brian Law got behind the CU-Colorado Springs (1-2-0, 1-1 RMAC) defense and into a 1-on-1 with goalkeeper Chris Hovasse, who dove for the ball. Law attempted to dribble around the oncoming keeper and the three (Law, Hovasse and the ball) collided. Referee Matt Grove called a foul on Hovasse and Dixon converted the penalty kick.

“(Law) came out on a one-on-one breakaway,” said Hovasse. “I dove to grab the ball and at the same time I grabbed the ball his body went into mine and the ref thought that I took him out by his legs, so he called a penalty kick.”

Otherwise, the defenses dominated. Mines managed only 16 shots, and of those only three required a save from Hovasse.

“Iâ€TMve got a real strong defense â€" weâ€TMre real confident with how we are in the back,” said Hovasse.

Hovasse, a Lewis-Palmer High School grad, has allowed only two goals in 225 minutes (2½ games) this season, both by way of penalty kicks.

“Itâ€TMs just bad luck like that that weâ€TMre getting scored on,” said Hovasse. “If we donâ€TMt give up PKâ€TMs the rest of the season, we will be solid.”

To their credit, the Orediggers matched the Mountain Lionsâ€TM defensively. CU-Colorado Springs managed only 12 shots, only two of which had to be stopped by Mines goalkeeper Kevin Galloway. After the goal, Mines kept extra players back, forcing the Mountain Lions to try to make something happen by going over the top.

“Minesâ€TM defense is big and they won all of the 50-50 balls,” said CU-Colorado Springs forward Matt Atkins. “When we got behind, we were trying to play longer balls and not playing into our style. The longer balls favor the taller players.

When the Mountain Lions did get a step ahead, the 6-foot-7 Galloway was effective in disrupting crossing passes.

“They kept us out of their (penalty area) and their keeper did a great job of pulling balls out of the air that we needed to win,” said Hovasse. “As soon as we can start winning balls in the air and as soon as we can start getting shots on goal, weâ€TMre going to do really well.”

Avoiding penalty kicks would help, too.

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