Penalties costly in season finale
The two most severe in-game penalties, not just in soccer but in all of sports, are the penalty kick and the red card. The Colorado School of Mines Orediggers got the full benefit of both in a 4-1 victory over the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Sunday at Sand Creek Stadium.
The Mountain Lions opened the scoring in the 19th minute when Juan Nolasco and James McMonigle executed a slick give and go that resulted in McMonigleâ€TMs first goal of the season.
â€œJuan made a break down the right side and got pulled over the ball,â€ said Brandon Best, who is a junior athletically but a senior academically and likely played his final game Sunday. â€œWhen he got pulled over, he stopped. James kept coming through and put it in coolly.â€
Mines attempted to get something going in transition throughout most of the first half but were unable to beat UCCS defenders Brian Best, Marcus Reynolds and Jeff Halligan. The Orediggers still threw shots goalward, but few were any real threat.
That changed in the 32nd minute when Halligan made an aggressive tackle in the penalty area. Jeff Perkins attempted the resulting penalty kick, which was stopped by UCCS goalkeeper Chris Hovasse, who correctly guessed that the shot would go high to his right. Hovasse was unable to gather the rebound, however, and Perkins was able to slip it in to tie the score.
Having benefited from the penalty kick, Mines got another big break when referee Matt Grove bypassed a yellow card and a warning in favor of a red card to penalize a hard tackle by UCCS Corey Johnson.
Down a man the final 42 minutes, 34 seconds of the game, UCCS tried vainly to keep some semblance of pressure in the offensive end. Additionally, with only 16 players healthy enough to play and a couple of those at less than 100 percent, the Mountain Lions wore down.
â€œPlaying a man down is kind of like trying to run without all 10 toes,â€ said Brandon Best. â€œI thought we played very well for playing a man down but thereâ€TMs always going to be that open man on their side.
â€œWhen you have the number of injuries that we do, you canâ€TMt sub in for people when they get tired. Itâ€TMs going to catch up to you. We kind of ran out of gas out there.â€
The Orediggers took advantage in the 72nd minute when Mike Dixon dribbled through three heavy-legged UCCS defenders and drilled a low sizzler into the right side of the goal.
A little over two minutes later, Reynolds slipped on the wet grass while trying to deflect a ball away from the UCCS goal and instead bumped it in. It was the second own goal surrendered this season by the Mountain Lions.
The rout became complete in the 79th minute. Craig Thompson drove to the goal line on the right side and sent a perfect crossing pass to Grant Mathey. Hovasse alertly got position on Mathey, who instead of shooting nudged a perfect pass to Brian Law who was crashing the far post. Law bumped it into the open net.
Next up for Mines (13-5-2, 6-4-2 RMAC) will be the RMAC playoffs.
Eight seniors played their final collegiate game for the Mountain Lions, who ended their season with a 6-10-1 record, 4-7-1 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
â€œWe started out pretty well. It was a tough, long season,â€ said Best. â€œWe got caught up with a lot of injuries.
â€œIt was a good experience this year. I wouldnâ€TMt trade it for anything.â€
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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