Soccer: Defensive errors sink UCCS at Western Washington

By Doug Fitzgerald published October 4, 2007

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- When you successfully dodge bullets, it's particularly painful to be shot down by a couple of blanks.

A pair of defensive mistakes spoiled what had been strong effort as the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs was beaten Thursday evening 2-0 by the Western Washington Vikings at Orca Field.

The Mountain Lions (2-9) withstood a 14-shot first half to go into halftime with a scoreless tie. While the Vikings put up shots, the UCCS defense prevented them from being of any real danger. As a result, goalkeeper Adam Liszewski wasn't required to make a save in the first period.

"They came out hard and put a lot of pressure on us," said UCCS coach Flavio Mazzetti. "(But) we got in the game and played toe-to-toe with them. They were getting the Lion's share of the shots but they weren't getting them on goal."

Particularly effective were junior Jeff Gerali and sophomore Tristen ‘Tree' Robinson, who are two of UCCS' most physical defenders.

"This was a more physical game than normal and Gerali and Tree stepped up and answered that," said assistant coach Eric Foulk. "They were reading the play real well and were stepping up and making the plays when they needed to."

The first half performance was encouraging for a UCCS team that came into the match allowing an average of 2.9 goals per game -- the highest mark since Mazzetti became head coach prior to the 2003 season.

"We really played well," said Gerali. "It was just the minor, little mistakes that we made that cost us."

Those little mistakes had huge consequences, though.

Just 1 minute, 46 seconds into the second half. A long Western Washington (8-4) pass was mishandled by the UCCS defense. The resulting backward pass missed its target and split the gap between defenders Gerali and Robinson. Into that gap ran Brendan Quilici, who dribbled once and rolled the ball wide of a sliding Liszewski.

"Giving up that early goal in the second half was tough," said Mazzetti. "When we gave up that early goal it deflated us a little bit."

The clincher came on another seemingly innocuous long pass in the 77th minute. Alexander Gino was in good position to clear the ball but whiffed the kick. Western Washington's Gibson Bardsley was the fortunate recipient and found himself one-on-one with Liszwski. The keeper didn't stand a chance.

The Mountain Lions will play the final match of their Pacific Northwest road swing when they face Seattle Pacific on Saturday.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Alexander GinoAlexander Gino15D
Alexander GinoAlexander Gino15D
Adam LiszewskiAdam Liszewski24GK
Adam LiszewskiAdam Liszewski24GK
Adam LiszewskiAdam Liszewski24GK
Adam LiszewskiAdam Liszewski24GK
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