Mountain Lions have best offensive day since 2000 in win
COLORADO SPRINGS â€" Five different players scored as the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs scored its largest margin of victory since 2000 in a 5-0 win over the Colorado Christian Cougars Sunday at Mountain Lion Stadium.
Dami Oladiran, Riley Gallagher and Mike Mason each scored for the first time this season, while Greg Miley and Jeff Bettner both scored their third goal of the season. Miley and Matt Friesen each assisted on two scores. Jordan Dahlinger, Mason and Greg Packer each also had an assist.
The offensive explosion was no accident.
â€œWe switched up our tactics,â€ said Miley, who leads UCCS with three assists this season. â€œWe were trying to play through certain gaps instead of going too direct. I think thatâ€TMs what did it for us today.â€
It was the largest margin of victory and the most goals scored by a UCCS soccer team since Oct. 21, 2000 when the Mountain Lions beat Northwest Nazarene 5-0.
Adam Liszewski played the first 60 minutes in goal and never had to make a save as the UCCS defense choked out the Colorado Christian offense. Over that period, the Cougars managed just two shots overall, neither of which came close.
â€œWe locked it up and played the feet a lot better,â€ said Packer. â€œWeâ€TMve been working on stuff all year, and hopefully this will be a turning point for us.â€
A part of the defensive success can be attributed to improved health.
â€œWe just got Mike Mason back and heâ€TMs a nice addition to the backside,â€ said Packer. â€œHeâ€TMs left-footed, so heâ€TMs locking out that left side for us and (allowed us) to push Jaron (Stewart) back out to the right.â€
Freshman Sean Miller replaced Liszewski, making five saves over the final 30 minutes to split the shutout. Miller was playing behind a defense comprised largely of reserves as UCCS coach Henry Ellis got his entire roster considerable playing time.
â€œWe were trying to get some guys experience; guys who havenâ€TMt been getting a lot of game time and guys coming off of injuries â€" just trying to get them some fitness,â€ said Ellis. â€œWe were able to do that because we got a couple (goals) early.â€
Miller provided the defensive highlight of the match when he smothered a penalty kick by Taylor Shade with 2:09 remaining to preserve the shutout.
â€œFor big Sean in goal to come up with a PK save was a lot of fun for the guys,â€ said Ellis.
Miley set up the first score in the 12th minute. The junior from London, England, was dribbling diagonally to his right when he nudged the ball with the top of his foot, allowing him to make a sudden change of direction. Having gained position on his defender, Miley send a perfect crossing pass across the box to Friesen at the far post. CCU goalkeeper Chris Dornisch shuffled across the box to mirror the pass, so Friesen redirected it toward the other post where Oladiran one-timed it in.
Seven minutes later, Dahlinger sent a crossing pass that found Miley making a far-post run.
Miley was at it again four minutes into the second half. He send a perfect crossing pass to Mason, whose point-blank header was stopped, but not controlled, by Dornisch. The rebound went immediately to Gallagher, who blasted it into the open net.
â€œWe were playing our game; we were playing to feet,â€ said Miley. â€œWe were finishing our chances, which we havenâ€TMt been able to do in other games.â€
Friesen created the fourth goal, which came at the 57:44 mark. The freshman from Rampart High School collected the ball in the right corner and muscled past a defender as he drove across the endline. Just before he got to the goal, he sent a precise pass that Mason pounded home.
Less than two minutes later, UCCS completed the scoring as its two captains, Bettner and Packer, teamed up. Packer took a free kick from 45 yards out and served it onto the penalty area, where Bettner redirected it into the goal with a header.
The Mountain Lions outshot Colorado Christian 35-9, with 19 of those shots getting on goal. Three others went off the goalpost.
The one common theme among UCCS players and coaches was that Sundayâ€TMs match could be a watershed for the season.
â€œIt was a good day for us; we had a lot of energy,â€ said Ellis. â€œWe battled hard on Friday night (against Colorado School of Mines) and we werenâ€TMt able to get the result. Today, the guys knew we had to come out and get after it.
â€œWeâ€TMre going to take it in a positive direction and see where we can go from here.â€
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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