Inches prove to be the difference as Mountain Lions fall to Mavericks
"It's a game of inches" is, indisputably, a cliche affixed to all sports. Sometimes, it's even true.
It was very true during Sunday's women's soccer match at Mountain Lion Stadium.
A ball that skipped off the attempted header by University of Colorado at Colorado Springs sweeper Lindsay Link resulted in the lone goal as the Mesa State Mavericks defeated the Mountain Lions 1-0.
"Yes, they were a challenging team," said UCCS coach Nichole (Rick) Ridenour, "yes, they did make their own opportunities, but we beat ourselves."
The play, which occurred at the 65:12 mark, started with a rare miscommunication in the stingy UCCS defense. A ball was sent toward the left corner and Link, the last line of defense, stepped forward to head it away. Lauren Hall, the outside defender responsible for the left side on the play, also stepped toward the pass, leaving Mesa State's Kira Brannan alone on the wing. At the same time, Rachelle Ormond made a run straight up the middle of the field and past the airborne UCCS defensive duo.
"(Link) overran the ball a little bit for being our safety net, our sweeper," said Ridenour. "She needed to either be there sooner of back off and play the bounce. The defense losing communication at that point created a one-v-one with (goalkeeper Ashley Armstrong)."
Brannan settle the ball and slid a crossing pass to Ormond about 15 yards from the goal.
Armstrong quickly attacked the play, successfully reducing the angles available to Ormond, but the Mesa State junior executed a perfect shot past Armstrong and into the upper left side of the net.
"It was pretty much like a breakaway," said Armstrong. "I came out to try to block it and got a hand on it but it went into the goal."
While the play was a challenge for Armstrong, a senior from Castle Rock who transferred to UCCS from Dana College, it pales in comparison to just manning the position for the Mountain Lions. Armstrong is replacing last year's keeper, Amie Kern, who was named first-team All-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference).
"She set a high standard," said Armstrong. "I have to live up to what she did."
She's done that very well. Through three matches, Armstrong has a 1.00 goals against average. Armstrong finished with five saves for UCCS (1-2, 0-2 RMAC). Julia Rasmussen saved one for Mesa State (5-1, 2-0).
"Our keeper did very well," said Ridenour. "She played one-v-ones very well and kept her head about her."
Brannan's involvement in the scoring play carried some irony since her brother, Patrick, was a former captain of the UCCS men's team.
The Mountain Lions went onto the offensive after the goal, taking nine of their 15 shots over the final 32 minutes. Several of those chances had potential but UCCS wasted those opportunities by sending the resulting shot high or wide.
The most dangerous of those happened with 14:30 remaining. On a play that looked remarkably like the one Mesa State scored on, Kristin Preble got the ball in front of the Maverick goal after a missed header and resulting UCCS crossing pass. Preble's shot went just high of the mark.
"We had our chances," said Ridenour. "There were several opportunities where we had wide open shots, wide-open volleys and we just couldn't find the net. You can't win if you can't score."
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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