Mountain Lions Stay Alive in Playoff Race with Big Win over Nebraska-Kearney

By Doug Fitzgerald & Patricia Cameron published October 30, 2009

COLORADO SPRINGS - The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs kept itself relevant in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference playoff picture with a 5-0 victory over the Nebraska-Kearney Lopers Friday evening at Mountain Lion Stadium.

Five different players including, fittingly since it was senior night, two seniors scored for the Mountain Lions. Jessica Escobedo, Julia Saenz, Lauren Hall, Krista Mirabelli and Brianna Guzzardo all had goals. Hall and Mirabelli were each playing the final home game of their collegiate careers.

UCCS improved to 7-8-1 overall and 6-8-1 in RMAC play with the win, good for 19 points (three for each conference win and one for the tie). UCCS is now in sixth place in the conference, two points ahead of Colorado Christian. Six teams advance to the playoffs.

“We came into this game with intensity, no matter what team we were playing we had to have this win in order to make playoffs," said UCCS coach Nichole (Rick) Ridenour. “I think they really stepped up. Lauren (Hall) and Ace (Ashley Collins) were in the back together. Krista Mirabelli got a goal.

“I thought our seniors did really well, I challenged a couple of them before the game, Ace especially, to step up and be a leader.”

The five goals was a new school record for the Mountain Lions' second-year program. Their previous best output was four, which has been reached twice.

The first of those goals was scored by Jessica Escobedo, who took a pass on the left side, dribbled forward about 15 yards and sent what looked to be a crossing pass toward the far post. Instead of hooking, however, the ball kept a straight trajectory and settled into the upper right corner of the net at the 23:14 mark.

Just over three minutes later, Meghan Royer sent a pass to Saenz on the right side. Saenz sent a shot across the goal mouth where it slipped just inside of the far post.

Hall's goal, which came in the 40th minute, began with a corner kick that Royer collected and shot. The ball was blocked, but Hall was there to punch the rebound in the lower right side.

The Mountain Lions made it four goals in the first half when Mirabelli beat the Loper's rear-most defender and sent a shot into the lower left corner.

“The girls really played with discipline all through the first half to make it so we got the win," said Ridenour.

Goal No. 5 came in the 86th minute. Josi Heer passed the ball back to Guzzardo, who one-timed in into the right side.

UCCS outshot Nebraska-Kearney by a whopping 37-2. Kayla Millar made one save and Ashley Armstrong none as the two combined for the shutout.

Marissa Niday was under siege throughout the match, making 18 saves.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Brianna GuzzardoBrianna Guzzardo18M
Krista MirabelliKrista Mirabelli13F
Lauren HallLauren Hall22M/D
Ashley ArmstrongAshley Armstrong1GK
Jessica EscobedoJessica Escobedo6F/M
Josi TalbotJosi Talbot5U
Meghan RoyerMeghan Royer10M
Kayla MillarKayla Millar2GK
Julia SaenzJulia Saenz4FSo.
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