Mountain Lions notch decisive win, open 2-1 for first time since 2006
COLORADO SPRINGS - The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs men's soccer team opened its season with a 2-1 record for the first time since 2006 as the Mountain Lions pounded the Sioux Falls Cougars 4-1 Friday evening at Mountain Lion Stadium.
UCCS goalkeeper Brandon Costa made four saves for his second win in as many starts this season. Had it not been for an ill-advised stab at the ball by a UCCS defender 35 yards out, it might also have been Costa's second straight shutout. Having beaten the off-balance defender, Sioux Falls' Amare Eyayou squeezed his shot just under the cross bar and over the outstretched fingers of Costa.
"That little stab, that little indecisiveness in there gave that guy room to shoot," said UCCS coach Henry Ellis.
That score in the 53rd minute wasn't a game-changer, though, as UCCS still held a 3-1 lead. The Cougars pushed players forward and got several of their 15 shots in the 30 minutes that followed the goal, but couldn't again penetrate the Mountain Lion defense.
Mash Shaswar's header of a Colton Brisco crossing pass in the 83rd minute provided the final margin.
UCCS opened the scoring just 11:48 into the contest when New Zealander Mathew Cox launched the ball from an extreme angle along the right sideline. With other Mountain Lions charging the far post, Sioux Falls goalkeeper Adam Wemhoff (0-3) was caught between playing the initial ball or positioning himself for a header. Cox's shot nudged just inside the upper left corner as Wemhoff committed himself too late.
The Mountain Lions' second goal was also from long distance. Brett Drefs took a free kick from 35 yards out and, instead of trying to find a runner on either post, he sent a knuckling shot straight away. Again concerned with the traffic, Wemhoff was beaten as the ball went just under the cross bar in the 25th minute.
"We came out with a ton of energy from the get-go," said Ellis. "The guys were flowing and it allowed us to keep pace of the game from the start and establish ourselves."
UCCS made it 3-0 just 3:05 into the second half. Justin Shalong played a through ball to Justin Miller, who put it goalward. Matt Friesen redirected the shot past Kyle Simons, a Rampart High School graduate who had replaced Wemhoff in goal for the Cougars at halftime.
Simons made five saves and Wemhoff one for Sioux Falls (0-3).
Ellis used his bench liberally as 19 players saw action. The reserves accounted for a goal and two assists.
"We don't lose a lot when guys come off the bench," said Ellis."We've got the competitiveness and when guys do get on the field, they get after it."
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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