Mountain Lions notch shutout win over CSU-Pueblo
COLORADO SPRINGS - The University of Colorado Colorado Springs scored twice in the first 10 minutes and cruised to a 3-0 victory over the Colorado State-Pueblo Thunderwolves Wednesday evening at Mountain Lion Stadium.
The Mountain Lions, who improved to 7-6 overall and 5-4 in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference play, scored their first goal at the 7:53 mark. Defender Taylor Ferguson worked his way forward and sent a hard shot goalward that was initially stopped by CSU-Pueblo goalkeeper Jacob Blum. The rebound eluded the keeper, though, and Mash Shaswar put it in for his third score of the season.
Just 1:35 later, Scott Kocel also hit a shot that was stopped but managed to put in the rebound himself for an unassisted goal.
"I realized that the defender was going to cut off the angle, so I faked it and dragged it inside," said Kocel. "(I) tried a little cheeky placement finish but it didn't work out. Thankfully, it came back to me and I was able to slide it home."
Matt Friesen, who had missed the previous five matches with an ankle injury, got the final UCCS score just minutes after subbing into the match. In the 51st minute, Brett Dreffs sent a perfect pass to Frisen, who muscled through two defenders before chipping the ball over Blum and into the net.
"His ankle is still hurting but he was so adamant about playing that I couldn't keep him off the field," said UCCS coach Henry Ellis. "(It was an) absolutely brilliant goal he scores today. Brett plays a fantastic ball through. (Friesen) weight rooms a guy even with a bum ankle and (has) an absolutely class finish with his injured ankle."
From there, the only drama was whether the stingy UCCS defense could hold onto the shutout. Carlos Verdugo, Colton Brisco, Max Thomas and Ferguson kept the Mountain Lions end of the field clear. Brandon Costa was required to make just four saves in recording, with Kevin Barthe, the shutout.
"The back four, they're getting more and more confidence each week," said Ellis. "Carlos, I can't say enough about his leadership back there. He absolutely controls the back line."
UCCS had the benefit of a huge crowd of 812 thanks to the beginning of the school's homecoming celebration, "Back to the Bluffs." Kocel said the crowd helped.
"To be honest, it's a pretty new experience but it's awesome, especially when it's against our rivals," said Kocel. "Everything was just elevated having the crowd behind us the whole time."
The win, combined with the UCCS women's soccer team's loss earlier Wednesday, put UCCS in a 6-2 lead for the 2011-12 Steel & Silver Series. Fittingly, the formal presentation of the Steel & Silver Trophy for last year's series, was made between the matches. UCCS retained the trophy for the sixth consecutive season.
"We played absolutely fantastic today," said Ellis. "We moved the ball around so well. Any pressure situation we had, we got out of it. We could almost do no wrong today."
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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