Defense is deciding factor in men’s soccer matches

AJ Blevins 

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     In a two-game stretch, the UCCS men’s soccer team left with a 1-1 record, to change their overall record to 8-6-1 late October. Defense ended up being the deciding factor to the ending score for both matches. 

     The first game on Oct. 21 ended with UCCS taking the win 2-0 against the Colorado Christian University Cougars.  

     UCCS instantly took control of the game and held possession for the majority of the first half. They put the Cougars’ defense up against the wall for most of the game, and while there were many chances to score and take the lead, UCCS would be held from scoring in the first half. 

     The second half was a similar story as both teams’ defenses would not allow a score for another 30 minutes. This quickly changed when sophomore midfield Alex Andersson took a shot off a free kick that would curve into the top left corner of the goal to give the Mountain Lions the lead.  

     The game continued with both defenses showing their ability until Mountain Lions redshirt senior forward Adam Baldwin connected with junior midfielder Luka Cecic, who would have a one-on-one 20 yards out from the goal. He quickly made a move to beat the defender and took a right-foot shot that would leave the Cougars goalkeeper lost and put UCCS up 2-0. 

     UCCS outshot CCU 23-11, with UCCS getting five shots on goal and CCU only getting two. Andersson recorded the most shots for the Mountain Lions with six and junior Kolby Raineri was not far behind with five. Andersson scored his ninth goal of the season, and Cecic scored his third. 

     The game also consisted of 18 total corner kicks.  

     The team returned to Mountain Lion Stadium on Oct. 24 to face off against visiting School of Mines. This was also Senior Day as the team celebrated three graduating student-athletes. However, the team fell 2-5, due to the defense struggling to hold CSM.  

     UCCS took an early lead after Andersson took control and scored his 10th goal this season; he is now the 13th UCCS player to have ten goals in a season. Defense redshirt senior Liam McGuire assisted Andersson on the score for the 1-0 lead. This was McGuire’s 12th career assist, according to Go Mountain Lions, moving him into the top 10 in program history, T-8th. 

     The lead continued thanks to a Raineri assist to McGuire in the 14th minute.  

     UCCS didn’t remain ahead for long as CSM followed with a score in the 60th minute in the first half and another early in the second at 63 minutes. They continued to pile on UCCS with three more goals for the next 16 minutes, closing the opportunity for a UCCS comeback. 

#13, Liam McGuire, playing defensive position (right) and #10, Kaydon Zamora-reeves playing midfield (left). Photo by Megan Moen.