Despite a strong start in the RMAC quarterfinals, the UCCS Mountain Lions’ men’s soccer team fumbled in the semifinals, missing their chance at the championship.
Quarterfinals vs. Regis
The Oct. 27 RMAC quarterfinals game started with a bang, as the Mountain Lions and the visiting Regis Raiders were both eager to solidify a spot in the semifinals. Regis was seeking redemption after their previous 3-1 loss to the Mountain Lions and ready to shake things up and beat them on their home turf.
The shots started early in the match with senior forward Kolby Raineri taking his first attempt to score in under a minute of game play. At the 8th minute the Mountain Lions saw an opportunity and junior forward Alex Andersson sent a right-footed shot right past the Rangers goalkeeper to score the first goal of the match.
Freshman Miles Seminario scored a second goal for UCCS after getting subbed in for Andersson, with a 25th minute rebound finish to put the Mountain Lions up, 2-0.
Regis University applied offensive pressure going into the second half, but the Mountain Lion defense stood its ground. Rangers defender Diego Berumen was issued a red card late into the second half which led to a set-piece free kick for the Mountain Lions.
Junior midfielder Ben Ashfield buried the ball in the net, solidifying a 3-0 lead for UCCS. The Rangers scored off of a penalty awarded in the 88th minute but had no chance of qualifying for the semifinals after the Mountain Lions’ performance.
UCCS won the match, 3-1, and moved on to the next round. The Mountain Lions proceeded to the RMAC semifinals for the first time in four seasons, looking to take just one more win and send themselves to the RMAC championship match.
Semifinals vs. Colorado School of Mines
Hosted at the Stermole Soccer Stadium, home of the Orediggers, the Mountain Lions and Colorado School of Mines faced off in the RMAC semifinals on Oct. 30, with the winner set to move on to the championship game.
The game started off with an unwavering offensive force from the Orediggers, who put forward six shots in the first 15 minutes, keeping Mountain Lions junior goalkeeper Declan Domyan on his toes. Possession leveled out throughout the rest of the half and UCCS was able to put up attempts of their own, none of which found the back of the net.
Mines started off the second half with substitutions and three pairs of fresh legs stepped on the field for the Orediggers. In the 51st minute, Domyan made a clean block from a header by the opposition, but the Orediggers were quick and recovered with a goal from the deflection of the stop, taking the 1-0 lead early in the second half.
After a pair of missed opportunities, the Mountain Lions’ best chance to tie the game happened in the 77th minute where Andersson fired a shot from just outside the box. His hopes of tying the score were dashed by the right side of the post.
The Mountain Lions’ offense put up decent attempts at scoring, but the Orediggers’ defense was up for the challenge and hungry for the semifinal win. The game ended in the Orediggers’ favor, 1-0, putting an end to UCCS’ conference season.
UCCS finished 11-5-4 on the season, with a 5-3-2 conference record. The Mountain Lions won eight of their 11 games at home, one of their highest win totals at Mountain Lion Stadium of the decade. Raineri and graduate student Marvin Putu led the way in scoring for UCCS, with 11 and seven goals respectively.