Men’s soccer splits week, goes 1-1 in RMAC matches last week

Paul Czarnecki 

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     In a couple of closely knit matches, UCCS Men’s Soccer garnered an overtime victory over the Adams State Grizzlies, followed by a loss to the Fort Lewis Skyhawks, setting a 1-1 mark in two contests.  

     The Oct. 14 match against the Grizzlies started off well defensively for the Mountain Lions, only allowing two shots on goal through the first 45 minutes of play. However, they didn’t make a shot despite having twelve shots on goal at halftime. 

     The game broke wide open in the 69th minute, after sophomore forward Jack Souder slipped past two defenders and fired a cross into the middle of the box for senior forward Adam Baldwin, using his left foot to put the ball past the Adams State goalkeeper and give the Mountain Lions their first lead of the match, 1-0. 

     This was Baldwin’s second goal of the season and his first since Sept. 17 against Saint Martin. This was also the fifth game that Baldwin started this season, setting a season-high for minutes played. 

     However, with only seconds left in the match, Adams State forward Josh Garcia was given a free kick from the left side of the pitch. His shot hit the bottom of the crossbar and deflected into the back of the net, tying the match at a goal apiece, eventually forcing overtime. 

     After a strong 16 minutes of grueling back-and-forth control from both sides, junior midfielder Kolby Raineri struck the ball toward the Grizzlies’ goalkeeper. It ricocheted off the goalkeeper’s hands and bounced into the net for the “golden goal” to win the match for the Mountain Lions 2-1. 

     This was the Mountain Lions’ second straight overtime victory on the season, and their first in almost a month. UCCS also set season highs for shots (28) and shots on goal (11) in a match. 

     Following UCCS’ home win, they traveled to FLC Dirks Field in Durango to take on the Fort Lewis Skyhawks, looking for their fourth consecutive win and their longest winning streak of the year. 

     Throughout the first half, the Mountain Lions and Skyhawks traded goals, with midfielders Alex Andersson and Raineri each sticking one past the keeper, while Fort Lewis’ Denis Celik and Matt Baldridge drew the game even, each with an unassisted goal before the halftime whistle. 

     In the 51st minute, Raineri drew a penalty that Andersson took and netted right past the goalkeeper, giving the Mountain Lions a one-goal advantage over the Skyhawks with less than 40 minutes to play. 

     However, after another half-hour of defense from both sides, Fort Lewis equalized on a free kick in the 82nd minute. The Skyhawks found the game-sealing goal in the 89th minute on a shot that slipped past Mountain Lion goalkeeper Andres Kokoska on a diving attempt, winning the match 4-3. 

     This was the highest scoring match between UCCS and Fort Lewis since 2014, and the Skyhawks’ first victory over the Mountain Lions in four years. 

     Senior forward Liam McGuire led both squads in shots with five, while Andersson’s two goals extend his lead as the top goal scorer for UCCS this season. 

     UCCS will attempt to bounce back from this tightly contested match against the Colorado Christian University Cougars on Oct. 21 at Mountain Lion Stadium. The Mountain Lions have won 23 out of their last 24 matches against the Cougars, and have not lost a home match to CCU since 1999, a streak they hope to continue on Thursday. 

The men’s soccer game on Oct. 14. Photo by Megan Moen.