Men’s soccer surprises RMAC opponents, falls in championship

Nov. 17, 2014

Kyle Guthrie
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Men’s soccer earned the fifth seed in the RMAC tournament, then won two straight, before falling in the championship game in penalty kicks against Colorado Mines.

The team took on four seed Fort Lewis in Durango on Nov. 5 in the quarterfi nals. The Mountain Lions fell behind 3-0 in the first half. “Certainly as soon as that whistle blew for halftime it was much needed because for 45 minutes we could not get a hold of the game,” said head coach Johnnie Keen.

The Mountain Lions came roaring back in the second half, tying the game at four to send it into overtime, when senior captain James Roberts scored the game winner to send the team through.

“We played so bad in the first half,” Roberts said. “It seemed like their three goals came in a ten minute span, but after we looked at it, the fi rst goal was separated by 30 minutes from the second so there was a huge chance for us. We switched it around in the second half.”

In the semifinals, the Mountain Lions took on top seed Colorado Mesa in Grand Junction on Nov. 7. Josh Berntsson, Conor Langenbahn and James Roberts all scored in a 3-0 victory, ending Mesa’s twelve game win streak.

Freshman goalkeeper David Meyer made eight saves in the shutout. UCCS faced off against Colorado School of Mines in the championship on Nov. 9 in Grand Junction.

Goals from Langenbahn, Berntsson and Derek Saunier led to a 3-3 tie, and another overtime game. The Mountain Lions lost in penalty kicks 4-3.

UCCS did not receive a bid to the national tournament.

Despite the defeat in the championship, the players took away the positives. “It’s mainly that our team has improved more than people will understand,” said Roberts.

“The RMAC has never really considered us a good soccer team and after this year they can’t do that anymore.”

Roberts also contributed their success this season to creating winning streaks.

“I think we needed to get more than one win in a row because we knew throughout the whole year, how successful we could be if we all played our best,” he said. “Once we got a few wins, and saw why we were getting those wins, we wanted to replicate it and keep it going.”

Others on the team, such as senior Taylor Ferguson, shared the enthusiasm of a surprising season.

“We kinda started off rough at the beginning of the season,” Ferguson said. “But as it progressed we started getting into our groove and made it to playoffs, and did the best that our team has ever done.” Ferguson believes it is the first step toward a larger legacy.

“It’s unfortunate that we didn’t win the final game, but it gives the program something to grow off of and brings attention to the program,” he said.

Meyer, Langenbahn, Berntsson and Roberts were selected to the All-RMAC Tournament team. Keen was awarded RMAC Coach of the Year.

“It was surprising,” said Keen. “That was the fi rst thing certainly. After looking back at everything we have been able to accomplish in the last couple seasons, I think we were due for some accolades.”