On the verge of playoffs, home games are must-win for men’s soccer

Oct. 27, 2014

Ashley Thompson
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It’s been a tale of two seasons for the men’s soccer team. At the beginning of the season the team struggled to claim a victory.

But after a three game losing streak in late September, the Mountain Lions (7-7-1, 6-5 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) have won five of their last six games coming in to the contest against Regis on Oct. 24, to jump up the RMAC standings.

“We got off to a slow start, and had some pretty tough road games,” said head coach Johnnie Keen. “We played most of the strong teams early, it was difficult to get the positive results that we wanted.”

But the team is optimistic moving toward the postseason. With their current form, the team is poised to make their way to the RMAC tournament as one of the top six teams in the conference.

“It’s been a rough patch, we could’ve played better,” said junior Sebastian Hertzberg. “But now it seems like we’re picking up the pace and gaining momentum.”

Keen indicated that the players have stepped up in the stressful situation of late season games. The only question that remains is what seed the Mountain Lions will attain in the tournament.

“We’re playing better than we have all season, we just need to keep doing what we’re doing,” said senior James Roberts. “We’re not going to change anything.”

Entering the game against Regis on Oct. 24, the team is in the midst of a three game winning streak, with wins against Metro State, Colorado Christian and Colorado School of Mines.

Roberts was named RMAC offensive player of the week for Oct. 14-21, partly due to a three-goal weekend in those games against Metro State and Colorado Christian.

Hertzberg knows how important the final games can be.

“Naturally, we should do the best we can. We need to finish strong and stay focused in the dying moments of the season,” said Hertzberg.

Keen wants to secure at least fourth place in the conference so UCCS could host a first round playoff game.

“Historically, when we’ve hosted the first game, we’ve won it, and advanced to the final four,” said Keen. “We need to win at least two out of the next three games to lock in a fourth place seat.”

After the game against Regis, UCCS is in Denver to take on Colorado Christian Oct. 31 and returns home for the final game of the regular season against CSU-Pueblo. Kickoff for that game is noon at Mountain Lion Stadium.