Oct. 27, 2014

Jonathan Toman
jtoman@uccs.edu

In the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, what a team needs to do to keep their season alive is often brutally clear.

So it is with the women’s soccer team, with the last four games of the season deciding their postseason fate as they sit on the edge of a playoff berth.

On Oct. 19, the team (6-7, 5-5 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) fell to nationally ranked Metro State 4-3 at Mountain Lion Stadium. After coming back from a 3-1 defi cit, Metro scored the winner with three minutes left in the game.

“We had to fight to get back in the game,” said junior Hope Whitman. “I think it made us stronger and showed we are able to come back from such a deficit.”

Head coach Nicole Ridenour said that game taught her about her team, but also her player management style.

The loss to Metro came two days after a tough road win against Western State. Ridenour said she put in the same starting 11 for the Metro game as was in against Western State, and that the lack of rested legs hindered UCCS against Metro.

“I put that more on myself, not putting the right people in,” she said.

The Mountain Lions had to come back from an early deficit, as Metro scored two goals in just over the first 10 minutes.

“We kind of get our heads down when we get scored on first,” said junior Megan Avery.

Now, the team turns their focus to the remaining four games of the season. The top six teams in the conference make the RMAC tournament. Entering play on Oct. 24, UCCS was sixth.

Their final four games are at ninth place Adams State on Oct. 24, at fifth place Fort Lewis Oct. 26, at fourth place new Mexico Highlands on Oct. 31 and at home against eighth place CSU-Pueblo Nov. 2.

“These girls thrive under pressure,” said Ridenour. “It’s more of getting goals in early and knowing they have to do it.”

Both Whitman and Avery highlighted the fact that they feel the team performs better away from home, which is good considering three of the last four are away from Mountain Lion Stadium.

“I feel like we do better away,” said Whitman. “We don’t all have different routines.” “We stay more focused, we are there to play and are on the same page,” added Avery.

The expectations for the stretch run are high.

“We’re looking to come out with all four wins,” said Whitman. “We’re eager to play Fort Lewis, because we can beat them.” UCCS fell to Fort Lewis 2-0 at home on Oct. 10.

Ridenour explained the mentality entering the final stretch will be similar to what the Mountain Lions experienced against Western and Metro.

“We had to beat Western on the road. We knew we had to win to have a chance, and we had to take more chances offensively,” she said. “It’ll be similar this weekend.”

The last game of the regular season is at Mountain Lion Stadium on Nov. 2 against CSU-Pueblo. Kickoff is at 2:30 p.m.