|Posted October 17, 2008|
Ten-man T-Wolves prove a point against Ft. Lewis
The Colorado State University-Pueblo men’s soccer team should play nationally ranked squads every week. The men put in a long, hard shift against the third-ranked Fort Lewis College Skyhawks on Friday and came away with a 1-1 double overtime draw -- and a valuable point in the RMAC playoff race.
The ThunderWolves started the game sporting some of their trademark smooth play, and skillfully worked the ball up the field through their midfielders. The men didn’t back down from their powerful and highly-ranked opponents, and the team was soon rewarded for its resolve.
David Fresquez (Sr., Sante Fe, N.M.) drove in an 11th minute corner kick that was re-directed by Robert Kinsey (RFr., Denver, Colo.) towards Alan Chacon (Sr., Scottsdale, Ariz.). The midfielder powered in a header to give the ThunderWolves a somewhat surprising but not undeserved lead.
The men then settled into the match and continued their balanced, steady play. Dylan Cook (Jr., Albuquerque, N.M.) barked orders out from the midfield and John Christy (Sr, Layton, Utah) helped keep the ThunderWolves’ back four organized.
The game also assumed a bruising, physical tone in the midst of the first half, and as the speed of the game increased, tackles became more urgent and dramatic.
The ThunderWolves almost made it to halftime unscathed, but Ft. Lewis produced an equalizer a mere 92 seconds from the break, giving the men plenty to think about before the second period.
The Skyhawks began to assert themselves more in the second period. A Ft. Lewis player blazed a free kick over the bar in the 47th minute, and as the game became even more physical, play began to center in the ThunderWolves’ half of the field.
Chris Smith (So., Colorado Springs, Colo.) communicated well with his defenders, though, and did well to keep Ft. Lewis at bay and out of the back of the net despite facing 25 shots over the course of the game.
Smith made a special save in the 65th minute, and then did well to fight off two corner kicks ten minutes later. Smith watched as yet another Skyhawk shot soared over the bar in the 81st minute, and then in the 88th minute he saw his team go down to ten men after a ThunderWolf defender was red carded.
Things looked a little bleak at that point for the ThunderWolves, but Coach Roy Stanley instructed his team to attack with only three players for the remainder of regulation, and continued that tactic into the overtime periods.
As darkness crept in on the Rawlings Complex, Udobong Obotette (Sr., Eugene, Ore.) had two half chances on goal but was unable to convert. Both teams raced back and forth, cutting down open space and looking for any kind of shot.
Smith batted out a Skyhawk corner kick before fighting off two more in quick succession in the second overtime, and the men kept things tidy at the back, killing off the final ten minutes with out too much drama.
The significance of the draw was not lost on Coach Stanley, who was extremely proud of his players’ efforts. “Chris Smith had the game of his life, and really our whole defense did too,” he said. “I think we did a great job on who I felt were their two best players, and our defense stood people up and didn’t let people slip through.”
The physicality of the game was not lost on the coach, either. “There were definitely some battles,” he said. “It was big time physical, but we made smart decisions against a very athletic team. I’m definitely happy,” he added.
The team will look to build from this performance and get one back against Mesa State when the two teams play on Sunday at the Rawlings Complex.
Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m.