|Posted November 2, 2008|
Men rout CCU, romp into playoffs
PUEBLO, Colo. -- The shorthanded Colorado State University-Pueblo men’s soccer team needed a big win and a little help this weekend to get into the playoffs, and that’s exactly what they got. By squashing the Colorado Christian University Cougars by a score of 7-0, and by virtue of Fort Lewis kindly drubbing Regis University by a score of 5-0, the Pack surpassed Regis in terms of goal differential and clinched a spot in next weekend’s RMAC tournament.
The ThunderWolves could have easily been left behind in the playoff race had Regis held Fort Lewis to a lower goal count, and worse still, the Pack could have collapsed under the pressure of trying to produce a big win.
That was, however, not the case. Coach Roy Stanley sent his men onto the field in a 3-4-3 formation designed to attack and produce lots of goal scoring chances, and although the CCU defense held for a little while, the ThunderWolves eventually started to roll.
CSU-Pueblo dominated the early proceedings and barely let CCU get a sniff of possession. Erik Andersen (Jr., Phoenix, Ariz.) and Udobong Obotette (Sr., Eugene, Ore.) both worked the CCU keeper early, and the Pack earned six corner kicks in the first 20 minutes of play, but the visiting defense stacked its players into the box and made it difficult to create much space.
A number of CSU-Pueblo shots were blocked or sent just wide, and the tension increased with each miss as the pressure to win by a hefty margin steadily rose.
The Pack made its breakthrough at the 25 minute mark. Andersen played Corey Cullen (So., Fort Collins, Colo.) into the box, who then careened a shot off the keeper. Sam Henritze (Jr., Scottsdale, Ariz.) was on top of the rebound, though, and bundled the ball home for a 1-0 lead.
Henritze scored ten minutes later to double the lead, and two minutes after that, Cullen slotted home after running in off the right win for a three goal advantage.
The deluge continued in the 41st minute when Andersen scored his first goal of the season after some fine play by Allan Chacon (Sr., Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Robert Kinsey (RFr., Denver, Colo.). Chacon played a ball down the left hand channel from deep which Kinsey saved at the endline. He then lobbed the ball over the pursuing CCU keeper back to Andersen, who tapped home for a 4-0 halftime lead.
After being informed of Regis’ fate at halftime, the men re-took the field determined to put the result even more out of reach. Kinsey scored his 12th goal of the season in the 53rd minute by heading in a fine cross from Johnny Valenzuela (Jr., Las Cruces, N.M.), and Cullen scored another goal three minutes later by skillfully finishing between the CCU keeper’s legs.
Kinsey scored the final goal of the game in the 58th minute by taking a pass from Obotette and slotting home from the right.
Stanley subbed most of his seniors and scorers out by the last quarter of an hour, but his youngsters didn’t miss a beat. Sean Fitzgerald (RFr., Fort Collins, Colo.) almost scored near the end of the game, and Femi Oguntuase (Fr., Laos, Nigera) threatened consistently down the right wing as the ThunderWolves ran the Cougars ragged.
Stanley was extremely pleased with both the performance of his players and the way things turned out around the RMAC. He echoed the feelings of the ThunderWolves’ supporters in saying that the team got a little luck and little help in qualifying for the tournament, but he also said that the result was earned through hard work.
“We deserve it. We’ve had good results all season,” he said. “We worked our tails off to get that little bit of luck.”
He was also proud of the way his players achieved their desired margin of victory. “In the first half I told them to be aggressive in the formation,” he said. “We didn’t need to take extra chances.”
“After the goals,” he
added, “everything kind of loosened up. It was a done
deal after that.”