|Posted October 31, 2008|
Draw with Mines dents playoff hopes
PUEBLO, Colo. -- The CSU-Pueblo men’s soccer team’s game against the Colorado School of Mines wasn’t necessarily a “must win,” but a victory sure would have been nice. The shorthanded ThunderWolves drew 2-2 with the Orediggers on Friday, and although the result didn’t put the playoffs totally out of reach, the Pack will now require some help to qualify for post-season action.
The game against the Orediggers had the look and feel of a playoff game, but it didn’t start well for CSU-Pueblo. Mines took the lead in just the fifth minute when Chris Smith (So., Colorado Springs, Colo.) couldn’t handle a towering ball into the box. The cross came off his palms and bounced around before being poked home by a Mines attacker.
Corey Cullen (So., Fort Collins, Colo.) equalized in the 33rd minute after combining well with Udobong Obotette (Sr., Eugene, Ore.) during a raid down the right side of the field. Cullen took the ball from deep in his own half and dumped it off to Obotette who then kindly returned it to Cullen in front of the the Orediggers’ goal. The striker slipped a shot past the keeper to put the game back on level terms.
Cullen struck again in the second half after Robert Kinsey (RFr., Denver, Colo.) tiptoed along the end line before sneaking the ball in towards Cullen. The sophomore turned and angled a shot past the Mines keeper, giving the ThunderWolves a tenuous one goal advantage.
Mines threatened to tie it up only moments later, and the ThunderWolves were forced to clear a ball right off the goal line. The visitors piled home the pressure in the last 15 minutes of regulation in search of a goal, and they finally found one in the 85th minute.
At the end of regulation, the ThunderWolves looked slightly breathless, no doubt because three ThunderWolf regulars missed the game for various reasons. That man advantage didn’t hurt the Pack in overtime, but it didn’t help either, as both teams ultimately cancelled each other out in the extra periods.
Crunching tackles and yellow cards marred the final two ten-minute periods, and both teams were left answerless in front of goal.
Coach Roy Stanley felt like a point apiece was a deserved result for each team. “We had enough firepower to win the game,” he said. “We had enough good looks, and although it wasn’t all based on finishing, we could have done better.”
The coach pointed to a lack of energy towards the end of the game as a reason for the drab result. He also explained the various ways that his team could still qualify for post-season play.
If Mines loses or ties their game against UCCS on Sunday, and if the ThunderWolves win on Sunday against Colorado Christian, then the Pack will be in the playoffs.
Another scenario plays out like this: If Regis loses Sunday against Fort Lewis, then the ThunderWolves could slip in based on goal differential, provided they win by an adequate margin on Sunday. The scenarios are all complicated by the fact that CSU-Pueblo split its season series with Regis.
In the meantime, all Stanley and his men can do is concentrate on Sunday’s game against Christian, which is slated for a 1 p.m. start at the Rawlings Complex.