Pack falls but proves they can hang

ThunderWolves suffer tough loss to nations best but shows glimpses of greatness

PUEBLO, Co. (GoThunderWolves.com - Sept. 9, 2011) - Hoping to upset one of the top teams in the country, No.3 Midwestern State, the CSU-Pueblo mens soccer team would need to work hard and play smart soccer. Although the decision fell out of favor of the Pack, losing 3-1 the Thunderwolves showed they are no pushovers this season.

The Thunderwolves also welcomed back forward Dustin Geist (RSo., Durango, Colo.) who missed the first three games of the season. With the addition of Geist to the lineup the Pack was poised to add not only to their attack, but their depth.

The Pack spent the early part of the game feeling out the Mustangs battling back and forth looking for a mistake they could capitalize on. They used the first opportunity they got midway through the first half after a ball played over the top became a 50-50 ball between Andy Bolin (So., San Diego, Calif.) and the Mustang defenders. Bolin worked hard to win the ball back that found a streaking Jonny Sawyer (Fr., Aurora, Colo.) who hit the ball in stride. The perfectly hit ball flew hard and heavy beating goalkeeper Michael Wood to put the Thunderwolves on top 1-0.

The goal seemed to ignite the Mustangs and they showed why they were a final four team just a year ago when they connected on a series of passes that eventually found Nathan Fitzgerald who flicked the ball passed the keeper to even the score. 

Suddenly playing with their backs to the walls the Pack would falter once more off a throw in from Midwestern State. Dean Lovegrove sent a nice throw in the Packs box that again found the head of a Mustang, Ryan Spence, that he finished to the far post. The Mustangs would carry the 2-1 advantage into the second half as the Pack looked to regroup for a strong finish.

"We started slow at the beginning of the second half and you'd like to see a little more in that situation," coach Roy Stanley said. "But at times our passed flowed and connected, and we showed good rhythm and possession. We just need to produce more of those."

After only getting off five shots in the first half, the amped up Thunderwolves sent 10 shots at Midwestern State looking for the equalizer. Although they were unable to even the score the Thunderwolves showed the grit and composure to stand toe-to-toe with the nations best.

The Mustangs would add some insurance in the second half from a through ball sent by Sam Broadbent. Broadbent was able to find Chris Dwyer in stride for a breakaway that he tucked away for a 3-1 advantage.

"Defensively we hung in their athletically. Certainly Midwestern was more physical but with our quickness and agility we've shown we are doing a lot better against top-25 teams than we have in the past," coach Stanley said. 

The Thunderwolves are still looking for their first win of 2011 and will have an opportunity to split the weekend series when they host Texas-Permian Basin. The contest is scheduled for 9 a.m. Sunday at the Rawlings Soccer Complex