|Posted November 2, 2007|
Pack dominates Mines to advance to RMAC Championship
DENVER, Colo. - The ThunderWolves' opponent in Friday's Rocky
Mountain Athletic Conference semifinal game, Colorado School of
Mines, reminded Pack coach Dave Morris of a character from a
slasher movie. No matter how many times you beat them, as the Pack
has in two previous meetings this season, they keep coming
But Mines had the proverbial stake driven through their hearts Friday as the Pack earned a third victory over the Orediggers this season, besting Mines 3-1 and advancing to the RMAC Championship game.
The Pack will face Fort Lewis, who scored a 2-0 upset of Metro State, in the RMAC Championship Sunday at noon at Auraria Field in Denver.
The ThunderWolves were carried by a stellar first half, dominating both ends of the field and leaving Mines without many options.
"We started to be aggressive and challenge them, and they really didn't have an answer," Pack coach Dave Morris said. "We were able to control the tempo and generate some good scoring opportunities."
At the beginning, though, it was a different story. The first 15 minutes of the game found the ball mostly in the Pack's end, though the Orediggers couldn't get a shot by the ThunderWolves' band of defenders, led by Cassie Thimm and Kiley Draper.
Meanwhile, the Pack revved up their offense, uncorking 12 shots in the first half, and scoring twice. First blood was drawn by uber-striker Robin Hayes, who received a deflected pass from Rikki Warmack in front of Mines keeper, Briana Schulze, and placed the ball past Schulze's reach in the lower left corner of the net.
Ten minutes later, Hayes set up the goal, passing to Jeanna Barnes who placed a shot in the top center of the net to give the Pack a 2-0 advantage.
In the second half, the Pack were content to defend, though, and nearly paid for it. Mines dominated on both sides of the ball, holding the Pack to only two shots while creating far more opportunities than the ThunderWolves. The Pack's lead was cut in half when a free kick bounced off the far post and was rebounded by Alyson Burchardt, who headed in the Orediggers' first goal, forcing the Pack to abandon their game plan of protecting the lead.
Morris said, "You have to give Mines credit, because they nearly took advantage of us and evened things up, but we were able to counter attack and put the game away."
The numerous shots taken by Mines fell into the hands of Pack keeper Chrissy Mandarich, who made plenty of amazing saves that both kept goals off the board while taking all the air out the Mines offense.
"Chrissy really played amazing and had a great game," Morris said. "It couldn't have come at a better time."
The game was ratcheted up as Mines looked to create more opportunities. But again, Hayes took the lead, turning a pass to the midfield into a one-on-two breakaway, faking out two defenders and the keeper to get an easy open net goal, her second of the game, to put the game out of reach at 3-1.
The win sends the Pack to the school's second appearance in the RMAC Tournament in school history. In 2001, the ThunderWolves advanced to the championship after a 1-1 shootout win over Colorado Christian before falling to Regis 2-0 in the title game.
"We're really honored to be taking part in the championship game and the accomplishment is made even more enjoyable, considering the caliber of teams we've had to beat to get to this point," Morris said.