|Posted October 19, 2008|
Women come up short against Mesa
PUEBLO, Colo. -- Marli Martin (Sr., West Jordan, Utah) scored for the third straight game, but the Colorado State University-Pueblo women’s soccer team couldn’t overcome a determined Mesa State Mavericks squad. The ThunderWolves put forth a valiant effort but ultimately lost 3-2, dropping them to 4-4-1 in RMAC play.
Things started well for the ThunderWolves when Martin scored on the first shot of the game in the 7th minute. Some good play between Melissa Christensen (Fr., Kenosha, Wisc.) and Gabby Gonzales (Fr., Centennial, Colo.) freed up Martin in the center of the field. When she got the ball, she dribbled to her right and shot low to the corner of the goal -- a familiar and welcome sight for ThunderWolf fans.
The ThunderWolves’ joy was blighted in the 13th minute, though, when Christensen was carted off the field following a robust Maverick challenge. Candice Duffy (Jr., Idaho Falls, Idaho) replaced her in the lineup, dropping Rikki Warmack (Jr., Pueblo, Colo.).
Duffy’s insertion almost had an instant impact. In the 15th minute, she let loose with an effort that the Maverick keeper couldn’t control, and the Mesa State defense scrambled to clear the bouncing ball out of the goal mouth.
The first half then saw a period of play in which the ThunderWolves were able to cut off most Mesa State attacks with relative ease. The Pack looked keen to increase its lead, and almost did when Sheela Thompson (So., Denver, Colo.) sent a ball across the face of goal that Duffy couldn’t quite latch onto.
Two or three other promising opportunities went missing when the Mesa State keeper came out to collect tempting through balls sent up by the Pack’s midfield players.
Warmack almost broke through when Sydney Hase (Fr., Woodbury, Minn.) planted the ball in front of her teammate directly in front of the goal. Warmack sent her shot over the bar, though, and did the same with another effort a few minutes later.
Despite taking only three shots in the first half, Mesa equalized in the 36th minute and took the deadlock to the break.
The Mavericks came out halftime roaring, and took the lead in the 50th minute. Mesa State played a ball into the box and a Maverick forward headed the ball up and over ThunderWolf keeper Chrissy Mandarich (Sr., Pueblo, Colo.), who got caught coming out to challenge the cross. Before the CSU-Pueblo defense could clear the ball, the visitors poked it in for a 2-1 advantage.
For a while after the goal, the ThunderWolves got forward in numbers and looked threatening. However, defensive anchor Kara Morton (So., Thornton, Colo.) picked up an injury about 20 minutes into the half that would force her off the field entirely.
Mesa State seemed to swarm forward after that, and the CSU-Pueblo defense had some trouble clearing the ball out of its half of the field. The visitors gave themselves a two goal cushion when a free kick was headed in about a quarter hour from time.
Warmack struck back for the Pack, though, when she sent a curved strike over the Mesa State keeper and into the corner of the net. The strike spurred on the ThunderWolves, and the women scurried forward for the remainder of the game in search of a tying goal.
Duffy blunted a shot against the keeper in the 84th minute, and with 90 seconds left, Thompson sent a tempting ball into the box that ran through and out, missing the far post by inches.
Time then ran out on the ThunderWolves, handing them a sour defeat.
Coach Dave Morris was disappointed after the game, saying that although he was extremely proud of his players’ effort, he deeply desired a better result. “We didn’t win the ball in the air like we wanted to, and we didn’t organize at the back well enough -- the result was that we didn’t win,” he said.
He pointed to strong individual performances all over the field, though, and handed special praise to Felicia Gilbreath (Jr., Colorado Springs, Colo.), Kylie Draper (So., River Falls, Wisc.), and Becca Drennan (Jr., Fountain, Colo.).
He also said that he was pleased to see Martin and Warmack score, but said that the team must improve its performances in order to have success down what he calls the “homestretch” of the season.
“We’re in a decent position now, but we really needed a result today,” he said.
The ThunderWolves close out their
season with four more conference matches, and play at home again on
Halloween against the Colorado School of Mines.