Late goal ends Mavs’ men’s soccer season
Todd Padgett used the term “gutted” when describing the feeling after Colorado Mesa’s 1-0 loss to Midwestern State on Sunday in the NCAA Division II men’s soccer playoffs.
It was an especially painful loss not only because it ended CMU’s season, but the way it ended. The Mustangs scored with 1:18 left in the game after the Mavericks dominated most of it.
“As a program, we’re gutted, but at the same time I think we’re pretty proud with what we accomplished this year and obviously feel we were the better team on the field today,” Padgett said.
Colorado Mesa (14-2-5) lost for the first time since Sept. 11 to another Texas team, St. Edward’s, the top seed in the region.
Midwestern State limited Roy Abergil to only one shot, which keeper Noah Fazekas saved in the 30th minute of the scoreless first half.
In the second half, Mesa continued to pressure in the attacking third, but Midwestern’s defense blocked a couple of shots and Fazekas saved a chance by Moshe Perez with less than nine minutes to play. Roberto Diaz sent a shot that sailed high in the 85th minute, and only seconds before the winning goal, Luis Schraidt challenged Fazekas, who made his sixth and final save of the game.
On the ensuing possession, Midwestern’s Christian Okeke made a run at CMU keeper Briley Guarneri and got behind the Mavs’ defense.
“The last two minutes we had a set piece and put a couple of bodies in the box, we’re looking to win the game,” he said. “We were set up pretty well (defensively) behind that piece, but unfortunately, the decisions that we made with a fantastic player running at us with the ball in that Okeke kid, just unfortunately weren’t good enough at the time.
“What needed to happen was a professional foul way, way, way far away from our goal, but that didn’t happen and we let an incredible athlete run at us.”
Okeke got a rare goal past the sophomore keeper, taking a pass from Leon Taylor and slipping it into the right side of the net.
“That’s what fast, quick athletes want to do, is run at you. They got behind us once the entire game, and that unfortunately was the one time,” Padgett said.
Mesa took 14 shots to Midwestern State’s eight, and the defense again played stellar in front of Guarneri, who had two saves. CMU had chances to take the lead, but when the Mavs didn’t cash in, Padgett said, it gave Midwestern State confidence.
“The chances that we generated were good, solid chances,” he said. “It was that end final product not being quite good enough.”
Bruno Nicoletti won the 174-pound division and Brett Kasprzyk placed third at 133 pounds to lead Colorado Mesa in the Northern Colorado Open.
Seven Mavericks placed, with Jareb Aziz finishing fourth and Austin Gaun sixth at 197, Nick Swanson fourth at 149, Jason Buhr sixth at 165, and Michael McDaniel sixth at 133.
Nicoletti defeated UNC’s Dalton Robertson 11-4 in the title match after pinning another Bears wrestler, Thomas Chisholm, in 3 minutes, 59 seconds in the semifinals. He pinned his first-round opponent, then won by decision in the second round and technical fall, 17-1, over Western State’s Tyler Self in the quarterfinals.
Kasprzyk got a first-round bye, then won the next two rounds before losing 10-5 to Wyoming’s Montorie Bridges in the semifinals. Kasprzyk came back to beat Garrett O’Shea of Air Force 8-2 to get to the third-place match, where he defeated Trent Olson of Wyoming 8-2.
Swanson, who also got a first-round bye, won two rounds, including his quarterfinal in sudden victory over Wyoming’s Jake Elliott, before losing in the semifinals. He won his consolation semifinal match by pin before meeting up with Elliott again in the third-place match, losing another thriller, 3-2.
Aziz met Gaun in the consolation semifinals at 197 and won by medical forfeit, then was pinned by Cody Vigoren of Wyoming in the third-place match. He went 5-2 on the day, with Gaun going 2-2 after getting a first-round bye.
Buhr lost in the second round, but then won four straight matches, including two by pin and one by technical fall, before losing in the consolation semifinals. McDaniel lost in the semifinals to UNC’s Rico Montoya and then to Wyoming’s Trent Olson in the consolation semifinals to finish sixth.