Two games. Two goals. Two ties.
Round three between the Colorado Mesa and Fort Lewis men's soccer teams won't have a similar outcome — it's playoff time, so unlike the regular season, somebody has to win.
"If it goes to penalties, I'd be fine with that," CMU goalkeeper Brendan Brown said with a wry smile. "That's fine if it goes to penalties."
The Mavericks (10-4-3) played Fort Lewis (10-4-4) on Friday in Durango, a 0-0 tie in double overtime. In the opening game of the conference season at Walker Field, they played to a 1-1 tie after two overtime sessions. If Thursday's game, which begins at 3 p.m. at Walker Field, is tied after overtime, the winner is determined by penalty kicks.
And although Brown, who has allowed only 10 goals all season, an average of 0.6 per game, would be OK with facing PKs, CMU coach Andrew Conniff would just as soon his team crank up the offense and not leave it to a golden goal or penalty kicks.
"As a coaching staff, we're working on some new ideas, not reinventing the wheel, but we think we can get more in terms of the quality, our communication," he said.
"There's a lot we can be a little sharper on, and I think the guys are up for the challenge. We've gotten to this point, and I think each of the guys would put their hand up if we asked, 'Do you think you can be a little bit better?' We feel it's in our hands now."
Conniff said the Mavericks didn't play the best in Durango last week and came away with a tie, so being a little bit better all the way around is crucial in the playoffs.
"We had some good looks at goal, they probably had better ones," he said of the game in Durango. "Brendan probably had his best game (nine saves) and they've gotta be scratching their heads, 'How do we beat this guy?'
"Coming back from that match, we're very aware that we can play a lot better. Even though ultimately it was a good one to get a draw at Fort Lewis on a surface we're not comfortable with, it's sort of long grass and really windy up on that hilltop, and it doesn't suit our playing style.
"We feel comfortable coming back that we can fix some of the things we weren't sharp at."
The rivals always play intense games, and with advancing to the conference semifinals on the line, it'll be that much more intense.
"Fort, it's one of those rivals, they've always been our rival and I think it brings out a lot of good in the team," midfielder Connor Lowdermilk said.
With the one-and-done nature of the playoffs, the Mavericks know if they want to play their way into regional contention, it starts Thursday.
"We've got to play more for our seniors at this point," Lowdermilk said. "This could be their last game, or we could have five, six more games after this. It's the mentality of giving everything you have.
"If you don't, the season's over and you'll look back and say, 'Why didn't we give all we have?' ''
Women's All-RMAC: Senior midfielder Alexis Allard was selected to the women's All-RMAC second team, with fellow seniors Ryanne Parker, Jocelyn Ceccarelli, Madison Rasimas and Zoe Peterson on the honorable mention team.
Also on the honorable mention list is sophomore goalkeeper Kamrie Gunderson.
Shanade Hopcroft, who led CU-Colorado Springs to an undefeated regular season and overall No. 1 ranking in the nation, was selected the player of the year.
The men's all-conference team will be announced later this week because two games rescheduled from earlier this season were being played Tuesday.