After defeating Fort Lewis 3-2 in the First Round of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Tournament on Wednesday October 31, the Metro State men’s soccer team took on Colorado School of Mines in the RMAC Semifinals on Friday November 2 and lost to the Orediggers 2-0 and were eliminated from the RMAC Tournament.
In the first half, both teams came out strong. In the 23rd minute, Mines forward and RMAC Player of the Year Tesho Akindele took a shot that almost went in, but senior goalkeeper Issa Bissau made a huge save to keep the game scoreless. Akindele then got a rebound shot, but Bissau came up big again with the save. Metro had their chances, but they couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities in the first half.
“We both battled. I think both [teams] were searching for an opportunity and both [teams] had some looks,” head coach Ken Parsons said. “Two very competitive 45 minutes and probably a rightful score going into halftime.”
In the second half, it was all Mines. In the 78th minute, Mines midfielder Alex Nass made a free kick pass to defender Tanner Randle and he took a shot from about 13 yards outside the top of the box and got it right past Bissau to make it 1-0 Mines. The Orediggers weren’t done yet –13 seconds later– Akindele got the ensuing kickoff and took a shot from 45 yards out and hit the left side of the net to give CSM a 2-0 lead. That would do it as Mines took the victory 2-0 to eliminate the Runners.
“It’s kind of like groundhog day for us. We keep giving up the same goal over and over again,” Parsons said. “We give up a set piece goal to Mines. Then get caught asleep at the wheel. Still hanging our heads regarding the first one. It’s one of those where you certainly want to slap yourself in the hand and go we should know better than that. There was an instance that we were asleep at the wheel and they were able to score a different one. Probably 1-0 game we can continue to fight. 2-0 with 18 minutes left is probably going to be too insurmountable to overcome. As disciplined of a team Mines is, they’re able to hold onto a 1-0 lead is going to be difficult enough. When you spot them two, that’s certainly an insurmountable challenge.”
The Roadrunners had their opportunities, but CSM goalkeeper Manville Strand came up big and finished the game with five saves.
“Mines is probably the best team that I’ve seen over my nine years career here as holding onto those slim leads and not make a game of it,” Parsons said. “We had some opportunities. I’m happy to see that we continued to fight to the end. We owe that to the seniors to keep fighting until the end. We always tell these young guys, you’ll be a senior someday and you’re going to want those young kids to fight for you. I’m glad that we fought until the very end.”
A tough loss for the Runners, especially for the seniors on this year’s team as this was the last game of their Metro careers.
“It’s an honor to play with them. They always put out a good day’s work,” junior defender Andrew Mejia said. “It tough to see some good friends go.”
Bissau finished with four saves on the game. Mejia finished with five shots in the game.
With this loss, the Runners finished the season 8-5-1 in RMAC play and 12-7-1 overall.