Sophomore Striker Dan Whittle gets the ball past Colorado State defenders during a Sept. 25 game. (CU Independent/Lee Pruitt)
Boulder usually has more snow than Phoenix in November. With stellar play at the National Intramural-Recreation Sports Association Region V tournament this weekend, the Colorado men’s club soccer team can earn themselves a warmer venue at NIRSA’s NCCS National Soccer Championships in Phoenix.
Colorado, currently ranked No. 1 by NIRSA, is set to square off against No. 7 North Dakota at 8 p.m. Friday on Franklin Field. This match will mark the beginning of the regional tournament hosted by Colorado as well as the start of the Buffs’ quest for a title.
Following Friday’s match, the Buffs will have their hands full against title-hungry No. 4 Nebraska on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. Nebraska has failed to reach nationals for at least the past two seasons and will surely be in the hunt for a bid.
According to junior captain Justin Macauley, the Buffs are entering regionals this weekend at 4-2-2 and are coming off a 2-1 loss against the Air Force Academy JV squad. Whether the team can rally from a tough loss will be a major factor coming into this weekend.
“The guys are confident, upbeat and ready to go out there and get some good wins,” head coach Dave Vaughan said.
Vaughan said experience doesn’t seem to be a problem with this squad as the defense alone will be held down by three senior starters and a junior. The Buffs have allowed a stingy six goals in eight games.
“We’ve relied on our captains and our upperclassmen to help get the younger guys up to speed and into the groove,” Vaughan said. “It’s ultimately helped us be successful.”
For the Buffs, this weekend is about showing up to play and proving a point. Consistent play throughout 90 minutes has been a minor issue for the team up until this point.
“We need to come out with intensity,” sophomore striker Dan Whittle said. “Sometimes we start games not as intensely as we should, and we just need to score early.”
Attitude is everything and it is no different for the Buffs. With two wins, count on an automatic trip to the championships bracket at nationals in sunny Arizona.
Macauley said the team has one task this weekend.
“The boys just need to stick together as a unit,” Macauley said. “We’ve had some real good camaraderie this year with everyone, and we just need to play our hardest and get it done.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Richard Londer at Richard.email@example.com.
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