As snow falls on Kittredge Field, sophomore striker Dan Whittle evades Minnesota defense. Despite weather conditions, the Buffs finished regulation tied 2-2, but lost in a shootout. The visiting Gophers won with a final score of 3-2. (CU Independent/Lee Pruitt)
Snow is apparently not the friend of the Colorado Buffaloes men’s club soccer team.
The bad weather might have cost the Buffs the win in the regional finals Sunday at Kittredge Field as they fell to the Minnesota Gophers 3-2 after the game went into penalty kicks.
With 90 seconds to go in regulation, Colorado defender Ray Kerzner scored the game-tying goal after the ball hit both goal posts and trickled past Minnesota goalkeeper Rob Pien to even the game at two apiece.
For most of the game, temperatures were in the 30s with a few snow flurries. But with around 15 minutes left in the game, the snow came down harder and blanketed the field after the final whistle in regulation.
Usually in overtime, both teams would play two 15-minute overtime periods followed by penalty kicks, but the decision was made by the tournament head and both coaches to go straight to penalty kicks for the safety of the players.
Minnesota would go on to win the penalty kicks, 4-3.
Even with the loss, CU head coach David Vaughan said he thought his team played well throughout the game.
“We made some adjustments and we dominated the second half,” Vaughan said. “It’s too bad that the snow had to kill the last 15 minutes for us.”
Members of CU's men's soccer team celebrate after scoring a goal against Minnesota during Sunday's game. The Buffs tied the game 2-2, but lost 4-3 in the overtime penalty kick shoot out. (CU Independent/Lee Pruitt)
Vaughan was forced make some adjustments at halfttime as the Gophers had a commanding 2-0 lead after a goal by Eric Mackay and when CU scored on their own goal after a corner kick by Calvin Mai.
“We made three simple adjustments,” Vaughan said. “Be more responsible defensively, look to find our target players a little bit quicker, and we made a tactical adjustment by putting one more player up on top.”
The adjustments seemed to work as sophomore Walker Plant found the back of the net to cut the Gophers lead to one just 11 minutes into the second half.
The Buffs dominated the second half and senior goalkeeper Matt Rowe said the team would have won if the game didn’t go straight into penalty kicks.
“We totally outplayed them in the second half,” Rowe said. “We kept control of the ball, we played well and got a couple of good chances on the net. I think if we were able to play those two extra 15 minutes, we would have won this game.”
Even with the loss, the Buffs will still go to nationals in Phoenix, Ariz. from Nov. 19 to 21.
However, they still have five more league games to fix what went wrong against Minnesota, beginning with their set pieces on their corner kicks said junior midfielder Brian Fox.
“We were scored on by two set pieces today,” Fox said. “One off of a free kick and then one off of a corner kick that was an own goal.”
Even with the mistakes early on, Rowe is staying positive for the rest of the season.
“We have a couple more games to get ready for nationals; go down to Arizona where it doesn’t snow, keep the weather nice,” Rowe said. “Keep working, keep getting better, and hopefully have a good showing at nationals. The goal is to win it this year.”
Contact CU Independent Sports Editor Ron Knabenbauer at Ronald.email@example.com.
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