Mr. Snow Miser sure had a cruel concoction cooked up for the Oct. 28-29 weekend, but the Colorado School of Mines men’s soccer players seemed ready for the wintry rollercoaster ride in store for them.
The team hosted Colorado Christian Oct. 29 for what would be both teams’ final game for 2023, as Colorado Christian ended Mines’ postseason chances with a 2-1 win.
After a three-hour delay so personnel could clear snow from the field, the Orediggers celebrated departing seniors Josef Emge, Ian Kugler and Chris Seery with a pregame Senior Day ceremony. About 100 fans braved the 20-degree temperature to recognize the seniors and cheer Mines onto victory.
Going into the game, the Orediggers were in the middle of the conference standings and needed to win to keep their postseason hopes alive.
The Cougars proved formidable, though, especially goalkeeper Michel Pinoncely who had eight saves for the game.
Mines was certainly aggressive through the first half, putting up seven shots and nabbing three corners. Colorado Christian wasn’t far behind with five total shots, two on goal, and two corners.
While Mines goalie Caden Allaire had one save, Colorado Christian managed to score against him in the 28th minute. Caleb Dodge scored his first and only goal of the season, thanks to an assist by Adrian Diez.
Down 1-0 with two minutes left in the half, it seemed the Orediggers would head into halftime at a deficit. But, sophomore forward Raul Gerhardus had a little bit of luck and an assist from teammate Marc.
After Gerhardus headed the ball toward the Cougars’ goal, it initially bounced off the right sidebar but ended up going into the far left side of the net. Gerhardus and his teammates celebrated Gerhardus’ second goal of the season, and the renewed possibility of victory and postseason play.
As the second half went on, the Orediggers got more and more aggressive as they wanted to avoid a tie. The put up 12 total shots and seven corners. But Pinoncely answered again with five saves for the half.
The tempers that had been continually flaring throughout the game found a new intensity in the final 12 minutes as the referee issued one yellow card to Mines and three to Colorado Christian.
Just as it seemed like things might end at 1-1, Colorado Christian’s Silas Hess found Gabe Roloff for the Cougars’ damning second goal in the 85th minute.
Now down 2-1 with five minutes left, the Orediggers scrambled to put up something. Although they had several good looks, Pinoncely didn’t allow any shots to get through.
With 30 seconds remaining, the Orediggers received a free kick just outside the Cougars’ penalty box. As Gerhardus took the ball, the Cougars fouled him and a fight broke out.
When the clock hit zero, the Cougars celebrated, and the Orediggers commiserated before walking quietly to the stands to thank their supporters.
While it was a heartbreaking final game for the seniors, Kugler said earlier this year he was confident in the underclassmen’s skills, which might help the 2024 squad find success.
Kugler said of the underclassmen: “We have a lot of players who can come in and help us win.”
Click through additional photos from the Oct. 29 game here: