It was a cold fall night down in Colorado Springs, Colo. on Tuesday evening as Colorado Mesa University was hoping to pull off the upset over the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS). However, the Mountain Lions were looking for revenge after the Mavericks were one of only three losses UCCS had in the season. And they did just that with a 4-0 victory over the Mavericks to end CMU’s season.
“They have got a lot of players that are really dangerous,” Head coach Jason Clare said of UCCS. “They have a lot of transfers from Division I schools that came in this year. […] They were 10 times better than when we played them the first time this year.”
In the first matchup between these two teams back in late September, the Mavericks went into Mountain Lion Field and won the game 1-0 on a last minute goal by Halie Bergeron. But in round two, UCCS made sure that the game was out of reach much earlier than the final minute.
UCCS scored twice in 20 seconds in the first half to gain a 2-0 lead heading into the half. In the second half, the Mountain Lions would score again in the 56 minute to essentially put the game out of reach. They added a late goal in the 83 minute to seal the 4-0 victory.
“Obviously disappointed,” Clare said. “But also just really proud of the way that we overcame the adversity that we kind of created for ourselves in that middle part of the season.”
CMU had to fight hard to even make the RMAC tournament. After starting the year 6-4, including 6-2 in conference play, the Mavericks hit a rough patch. CMU went on to lose four of five with one tie to put their playoff hopes on the brink. However, the team was able to win the final two regular-season games of the season to clinch the sixth seed in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) tournament. This was the second season in a row that the team was able to make it to the playoffs, after a three-year drought where the team only won a combined 12 games.
“I am really proud with the fact that the last two seasons we have made the playoffs,” Clare said. “And that is a fantastic achievement from where I took over the program.”
Clare took over the program back in 2014, and in his first season, the team won a mere one game. He, along with the help of Assistant coach Dani Thurman, has helped coach this team back into a conference contender the last two seasons. Despite checking off the playoff appearance on Clare’s accomplishment list, the team is not satisfied with where they have gotten and look to expand in the coming seasons.
“We are not satisfied to get to the first round of the playoffs,” Clare said. “We so desperately wanted to play on Friday. Next year that is our goal to play into that game and play with confidence.”
Not only was Tuesday’s contest the final game for the Mavericks, it was also the final game for seniors Amanda Wenzel, Halie Bergeron and Haley Glassy. While Clare has had seniors graduate in past seasons, these three have special significance with the fact that they were Clare’s first recruits as CMU’s head coach.
“This one is a different one,” Clare said. “This one has definitely been a lot more emotional.”
CMU’s finished the season with an 8-9-1 overall record and a 5-6-1 conference record. Alexis Allard finished with team highs in goals (6) and points (14) as well as received a sport on the First Team All-RMAC.
“Just brilliant for her,” Clare said. “[Allard] is such a good player. She is our number 10 and we go through her a lot.”
The Mavericks now go into their offseason with the hope to recruit new talent for the 2018 season.