GOLDEN – With two second half scores separated by only 12 seconds, the Colorado School of Mines men's soccer team downed third-seed Metro State, 2-0, in Friday's RMAC Tournament Semifinals in Golden and staked its berth in the championship this Sunday.
The second-seed and NSCAA No. 23 Orediggers (13-4-2) will go for their fourth RMAC tournament title in program history and first since 2010, earning the right to play top-ranked and regular season champion Regis at 2 p.m. in Sunday's championship. Trailing 1-0 in the first minutes of the game, the first-seed Rangers rallied to top fourth-seed UC-Colorado Springs 3-1 at home earlier in the afternoon.
After a nil-nil first stanza that saw the teams combine for 15 shots, yet only three shots on goal, the tempo begin to hasten in the second half with 19 total shots and eight shots on target, including 12 by the Roadrunners. However, it was the Orediggers that were able to find the back of the net midway through the frame.
At the 77:05 mark, senior set-piece specialist Alex Nass sent a free kick from near the midfield stripe to the front of the goal where sophomore Tannor Randle knocked it out of the air to the far netting from seven yards away for his second of the season.
Just 12 seconds later, junior Tesho Akindele collected a Metro State turnover on the kick-off and raced down the far side, covering 45 yards before ripping an eight-yard strike to the bottom, left-90. Ranked third in Division II in goals entering the day, the 2012 RMAC Player of the Year surpassed his own single-season school record with his 20th this season.
Akindele also finished with game-highs in shots (7) and SOG (4), while senior net-minder and RMAC Goalkeeper of the Year, Manville Strand, collected five saves and moved into a tie with Kevin Galloway (2003-06) for the career shutout record at Mines with his seventh clean sheet of the year.
Sunday's championship collision with Regis (17-0-1) will be the third meeting between the two squads this season. Regis, the lone unbeaten in Division II, has twice topped the Orediggers by a 1-0 margin and currently rides a 15-game win streak.