DENVER – The old adage 'third time is a charm' held true Sunday afternoon as the Colorado School of Mines upended NSCAA No. 1 and top-seed Regis, 4-3, in the 2012 Men's Soccer RMAC Championship game at the Regis Soccer Pitch in Denver.
After twice falling to the Rangers by 1-0 finals in the two regular season meetings, the No. 23 men struck first in the 11th minute Sunday and added a trio of second half scores en route to handing the last unbeaten in Division II its first loss of the year and earning their first tournament championship since 2010 and fourth overall.
In addition to scoring the most goals by a Regis opponent this season, the Orediggers' victory also halted the Ranger's 15-game win streak that dated back to a 2-2 draw versus West Texas A&M on Sept. 9.
Tournament MVP Tesho Akindele notched the day's first score and first by Mines in 191 minutes of action against the Rangers this season at the 10:46 mark with a rocket to the upper, left-90 from the right wing, just a few yards inside the box. The goal was the second of the tournament for the RMAC Offensive Player of the Year and brought his single-season school record total to 21.
Despite getting outshot 10-to-3 and allowing five corner kicks in the first half, the Orediggers (14-4-2) took the one-nil lead into the break and just 51 seconds into the second, Mines tacked on a second score as freshman Joe Haines headed in a near-side corner from senior Sean Helster for his second this season.
After a foul in the box allowed the Rangers' Stephen Reed to connect on a penalty kick in the 52nd minute, the Orediggers answered less than five minutes later with 56:08 on the clock as a rebound off a saved shot by Akindele found junior Baski Baker who put away the straight-on look from the six-yard box for his fifth score.
Regis responded in the 63rd minute to trim the lead back to one as Martin Maybin played a ball into the box where Justin Ortinau was able to slide it past senior keeper Manville Strand.
Mines pushed the advantage back out to two with 11:20 remaining as freshman Chayce Moniz lofted an arching cross from the right wing boundary to the center of the box that sophomore Jace Dinkel was able to flick in with a header.
Dinkel's first collegiate score ultimately proved to be the game-winner as Regis kept its hopes alive with a header of its own by Taylor Diem with 4:38 left to play, yet that would be all the Rangers could muster as Strand turned aside their last shot of the game in the closing seconds for the final margin.
Along with his three saves, Strand, the RMAC Goalkeeper of the Year and all-tournament squad selection, played an instrumental role in helping Mines thwart 11 corner chances and 19 total shots by the Rangers as he ran his season record in goal to 14-4-2.
Joining Akidele and Strand on the RMAC All-Tournament Team were Haines and Baker as well as sophomore Tannor Randle who recorded the game-winner in the 2-0 semifinal win versus third-seed Metro State on Friday.
With no automatic-qualifying bid from the RMAC, the Orediggers have to await their fate as the field and pairings for next weekend's regional tournaments will be announced Monday at 5 p.m. (MST).