Rangers Defeat Orediggers 3-2 on Senior Day
The Ranger men's soccer team tallied a 3-2 victory over the nationally ranked #23 Orediggers of Colorado School of Mines today. Seven seniors were honored before the RMAC Conference match for their dedication and commitment to the program. Of the three Ranger goals scored on the day, all of them were by seniors.
The men used the day's excitement to come out strong with high intensity. In the fifth minute of the game, midfielder Stephen Reed took a free kick from the Ranger side for the men that was headed toward the goal. The ball was cleared by the Mines' defense and picked up by senior midfielder Patrick Freeman. Freeman lobbed the ball through, off the goalie's fingers and into the back of the net.
"Emge challenged the goalie, we got a little bit lucky, and it went in," Freeman commented. "The season has been an unbelievable experience and I've enjoyed every day," he continued. "The game today was unmatched in passion and intensity so far this season."
Mines countered with a goal of their own in the 20th minute. Oredigger defender Zach Page-Belknap crossed from the right wing. Forward Baski Baker won the header and sent it just over the fingertips of Ranger senior keeper Ben Sabados.
The Rangers were not done with the first half however as they scored two more before the horn. In the 31st minute, forward Martin Maybin received a pass from the other side of the field. Maybin shook his defender to the right and got a pass off to senior forward Kyle Emge right in front of the posts. Emge finished the play with a goal bringing the score to 2-1 in the Ranger's favor.
"It was the first time Marty and I have really connected for a good goal and we have been waiting for it all season," Emge stated. "He had an excellent effort out on the wing, beat a couple of defenders, had a great ball in, and I got a toe on it," he continued. "The credit really goes to him; I was just in the right place at the right time."
Senior forward Ben Buhler tallied his last career home goal in the 44th minute. Defender Jordan Spring sent a ball down field. Within the pack fighting for possession, Freeman took control of the ball, beat his man with a great move, and passed to Buhler. Buhler shot the ball into the goal from 12 yards out, putting the Rangers up 3-1 over the Orediggers.
Buhler stated, "We're right where we want to be right now." "If we win out, we will take second in the conference," he continued. "We are in a good position to accomplish goals we set at the beginning of the season."
Both teams played intensely throughout the rest of the match, fighting for possession and shot attempts. In the 88th minute, the Mines team took an opportunity at the Regis goal. Midfielder Alex Nass got a free ball in the six yard box from a free kick and passed to forward Tesho Akindele. Akindele scored from a few yards out to bring the Orediggers within a goal.
"The boys worked hard and came out really well for senior day," Sabados commented. "The defense did really well and worked hard so I didn't have to do a lot," he continued. "I think we are starting to peak at the right time, finishing the ball well, defending as a unit and coming together."
Sabados spent the entire 90 in goal, recording four saves. The Rangers recorded 23 shots, nine of which were on goal.
"We had a fantastic performance on Senior Day," stated Head Coach Tony McCall. "The seniors came out and gave us a lot of leadership," he continued. "We dominated the game, going 3-1 up, and were comfortable going into the second half."
"Kyle Emge, Keegan Bast, Ben Buhler, Alex Howieson, Patrick Freeman, and Ben Sabados were immense today along with the underclassmen," McCall went on to say. "It was a total team effort, I'm very pleased with the quality of play and the number of quality goals we were able to score."
The men will travel to Lakewood, Colorado to take on RMAC Conference opponent Colorado Christian. The match will take place Friday, October 28th at 2:30 PM.