The ThunderWolves tied the Colorado School of Mines Orediggers 1-1 in the mens soccer RMAC season opener on Sept. 14, at the Rawlings Soccer Sports Complex.
The outcome against the Orediggers could be surprising to many, as T-Wolves were chosen to finish sixth in the RMAC Preseason Coaches Poll. The Orediggers, who were previously ranked No. 11 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll, are led by the two-week reigning RMAC Offensive Player of the Week, junior midfielder/forward, Tesho Akindele.
Akindele however, did not have as much of an affect on the outcome of the game on Friday, as he only took two shots on goal with zero goals in the defensive bout. In result, the Orediggers had to find production elsewhere, and an answer came in the 36th minute
The Orediggers struck first, as junior forward, Seun Ogunmodede came off the bench, and scored a goal off a saved header. The assist on this play was credited to freshman midfielder, Chayce Moniz, who also contributed off the bench.
The T-Wolves went into halftime with a one-goal deficit.
After battling the Orediggers and the wind for the first 45 minutes, T-Wolves knew what had to be done in order to stage the second half comeback.
“We were going against a little bit of the wind, so our longer passes were not successful,” head coach Ron Stanley said.
In the second half, the switching of sides proved to be beneficial for the T-Wolves.
The T-Wolves tied the game in the 56th minute, after senior forward Ryan Hunter beat his defender, and scored in the top right corner. The assist was given to sophomore midfielder/defender, Jack Gonzales.
“Jack Gonzales played a great ball, diagonal ball, and I just saw my guy one-on-one, I did a few moves and then turned up field and saw a wide open goal, so I just cracked it and it went in,” Hunter said.
The goal served as a turning point, as the T-Wolves saw that they could keep up with heavyweight RMAC opponent.
“As soon as we scored that, our momentum went up, all the drive, everybody wanted it more than anything,” Hunter said.
The game would go into extra time, and end in a draw, but not without late game excitement.
In the 96th minute, a shot that would have won the game for the T-Wolves bounced off the right goal post, deflecting the final opportunity to come out with a victory.
Perhaps the most important message created by the T-Wolves on Friday night, was the statement to the rest of the RMAC.
“We’re better than last year. We’re still untapped. There’s still a ways for us to go, another level for us to go, but I’m excited about what I have,” Stanley said.
The game ended with four yellow cards, two called on each team, and 22 fouls.
After Friday’s game, the T-Wolves moved to 2-2-1 and 0-0-1 in RMAC play.