The No. 11 ranked School of Mines Men’s soccer team played host to No. 24 West Texas A&M Friday night in what was certain to be a closely contested game between two ranked opponents. Both teams played at a high level all night, but in the end it was not enough as West Texas outlasted the Orediggers 4-2 at the CSM Soccer Stadium in Golden.
Mines got out to a quick start with some quality shots on goal in the sixth, eight, and 15th minutes. In the 17th minute, Baski Baker finally broke through with a header to the top left corner on a well placed cross from 40 feet out by Zach Page-Belknap. This would be the only lead of the game for the Orediggers, as West Texas A&M proceeded to score the next three goals of the half to take a 3-1 lead into halftime. The Buffaloes’ goals came in the 22nd, 25th, and 36th minutes of the first half.
Mines entered the second half fired up and immediately put pressure on the West Texas A&M defense. In the 54th minute, Tesho Akindele would find freshman Richard Garvey for the Orediggers’ second goal of the game, cutting the deficit to 3-2. The next six minutes would prove to be the turning point of the game, as shot after shot by the Oredigger men either missed the goal or were blocked. Though try as they may, the tying goal could not be found and in the 61st minute, West Texas A&M scored their fourth goal of the contest on a high bouncing shot that went over the Oredigger goalie Manville Strand’s head and into the net.
For the remainder of the game, the Orediggers were in attack mode but could never find the back of the net. The final third of the game was filled with fouls, eight in the second period by West Texas A&M and five by Mines. Mines was issued three yellow cards (Alex Nass, 54th minute; Joe Haines, 79th; Team, 79th), and A&M was given two yellow cards.
The Orediggers gave their best effort, but in the end simply fell short against a quality opponent. On the night, Mines outshot West Texas 23-14 and had four more corner kicks in the game, 6-2. But even with the tough loss, the night still featured its highlights, as Garvey scored his first goal as an Oredigger and Akindele, recently named RMAC Offensive Player of the Week, continued his brilliant play to start the season with his assist on Garvey’s goal.