On a two game Region IX conference series, the Plainsmen hosted the Otero Rattlers. After having a few bumps and bruises after their game the day before to Trinidad State, the Plainsmen needed to come out strong from the beginning and get this win. They knew that dropping the first two-conference game could spell trouble in the long run.
The game started off intense and the fans knew this would be one that could come to the wire. Both teams were equally matched in talent, it was who was going to take advantage of scoring opportunities and be solid on defense as to who was going to come with the victory.
As the game progressed, it seemed as if neither team could get find a line to get many shots on goal due to each teams' defense playing a virtually flawless game. Many times it looked as if a player was about to thread the needle to get the ball through, but every time a defender was able to get a body part on it to thwart that from happening. With tremendous defense being played, the game would be tied 0-0 going into half.
With the second half beginning, you could see how each head coach had made their adjustments in order to break the opposing teams back line of defense, because there were more times the keeper had to make saves. It was after a time or two of the Rattlers making a good push through the "D" when they were able to get the first goal and lead 1-0. From there, the Plainsmen had to pick it up if they didn't want to lose their second match of conference. Joseph Godoy was able to get a free kick to have a chance at tying it up, but he put too much power into it and it shot over the goal.
With less than a minute to play, head coach David Groves put everyone and the kitchen sink in the Rattlers box on a free kick that was taken in the short corner of the field. He knew this was the last shot at bringing it back to a tie ball game, and he was not holding back.
As everyone was fighting for prime position, the whistle was blown and Ryan Maulsby took a run at the ball, kicked it, and it went sailing through the air. As the ball traveled across the box, it seemed to hang in the dense Northeastern Colorado air. It passed over everyone's head who was in front of the goal, and found it's way to James Berndt who jumped and made contact with his head. From there, it gracefully glided past Olav Sieljes and bounced off the ground. The Rattler keeper dove to his left, stretching out as far as he could to make the save. As the ball seemed to be heading to be a goal, a Rattler defender was able to head the ball, but it soared straight up. With the ball making its decent back to the pitch, Joseph Godoy was lining himself up to jump and take the header for the equalizer. The ball is coming down, Godoy plants his feet, bends his knees, and jumps. As he is in the air, another Rattler defender his attempting to head the ball as well in the other direction, so it will come down to who can get up the highest as to who will win this ball. It was at the last second when Godoy made contact with the ball before the defender could, but it was the Rattler defender's shoulder that was able to make slight contact to get the ball barely off its course. With the ball traveling to what seemed to be the tying goal, a yellow Rattler jersey comes flying in a full stretch to make the save.
As the keeper comes away with the ball, he clears it and the buzzer sounds; Plainsmen lose.
It was a devastating loss for the Plainsmen, but they are not out. They will be back in action on Wednesday September 13 as they head to Scottsbluff, NE to play the Western Nebraska Cougars.