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Weekly honors, Force, Dynamite, more

October 29, 2009 | 11:27 am No comments
By George Tanner

RMAC defensive player of the week Wally Fink punches the ball away from Fort Lewis striker Euan Purcell. (photo by George Tanner/ColoradoSoccerNow.com)

Jeff Nelson of the Colorado School of Mines was named Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference offensive player of the week for games played the weekend of Oct. 23. It is the second time this month and season that Nelson has received this honor.

Nelson, a senior forward from Laramie High School in Wyoming, scored three goals and added one assist to help Mines beat Colorado-Colorado Springs 5-1 and Colorado State University-Pueblo 4-2 last weekend. Nelson notched a pair of goals against UCCS, the third time he has done so in the past five games, and recorded an assist. In Mines’ game against CSU-Pueblo, Nelson broke a 2-2 tie in the 51st minute of the match, scoring his team-leading 11th goal of the season.

This season, Nelson ranks first in the RMAC with four game-winning goals, is second in points (26), points per game (1.53), goals and goals per game (0.65).

The 15th-ranked Orediggers (13-2-3, 9-2-1 RMAC) will play at No. 24 Metro State at 3:30 p.m. Friday. Mines will close out the regular season at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at home against Regis University.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Regis goalkeeper Wally Fink, a senior, posted a shutout against Mesa State on Friday, stopping six shots on goal, and recorded eight saves in a 3-0 loss at Fort Lewis College.

RMAC WOMEN’S HONORS: Colorado School of Mines players Kayla Mitchell and Briana Schulze have been named the RMAC offensive and defensive player of the week, respectively. This is the third time this month that Mitchell has received this honor and the third time that Schulze has earned the honor in her career. Mitchell, a senior forward from Ontario, Ore., scored four goals in Mines’ 4-0 win over CSU-Pueblo on Friday. Mitchell’s four goal performance established new single-game school records for goals and points. The hat trick was Mitchell’s fifth of the season. Mitchell, the 2009 Women’s Soccer RMAC academic player of the year, leads the conference in goals (26), goals per game (1.37), points (59), points per game (3.11) and game-winning goals (12) and is tied for sixth in assists (7). In NCAA Division II, Mitchell is tied for fourth in goals per game and ranks seventh in points per game. This season, Mitchell has scored multiple goals in seven games. Against CSU-Pueblo and New Mexico Highlands, Schulze, a junior goalkeeper from Eaglecrest High School in Centennial, recorded her sixth and seventh shutouts this season. Schuzle played all 180 minutes in goal and made seven saves in the two victories. This season, Schulze has helped Mines to 13 shutout victories, most in the RMAC. In her past nine games, Schulze has allowed two goals. At home, Schulze has allowed only two goals all season and has helped Mines blank nine of its past 10 opponents. Schulze ranks third in the RMAC in goals against average (0.74) and fourth in shutouts. The Orediggers (16-3, 12-3 RMAC) will close out the 2009 regular season at noon Sunday against Colorado Christian in Golden.

SUN BELT CONFERENCE WOMEN’S HONOR: University of Denver women’s soccer senior forward Mariah Johnston has been named Sun Belt Conference player of the week for the first time this season. Johnston scored the game-winning goal and had an assist in each of Denver’s two road victories during the weekend. Johnston is tied for the SBC lead in conference games with seven assists and three game-winning goals. Johnston also ranks third in points with 15 and is tied for ninth in goals with four. She leads the team with nine assists, is second in points with 17 and tied for third in goals with eight. This marks the third time in her career that Johnston has won this award and the fourth time by a Pioneer this season. The Pioneers end their regular season at home at 5 p.m. Friday against North Texas at the University of Denver Soccer Stadium as part of a doubleheader with the men’s team. Both Denver soccer teams will honor their seniors.

2009 Sun Belt Conference Players of the Week:

10/27 – Mariah Johnston, Forward, Denver
10/20 – Christina Veasley, Forward, Arkansas-Little Rock
10/13 – Kellie Walker, Midfielder, Western Kentucky
10/6 – Katrina Rose, Defense, Florida International
9/29 - Kaitlin Bast, Forward, Denver
9/22 – Kellie Walker, Midfielder, Western Kentucky
9/15 - Kaitlin Bast, Forward, Denver
9/8 - Kendall Juett, Midfielder, North Texas
9/1 - Lara Campbell, Goalkeeper, Denver
8/25 - Shan Jones, Forward, Middle Tennessee

SUN BELT CONFERENCE MEN’S HONOR: Air Force freshman goalie Mike Mauro has been named the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation men’s soccer co-player of the week after leading the Falcons to a pair of home conference victories this past weekend. Mauro, from Bristol, Conn., made 10 saves and allowed just one goal as the Falcons beat New Mexico 1-0 and UNLV 2-1. He shares the award with Ernesto Carranza of Sacramento State. On Friday, Mauro made six saves as the Falcons beat New Mexico for the first time since 2003, snapping a seven-game losing streak and 11-game winless streak against the Lobos. He kept Air Force in the game with several outstanding saves, including one on a breakaway by UNM’s Justin Davis in the 52nd minute. Mauro collected the second shutout of his career. On Sunday, he made four saves against UNLV and allowed a goal in the 71st minute, snapping a scoreless streak of 185 minutes. Mauro, who is 4-3 this season after taking over for senior Jim Gullo, leads the MPSF with a save percentage of .780 and is second by averaging four saves per game.

COLORADO FORCE SOCCER CLINIC ON FRIDAY: The Colorado Force will be holding a Monster Soccer Clinic from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Edge Sports Center, which is in Fort Collins at the intersection of Interstate 25 and Mulberry Street (also known as State Highway 14). Here’s a Mapquest map. The cost is $15 per player. For information, contact the Force at (970)484-4653, or [email protected] or [email protected]. The camp will feature Force players Cayla Deacon Alex Cousins, Lisa Kosena, Brittany Anderson, Lisa Franke and Julie Williford.

DENVER DYNAMITE SIGNS TWO: U.S. national arena soccer team midfielders Tony Thomas and Jay Hamilton have re-signed  with the Denver Dynamite for the 2009-10 Professional Arena Soccer League season. Thomas is a Metropolitan State College of Denver grad who spent some time on the Boulder Rapids Reserves in the United Soccer League’s Premier Development League. Hamilton is a Nevada-Las Vegas grad who also has experience with the San Diego Sockers of the former Major Indoor Soccer League. The Dynamite begins its second season in November.

MY VOTES FOR MLS PLAYER OF THE MONTH: I voted for Andy Williams of Real Salt Lake first and Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts second. Williams played only 120 minutes in October, but he was instrumental in helping Real Salt Lake earn six points en route to a playoff berth, which RSL secured in the final weekend against the Rapids. He helped keep the team postseason hopes alive on Oct. 14 against New York, taking five shots in 27 minutes off the bench and scoring the winning goal in the 80th minute. And he assisted both of Robbie Findley’s goals against the Rapids in Salt Lake’s 3-0 victory. My second choice was Ricketts, who I thought had a shot at the award. He was stingy in a month where the Galaxy posted shutouts in four of its last five games. He’s been a huge reason the Galaxy rebounded this season. The winner, though, was Seattle midfielder Freddie Ljungberg, who recorded four assists while leading Seattle to a 3-0-0 record during October and a berth in the playoffs.

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