Colorado Mines erased a 3-1 deficit with a pair of goals in the final 10 minutes of regulation before netting the game winner on a penalty kick in overtime to stun top-seeded Midwestern State and advance to the NCAA quarterfinals Friday evening at MSU Soccer Field.
Midwestern State played a man down for the final 51 minutes of regulation after senior defender Call Casarez was issued a red card in the early minutes of the second period. With the Mustangs leading 2-1, senior forward Albert Rodriguez gave MSU a 3-1 advantage with 11:49 to play after a shot from 35 yards out that sailed over the head of junior goalkeeper Collin Hall.
Colorado Mines (18-0-3) pulled within one following a goal from freshman forward John Haist in the 82nd minute before sophomore midfielder Nikolaus Grotz sent a shot into the top of the net from 20 yards out for the equalizer with just 42 seconds to play.
With a little over three minutes to play in the first overtime, the Orediggers were awarded a penalty kick with Grotz delivering the game winner to advance Mines to the Elite Eight.
"It's very disappointing," said head coach Doug Elder. "You have a 3-2 lead with 42 seconds left and we couldn't get the ball out. Every time we got it out it seemed like every second ball went to them. The guy had a good shot. It hurt. With 10 players playing that hard, I was real proud of the guys for digging down."
Midwestern State concluded its historic season at 17-1-1, advancing to its 11th NCAA Tournament and ninth in the last 10 seasons. The Mustangs tied for the second longest unbeaten streak in program history at 18 matches and recorded their third undefeated regular season (2002, 2010) two weeks ago at 16-0-1. The Mustangs were ranked in the top 10 nationally in every regular season poll this season and achieved just their fifth No. 1 ranking in school history back on Oct. 6.
With the loss, five Mustangs concluded their MSU careers in seniors Albert Rodriguez, Ben Clarvis, Juan Farres, Javan Toledo and Call Casarez.
"It was a special run," Rodriguez said. "We had a great group of guys. It's a family here and it's always been that. I'm proud of the guys."
"This is a different group of guys in a sense that every time we had a little setback we fought back," Elder said. "Everybody did what they were supposed to do - the dedication, brotherhood and fighting for each other. They deserved to win and that's what hurts me the most. That's why I was upset after the game. I felt like we were a better soccer team. We had some quality world-class goals."
The Mustangs controlled the match throughout a majority of the first period, taking a 2-0 lead following goals from junior forward Christian Okeke and junior midfielder Flavio Guzman. However, Mines was able to go into halftime with a little momentum after an own goal cut its deficit to 2-1 with 1:33 remaining in the first half.
Rodriguez led the Mustangs with seven shots, three coming on goal. In goal, junior keeper Brice Gardner (6-1-0) was saddled with the loss after four goals allowed and eight saves.
For the Orediggers, Grotz finished with a team-high five shots with three on goal while senior midfielder Richard Garvey placed all three of his shots on target. Hall (18-0-3) earned the win for Mines with three goals allowed and three saves.
Colorado Mines will face Cal Poly Pomona in a NCAA quarterfinal matchup Sunday at 1 p.m. at MSU Soccer Field. The Broncos defeated Cal State Dominguez Hills, 2-1, in the West Regional Final Friday afternoon at MSU Soccer Field.