PUEBLO, Colo. - The CSU-Pueblo men's soccer team kicked off their season Thursday night on the road against the West Texas A&M Buffaloes, losing 2-0.
The Buffaloes started with an agressive attack, outshooting the Pack 6-3 with three shots on goal compared to none from CSU-Pueblo in the first half. Although there were several shots, one by Cezar Plascencia (So., Anchorage, Alaska) at the 39th minute that bounced off the crossbar and numerous others that could have been recorded as shots, the scoreboard reflected differently.
Organization and effort on the Pack defense from Jonathan Hall (Sr., Anchorage Alaska), Abel Corral (Jr., Chandler, Ariz.) and Connor Marcone (Jr., San Diego, Calif.), kept the Pack in the game. However, the inability to connect passes to make shots hurt the ThunderWolves in the second half.
Goalkeeper Sam Haseltine (So., St. Louis), played the net well with a total of five saves on the night, three of which came in the first period.
"We need to clean up coming out of the back," CSU-Pueblo head coach Roy Stanley said. "We didn't take advantage of our shot opportunities and we really need to work on improving in those last 30 yards."
"I feel like we gave the ball away in good places though, especially compared to last year. I was proud of my guys in the field, neither of the scores came from giveaways on our end."
Stanley said the ThunderWolves have high expectations this season and were disappointed in Thursday's outcome. But the high ranking of West Texas A&M, who came in ranked number-one in the nation according to the Bennett Soccer Rankings, left CSU-Pueblo with pride considering its respectable effort.
"We played a respectable team," Stanley said. "They had four or five high impact players."
The Pack finished the night with five shots compared to the Buffaloes' 14, seven of which were on goal.
CSU-Pueblo hasn't won a season opener since 2002, and has been outscored 12-0 in the past five openers, including this latest matchup.
West Texas A&M is coming off an 11-4-2 season, and gave the Pack their first chance to play against a higher ranked team.
CSU-Pueblo will travel to Odessa, Texas to face the University of Texas-Permian Basin on Saturday at 7 p.m. local time. UT-Permian Basin finished last season with a 6-12 record and should prove to be a solid match-up for the Pack.