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Ask new Colorado College of Mines soccer head coach Brandon Moore about an important sport on this yr’s schedule, and he would not hesitate: December 17, in McKinney, Texas—the Division II nationwide championship. “That is the objective, from day one in all this season,” says Moore, who was named head coach of the Ordigers in January. “The hope of everybody round me now’s to win and win.”
The Mines are coming off their finest yr in program historical past, a 12–2 file, a 3rd consecutive Rocky Mountain Athletic Convention (RMAC) championship, and a season ending one sport in need of a title matchup. At this time, the Ordigers sit within the prime 5 within the Precision Nationwide Rankings, are favorites to win the RMAC title once more, and have change into a significant participant inside the DII ranks.
That is saying one thing for a faculty the place academics-athletics-don’t rule. “It is a distinctive atmosphere,” says Michael Zeman, Mines star operating again and All-American, who will graduate in December with a grasp’s diploma in engineering and expertise administration. Recruitment inside the Ordiger program is restricted, largely as a result of college’s rigorous educational requirements. (The crew has solely had one switch this season, for that purpose.) Probably the most notable gamers are not any large identify, picture and likeness offers. And of the crew’s greater than 100 student-athletes, almost two-thirds had summer season internships this yr. This consists of Zeman, who labored 9-to-5 for a bridge-engineering firm whereas sustaining a every day lifting schedule earlier than and after work. “The Mines is not a program for everybody,” says Moore, who led the Mines’ protection earlier than taking over the position of head coach. “Youngsters perceive why they’re right here: They need a level, they wish to be nice college students, they usually wish to be engineers. Soccer is a approach for them to do one thing else. Soccer is an outlet—one thing about which They’re actually emotional in me. My children are constructed otherwise.”
So is Moore, who took over longtime head coach Greg Brandon, who retired shortly after his crew misplaced 34–31 to Valdosta State within the DII semi-finals. Moore just isn’t solely liable for placing collectively one in all DII’s strongest strongholds, however he additionally brings a championship mentality to a program that has been on the doorstep of soccer success for almost half a decade. As soon as a standout linebacker on the College of Oklahoma who helped lead his crew to the 2002 nationwide title, he spent six seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and has two years of NFL teaching expertise. When he arrived at Golden in 2016, Moore admitted he was skeptical when Brandon received the nationwide championship, the first objective of the Colorado College of Mines soccer program. Now, he says, “everybody has purchased in. I stay up for turning it into an heirloom.”
At Grand Valley State College (Mr.), September 1: A non-conference matchup between two of DII’s finest packages to begin the season, these two groups enter the yr ranked within the prime 5 of the nation. A win would set the tone for the Colorado College of Mines soccer crew’s probably deep playoff march.
3 gamers to observe
Michael Zeman, following: The Wheat Ridge native and former Holy Household Excessive College standout was a Harlon Hill Trophy finalist, awarded the very best DII participant within the nation. Not solely did the All-American rack up 26 touchdowns final season, Zeman can be a workhorse: He averaged about 25 carries per sport en path to 1,608 yards from scrimmage.
John Matocha, Quarterback: A senior, double-threat quarterback from Magnolia, Texas, casually scored 38 landing passes — as much as simply eight interceptions — and raced to attain one other seven final season for the Ordigers. Nationally, Matocha ranks third in DII completion proportion (.681), eighth in effectivity, fifth in passing touchdowns, and fifteenth in passing yards (3,105).
Nolan Reeve, linebacker: The Presidential All-American primarily based out of Mission Viejo, Calif., led the Mines final season with 75 tackles and 10.5 sacks and helped anchor one in all DII’s most aggressive defenses. Nominated for the Cliff Harris Award—given to the nation’s finest small-school defensive participant—Reeve not too long ago earned his bachelor’s diploma in mechanical engineering.