Apr. 8—Losing hasn't been on the table for the Colorado State University Pueblo men's soccer team this season.
Through six matches during a shortened season that was moved to the spring because of the coronavirus pandemic, the ThunderWolves are 4-0-2. They posted four shutouts to open the 2021 season before battling to a pair of double-overtime ties against Fort Lewis (1-1) and Colorado Mines (3-3).
With two matches remaining in the regular season — Thursday at Adams State and Sunday hosting Colorado Christian — the Pack have a chance to complete the regular season without a defeat. They have already qualified for the six-team RMAC Tournament starting April 20.
It all comes in the first season for CSU Pueblo coach Oliver Twelvetrees, who was hired last summer. He has helped turn around a program that was 7-11 overall and 7-7 in the RMAC in 2019.
Twelvetrees said having the season pushed into the spring was a blessing as it allowed him and his players to get to know each other and develop a strong team culture.
"Personally for me the fall was probably a positive thing," he said. "We were able to practice, be together and get to know each other as a group and lay the foundation without playing games every week.
"During the college schedule, we don't get to practice much. We had a good semester to build the culture, build the program. Plus, we brought in some transfers in January that increased the talent pool."
The addition of three NCAA Division I transfers, seniors Nazar Deputant and Joe O'Sullivan and junior Miguel DeLeon, has been a big boost. All three quickly became starters and have been instrumental in the Pack's success.
While the 4-0-2 start in impressive, Twelvetrees said it could have been even better.
"To be honest, we probably could very, very easily have six wins," he said. "We've been up every game by scoring first. But we could be 6-0.
"We're happy to be undefeated and know there is more to go with this group. They are hungry to get into the playoffs."
CSU Pueblo is seeded No. 2 in its division in the RMAC behind Colorado Mines and likely will finish No. 2 or No. 3 depending on the outcome of the final two matches. That would put it in a first-round game on April 20 with the higher seed hosting. The winners advance to the semifinals.
Both the semifinals and finals will be held at the site of the highest seed in the conference.
Twelvetrees isn't surprised at how well his team has performed.
"I didn't come to Pueblo and leave Florida to just make up the numbers," he said. "I came here to try and compete for a championship and be successful every day."
Through six matches, the Pack has outscored its opponents 20-4. Ten different players have scored goals and nine different players have assists.
Vinzent Zingel, O'Sullivan and DeLeon have scored four goals apiece.
That type of balance makes the ThunderWolves difficult to play against.
"We've got some good attacking threats," Twelvetrees said. "Zingel is the returning freshman of the year and has continued to improve and our transfers have done really well."
Twelvetrees is sad that the season is nearly over. There will be no advancement following the RMAC Tournament since the NCAA won't have postseason playoffs.
"It's a shame that in two weeks our season will be over," he said. "The season was a long time coming and we waited a long time to do what we love to do. We just need to keep staying healthy and hope to continue to get better."
Chieftain interim sports editor Jeff Letofsky can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jeffletofsky