The “tale of two halves” cliché has never been more accurate.
Despite a herculean effort in net by CSU keeper Jesse McGinley, Colorado State (3-7-2, 0-2-1 Mountain West) dropped its second consecutive MW match Friday in a 1-0 loss to Colorado College (5-6-1, 3-0-0 MW).
Although it went scoreless, the first half was an up-hill battle for the Rams. Ten minutes into the game CC had already put up five shots, one of which hit the crossbar. The Rams had no answer for how to check CC star Sarah Schweiss. Schweiss was all over the field, and dominated the offensive attack for the Tigers.
The Tigers were keeping McGinley on her toes. From 30 yards out CC player Kelly Sullivan sent a bullet on net. McGinley had to use every inch of her 5-foot-5 frame to get a hand on the ball and deflect it off the crossbar.
McGinley stood on her head, tallying six saves in the first half to keep the game scoreless, and the Rams’ hopes alive.
“For the first 30 minutes at least, (McGinley) came up with some really big saves, what we call blinders,” CSU coach Bill Hempen said. “She certainly kept us in it. And that’s just soccer, the goalkeeper can do a ton of things, she can keep you in matches, and I think the kids gained strength from that because in the second half I thought we were a much better team. I don’t know if we were better than them, but I felt we were a better Colorado State. Her effort was rewarded by a better effort from her teammates in the second half.”
McGinley certainly had her fair share of “blinders” in the match, finishing the game with a personal and program-best 10 saves.
Neither team would crack the scoreboard in the second half, but the Rams were much more competitive. They eliminated sloppy turnovers and went punch-for-punch against a MW powerhouse.
“It was weird,” Hempen said. “We didn’t do anything different. They took a deep breath. … They settled in, and from my point of view, we just grew a ton today in a loss. I hope we can maintain this going forward with our program.”
The game headed into overtime tied 0-0. Just 20 seconds into the overtime period, Schwiess finally found a way to beat McGinley when she chipped a ball from just outside the box. The ball snuck in just under the crossbar, securing a 1-0 win for the Tigers.
Even with the loss, the Rams have no reason to hang their heads. The second half against CC was arguably one of the best halves the team has ever played.
The Rams will stay in Colorado Springs for a conference matchup with Air Force (3-6-1, 1-0-1 MW) Sunday at noon.
Collegian Sports Reporter Chad Deutschman can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @ChadDeutschman.