In its first Mountain West games of the season, the CSU women’s soccer team again struggled to find the back of the net in losses to Air Force and Wyoming at the Fort Collins Soccer Complex.
In Friday’s match against Air Force, CSU battled rain and wind as well as a physical Falcons squad, ultimately falling 2-1 in overtime. The match began in a steady downpour that led to both teams struggling to find their footing and adjusting their play to the adverse conditions. Air Force broke open the scoreless tie in the 50th minute when Christy Cooper blasted a shot past goalkeeper Maggie Sherman from 30 yards out.
Unlike previous matches, the Rams responded by pushing their attacking runs forward, the strategy paid off in the 63rd minute when junior Catherine Ruder found Erika Bratschun with a free-kick that she headed into goal.
Neither team could manage any opportunities until the 87th minute when Cooper had what looked like a sure goal past Sherman only to be cleared off the goal line by the CSU defense. Both teams battled through the rest of regulation and overtime until Kristina O’Sullivan headed the game-winner past Sherman off of a handball free kick in the 96th minute.
For Coach Bill Hempen and the Rams, there was obvious frustration in being close to their first win only to be turned away again.
“Sometimes teams don’t punish you for mistakes, but Air Force did today. That’s just how it goes, all I can tell them is let’s come back out here and try and be a little bit better of a soccer team.” Hempen said.
The Rams returned Sunday against Wyoming in the first installment of the Border War for the first-year Rams.
Wyoming started off the scoring early, taking a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute off of a rocket shot by defender Sammi Dunda from just inside the penalty box. CSU dominated possession for the rest of the half but couldn’t break through Wyoming’s back line, only managing one true scoring opportunity. Both teams continued their physical play in the second half with players having to be separated from one another on multiple occasions. Wyoming struck again in the 69th minute when All-Mountain West forward Lucie McDowell scored off of a rebound to put the Cowgirls in front 2-0. Mollee Ramsay then added a goal in the 74th minute to tally the final margin of 3-0.
The Rams struggled to find any success around the goal managing only two shots on goal in the match, something Coach Bill Hempen says the team will continue work on.
“We spent a good part of last week working in front of the goal, and we’ll spend a good part of this week doing the same and try to get a little bit better.”
The Rams (1-6-2, 0-2 MW) will travel to San Diego State to play the Aztecs (4-5-2, 2-0 MW) on Friday before returning home Sunday to face New Mexico (4-7-1, 2-0 MW) in their Pink Out breast cancer awareness match.
Women’s soccer Beat Reporter Keegan Pope can be reached at email@example.com.