After winning their first Division I match last Friday against Nevada, the Rams looked to carry that momentum into their last two home matches of the year. Unfortunately for the Rams, missed scoring opportunities and poorly-timed mistakes left them without a win at home for the 2013 season.
Playing on their on-campus practice field due to snow at the Fort Collins Soccer Complex, the Rams (2-11-2, 1-7-0 MW) controlled possession for most of the match, but fell to Utah State 3-0. After playing defenders Jami Vaughn and Catherine Ruder in the midfield last week against Nevada, head coach Bill Hempen moved both players back into their natural positions in an attempt to limit the Aggies strong counter-attacks.
“Utah State was very good at counter-attacking, and they had a lot of pace. We just had to make sure that we could match them pace-wise,” Hempen said.
Ruder still managed to get a goal opportunity in the 14th minute, but her shot from the top of the box hit the crossbar and went out of play. The Rams spent most of the first half on the attack but were unable to manage any other good looks at the net. Utah State took the lead in the 24th minute off of a goal by freshman forward Jessica Brooksby. The Aggies went on to add goals in the 40th and 70th minutes to tally the final 3-0 margin.
Hempen praised his team for their effort, but couldn’t hide his frustration with the mental lapses that have doomed his squad all year.
“It’s just simple mental lapses and the teams we are playing against have just enough skill to punish when we make those mistakes,” Hempen said.
The Rams returned Sunday, but were unable to come out with a win in their final home match of the year. On a day when both teams battled a steady mix of wind and rain, the Rams held a potent Boise State offense without a shot on goal in the first half. In the 54th minute, a cross into the box hit Ram defender Jessica Stauffer on the arm giving Boise State a penalty kick which forward Brooke Heidemann converted to make it 1-0.
“Those are the kinds of things that you wish would happen for your team, but that’s the way the ball is bouncing with this group,” Hempen said.
The Broncos also added goals in the 58th and 89th minutes for the final 3-0 margin. In a season that has been taken a mental and physical toll on the team, Hempen and his staff continue to remind their team how far they have come since their first scrimmage in the beginning of August.
“I’m so proud of this team for stepping out there every match and giving it another try. This has been a major life lesson for all of us in learning to how to work through a lot of adversity,” Hempen said.
The Rams will round out their inaugural season with Mountain West matches next weekend against San Jose State and Fresno State before traveling to play Northern Colorado on Nov. 1 in their season finale.
Women’s Soccer Beat Reporter Keegan Pope can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @kpopecollegian.