The Colorado State women’s soccer team bounced back with a 1-0 win in overtime at home Sunday over the College of Charleston Cougars, ending a three-game losing streak.
Regulation wasn’t enough for either team to score, but the Rams didn’t require too much extra time to put an end to it.
In the 94th minute, CSU forced a turnover in the back third and found junior forward Gianna Bertana going down field. Bertana controlled the ball, sprinting down the middle of the field until she arrived at the top of the box, where she was able to slide a pass sideways between two Cougar defenders to set up sophomore Amy Eckert, who drilled it into the net for a goal — her first as a Ram.
“I was just dribbling, I kept seeing Amy make her run, and I was just waiting for the perfect moment to shoot it into her,” Bertana said of her lead on the fast break.
“It was such a good pass. We made eye contact, and both thought ‘We have to go in.’ It was amazing,” Eckert said of Bertana’s assist.
A coaching decision also contributed to Eckert being freed up for the goal. In overtime, CSU head coach Bill Hempen moved defender Jami Vaughn up into the forward position to generate more offense, leaving only three defenders in the back.
“We made a crazy move in overtime,” Hempen said. “(If they score) it’s not something you can live with. You’re playing at risk, but we don’t have anything to lose.”
With the win, the Rams improve their season record to 2-4-0, going 1-1 over the weekend with a 1-0 loss Friday to Southern Methodist University. Colorado State’s defense was much improved from last weekend, where they gave up seven goals, several being results of defensive mental errors, in a pair of matches with Portland State and Iowa.
In the 69th minute, a ball was placed beautifully in front of the CSU goal on a Sarah Cardamore corner kick, but McGinley came up and slapped it forward before a Cougar placed a head on it. Cardamore limped out of the corner on the play, though, and had to be taken out of the game before returning for the final six minutes and overtime.
Hempen was happier with his team’s work in the back third this weekend, calling the defense “much better.”
“We focused a lot on that all of last week, and for them to play a pretty solid game Friday and today, it was good,” Hempen said.
The second half included a barrage of aggressive CSU runs that produced scoring chances. A Rams’ corner kick from Janelle Stone was nearly headed in by Megan Speed, but College of Charleston goalkeeper Lauren Killian made a diving save for the stop.
That near-goal sparked a spurt of offense for the Rams. Following that play, there was a trio of CSU corner kicks that all looked promising, but ended up producing nothing. Another opportunity was created on a Catherine Ruder free kick she sent to the left side of the goal where several Rams were waiting. Killian came out of the box and tipped the first attempt, leaving the goal open as Colorado State rebounded the shot. The Rams were unable to find another clear shot, though, losing out on their last opportunity of regulation.
But Colorado State needed little time to end the match with Eckert’s goal coming just four minutes into the 15-minute overtime period.
“As we told them going in to today, this is the end of a very long home stand. (The win) sure makes the week feel a whole lot better,” Hempen said.
“It feels great. We have a good energy leaving Fort Collins and hopefully we can bring it to our next games,” Bertana said.
Collegian Sports Reporter Sam Lounsberry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @samlounz.