The Colorado State’s women’s soccer team suffered a 1-0 loss Friday evening on a goal from a penalty kick in its Mountain West conference opener against the UNLV Rebels.
In the 59th minute, Rebels midfielder Dakota Blazak dribbled the ball into the corner of CSU’s end of the field while being defended by Rams sophomore Kasey Dietrich. Blazak made a move into the box with her back to the goal, still closely guarded by Dietrich. Just barely a step into the box, though, Dietrich hooked Blazak’s foot, sending her to the ground and was whistled for a foul, setting up a UNLV penalty kick.
Jordan Magnin then lined up the penalty shot and punched it into the top left corner barely over the extended hand of diving CSU goalkeeper Jesse McGinley, giving the Rebels a 1-0 lead with 30 minutes left to play.
“It was a legit penalty,” CSU head coach Bill Hempen said of the call.
The score remained 1-0 for the rest of the match, despite some dangerous runs by both teams.
Colorado State followed the score with a several close shots to tie the game and complete a comeback, but none found the back of the net.
Just before the penalty, CSU almost took an initial lead of its own on a shot attempt set up by Rams’ defender Megan Speed. After forcing a Rebels turnover, Speed dribbled down the middle to clear the ball and dished to forward Gianna Bertana on the right sideline. Bertana booted it back to Speed in the middle, who then kicked a pass forward that found no one, but confused UNLV goalkeeper Jordan Sallee into coming forward. The ball was kicked by Rebel defenders and squeezed out on the right side of the goal, where Speed hustled to get an open shot past an out-of-position Sallee, but kicked it right of the goal over the end line.
Defender Catherine Ruder followed Magnin’s shot by leading a Rams attack across midfield, booting one toward the goal, but the ball was tipped and slowed down before it rolled into UNLV goalkeeper Jordan Sallee’s hands.
A late attempt from Rebels’ forward Kaila Brinkman sailed for the goal but went directly into the hands of McGinley for the save.
The Rams’ attack has struggled to find the back of the net so far this season, scoring only two goals total on the year through nine matches. With the loss in the conference opener, the Rams move to a 2-7-0 record, each loss coming in a shutout.
“We’ve tried about everytihng we can try to score a goal,” Hempen said. “I just keep beliveing that at some point, we’ll knock one in.”
Junior forward Gianna Bertana has been the spark of the little offense CSU has produced so far this season, scoring the Rams’ first goal over Northern Colorado and assisting off a fast break for the only other Rams goal in their match with College of Charleston. Bertana was unable to create much in Friday’s loss, though.
“I need to keep making those type of runs,” Bertana said, “and making good passes and looking to make opportunities for others and take some myself too.”
The Rams will have a chance to even their conference record on Sunday at home against the Nevada Wolfpack.
“We’ll get the nets out tomorrow at training and try and score some goals, and try and maybe save some for Sunday too,” Hempen added.
Colorado State’s match with Nevada will kick off at 1 p.m. on the Lagoon Field Sunday.
Collegian Sports Reporter Sam Lounsberry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @samlounz.