The Colorado State’s women’s soccer team won 1-0 over the Nevada Wolf Pack Sunday afternoon on the Lagoon Field in Fort Collins to finish the weekend 1-1 after Friday’s loss to UNLV in its Mountain West conference opener.
The match’s sole score came late in the second half from the Rams off a Gianna Bertana fast break, but only after an earlier on-field altercation that resulted in Nevada’s Mei-Li Madamba receiving a red card and being ejected for the remainder of the game in the 61st minute, forcing the Wolf Pack to play a man down.
The penalty occurred while players fought for possession in Nevada’s backfield. Madamba and CSU’s Jade Jones knocked each other down in a pile on the field, and kicks were exchanged, resulting in a yellow card for both women, Madamba’s second yellow of the game which is an automatic red card.
With a one player advantage, CSU finally capitalized in the 75th minute.
Bertana’s run started in the backfield after receiving a pass from midfielder Bri Sweeney. Bertana bounded down field dribbling the ball right at Nevada defender Katherine Davison into CSU’s attacking third. At the top of the box, Bertana made a fake to the middle and went around Davison to the right side then blasted one into the air off the bottom of the crossbar and in off the bounce over Nevada goalkeeper Deven Bryar.
“I kept dribbling at the player and no one stepped towards me, so I just kept going,” Bertana said of the coast-to-coast fast break. “I faked to her weaker side and shot with my right and it worked out.”
“That was a great individual effort,” Bill Hempen, Colorado State’s head coach, said of the goal.
The goal ended the Rams’ three-game scoreless streak and prevented their eighth time being shut out this season.
“We’ve been wanting players to just go, and she did,” Hempen continued. “Fortunately, it was a rip. Heck of a shot.”
Bertana notched her second goal of the season with the shot. The forward has been the sole consistent flame for the Rams’ offense so far this season, as she assisted on the only goal she didn’t score in CSU’s overtime win over College of Charleston.
“She’s been involved in all three of our goals, so evidently she has to touch the ball at some point for us to get it in the net,” Hempen joked.
There was much back and forth between Colorado State and Nevada in the midfield in the second half, neither team able to consistently string together passes for dangerous attacks, except for Bertana’s hero run. Although happy about coming away with the win, Hempen was unsatisfied with his team’s efficiency against a Wolfpack team down a player.
“You’re playing a team thats a man down, they should never have the ball,” Hempen said. “That’s youth right there. But we’ll take the win and move on to next week.”
As conference play opened this weekend, Sunday’s win moves Colorado State’s second year program to a 3-7-0 record, 1-1-0 in the Mountain West.
The Rams must finish above .500 in the conference to make the Mountain West post-season tournament. They have nine more conference matches, six of which are on the road.
“We needed to win in the worst way, just to keep our hopes alive,” Hempen continued. “You don’t want to go 0-2 at home when you know you have to win at least one on the road (to make the conference tournament). Getting the three points today is huge for us.”
Nevada’s loss on Sunday moved the Wolf Pack to 3-7-1 on the year and 0-2-0 in the conference following its 4-0 loss to Wyoming on Friday.
Colorado State’s next match is at Boise State Friday at 4 p.m. The Broncos were picked to finish high in the conference, but injuries have plagued their roster early, contributing to a rocky 3-5-3 record. The Broncos started conference play 0-2-0 after being upset by Air Force Friday 2-0 in their conference opener and losing to Mountain West newcomer Colorado College 3-1 on Sunday.
Collegian Sports Reporter Sam Lounsberry can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @samlounz.