The Colorado State women’s soccer team fell to Southern Methodist University at home on Friday 1-0 on a devastating early first half goal.
In the 20th minute, an SMU shot went high, bouncing off the crossbar and back to Mustangs’ forward Lauren Guerra, who easily booted it in off the easy rebound.
“I wish the ball would hit the crossbar and bounce to one of our players. But SMU did a very good job and they capitalized on the chance, so good for them,” CSU head coach Bill Hempen said of the Mustangs’ score.
The first half was scoreless from there on, though the Rams made several attacks that looked promising, including a shot from sophomore midfielder Jessica Jochheim that barely sailed over the top of the goal before landing out of play.
Colorado State came out with a vengenace in the second half, with the defense consistently clearing the ball from the back third up to midfielders and forwards for multiple runs toward the goal. Early in the half at the 55th minute, CSU senior Catherine Ruder made a run straight down the left side, going through two Mustang defenders. Ruder centered the ball from the endline, but no Rams were able to put a foot on it.
SMU made two more dangerous attempts in the game. The first came on a pass centered from the left side that a Mustang forward headed toward the top right corner in the 72nd minute, but Colorado State goalkeeper Jesse McGinley was there for the save. McGinley stopped the ensuing SMU attack by coming out of the goal to snag a corner kick out of the air.
As the clock wound down to under 15 minutes left to play, leaving the Rams desperate for a goal, Hempen moved an extra player to the forward position, which sparked a long CSU possession.
The Rams controlled the ball in the front third for minutes at a time, firing off shot after shot. One series of three consecutive CSU shots, including a strong strike straight on from Ruder, were all defended by the Mustangs before they were able to clear the ball.
CSU came close to tying the game yet again in the 82nd minute on a Janelle Stone corner kick that was nearly headed in but went high, bouncing up in the air off the crossbar, and hitting the it again on its way down before landing in SMU goalkeeper Lisi Lonsberry’s hands.
When the horn sounded, though, the Mustangs were still on top 1-0, handing the Rams their third straight loss at home.
“It just seemed like all the balls we were trying to play through were getting knicked, or getting turned over right away,” Hempen said. “You can’t fault them for their effort,.”.
The Rams have no time to dwell on unfriendly crossbars, though, as they are back on the Lagoon Field Sunday at 1 p.m. against the College of Charleston Cougars.
“We just have to rally around the effort our players are giving and just have to keep pushing them to continue that effort and something will break for them,” Hempen said.
Collegian Sports Reporter Sam Lounsberry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @samlounz.