(Video highlights by Rachel Vigil of CTV)
Colorado State soccer began its third year of Division I play with a 1-1 tie in overtime against rival Colorado in the first leg of the Colorado Cup on Friday at the Lagoon Field. Fans lined the field to see the Rams take on the Buffs, forming the largest crowd CSU has seen since making the jump to D-I.
The Rams started strong, controlling the pace of play and generating two scoring chances in the first five minutes. Senior midfielder Erika Bratschun finished off a pass from Hannah Gerdin, striking a ball past CU goalkeeper Kate Scheele in the eighth minute.
“I got set up perfectly,” Bratschun said. “It was not my work, it was everyone else’s.”
CU bounced back quickly, controlling play and creating chances, but could not manage an equalizer thanks to brilliant play in the net by the Rams Jesse McGinley. The junior goalkeeper stood strong between the pipes, totaling eight saves in the match.
CSU continued its stout defensive effort throughout the game. Still leading 1-0 late in the game, junior Rams defender Taylor Nelson slid into the box to break up a promising scoring chance for CU.
With 10 minutes left in regulation and the Rams up 1-0, Buffs’ star Brie Hooks was finally able to even things up at 1-1 in the 81st minute.
The Rams made one final push at the end of regulation but could not find the back of the net, and headed into overtime tied.
The first overtime period came and went with no goal. With both teams trying to net the winner, CU gained a corner towards the end of the second overtime period. The ball came in from McGinley’s right, curving towards the bottom of the goal. The Rams’ post defender Nelson came up big, alongside McGinley, keeping the ball out of the goal and their hopes alive.
The final buzzer would sound shortly after, ending the game in a 1-1 draw.
For CSU, this draw may feel a bit sweeter than most. While CSU would have liked to grab the win, a tie against CU is a good result for the Rams. CSU finished the 2014 season (4-15, 2-9 MW) with room to grow. In 2014, CU defeated the Rams 2-0, finished second in the Pac-12 (14-7-2, 4-5-2 Pac-12) and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
For the Rams to give a team of CU’s quality all they can handle is a step in the right direction for the third-year program. CSU head coach Bill Hempen was pleased with the result, but would have like to hang on for the win.
“It was a great result,” Hempen said. “You think you’re holding on and holding on trying to keep the win but you get the tie.”
The crowd at the Lagoon certainty helped add a little fuel to the fire for CSU.
“It was exciting,” said McGinley. “It was awesome to see the support and everything from the student body. But we really went out there as a team and focused in on the job.”
The Rams enter the second leg of the Colorado Cup on Sunday, when they take on Denver University at 1:15 p.m. in Boulder.
Collegian Soccer Reporter Chad Deutschman can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @Chaddeutschman.