The Rams fell 1-0 to Saint Mary’s, but not without a fight.
Colorado State women’s soccer team (1-1-2) dropped its second consecutive match Friday, this time against the undefeated Gaels (4-0-1) in Moraga, California.
The Rams came into the match looking to snap the Gaels’ two-game win streak. The game started with CSU controlling possession, something that was lacking in the team’s most recent loss at Grand Canyon. To start the game, the Rams addressed the possession issue by staying composed and controlling pace.
“We were much better today than we have been,” CSU head coach Bill Hempen said. “The second half was quite good too, we just couldn’t find the equalizer.”
The first ten minutes of play were fast paced, with both teams creating scoring chances. The best chance early for the Rams came on a cross from Janelle Stone in the 13th minute. Stone sent the ball in high, fading back towards the far post connecting with a CSU player who sent a header just wide of the goal.
The first tally of the game would come in the 34th minute for the Gaels. Junior Kiana Quarles made a run down the left side, slipping a ball just under CSU goalkeeper Jesse McGinley into the bottom right corner to put Saint Mary’s up 1-0.
Saint Mary’s would control the tempo for the rest of the half and head into the break with a 1-0 lead over Colorado State.
Saint Mary’s would come out looking to add on to its lead. Quarles nearly struck again when she sent a shot ringing off the crossbar in the 56th minute. CSU would counter off the miss, and was able to pressure the Gaels, but was ultimately unable to find the back of the net.
The game would become a track meet, with both teams racing up and down the field. Junior goalkeeper Jesse McGinley would come up big for the Rams in the 61st minute with a divind save to stop a breakaway attempt to keep comeback hopes alive.
McGinley would stand strong once more for the Rams in the 71st minute when the Gaels gained a promising chance off a missed CSU corner. McGinley and defender Taylor Nelson were the last line of defense against three Saint Mary’s attackers. The ball was sent to the right side of the field past Nelson, giving the attacker an open look on goal. McGinley again made a diving stop, one of her five saves in the match.
“I told the kids after the game, Jesse was player of the match for us,” Hempen said. “She has been solid for us all year and certainly stole one or two for us to keep us in the match.”
With time running out and pressure mounting, CSU would start sending nearly every player into the attacking zone in hopes of an equalizer.
In the 80th minute the Rams were granted a corner that was taken by freshman Kaija Ornes. She bent the ball right to left, nailing the far post before Saint Mary’s was able to clear the ball safely.
The game would come to a close with the Rams’ comeback falling just short for the second game in a row. For the Gaels, the win marked their third clean sheet in a row.
Collegian Soccer Reporter Chad Deutschman can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @ChadDeutschman.