Another game, another close loss.
Colorado State (3-14-2, 0-8-1 Mountain West) was edged out 1-0 by Boise State (7-9-3, 5-5 MW) at Lagoon Field Sunday in Fort Collins, Colorado. The Rams remain the only MW soccer team without a win in conference.
Narrow losses has been the recurring theme this season for CSU. The matchup against Boise State was borderline déjà vu and ended in another comeback attempt falling short for the Rams.
The Broncos came out bucking, pushing the pace and playing an aggressive style of defense. Pressuring the Rams as soon as they touched the ball, the Broncos created some frantic passing on the Rams’ part and nearly capitalized early. Boise State’s Michelle Reed sent a shot off the crossbar in the 3rd minute that may have woken the Rams up a bit.
CSU weathered the storm, and began to play its game. The Rams slowed the play down and began to counter Boise’s onslaught of attacks with some good looks of their own. Both goaltenders stood strong, however, and the half would end scoreless.
The second half was all too familiar for Rams fans, as they saw CSU again surrender a goal and play from behind.
In the 61st minute the ball bounced to the top of the box and met the boot of Michelle Reed. Reed would make no mistake this time, sending the ball screaming into the top left corner, putting the Broncos up 1-0.
Following the Reed goal, the Broncos looked content with their one goal lead and sat back on defense, daring the Rams to attack.
CSU took the dare, and was led by an unlikely catalyst. Freshman Mikayla Schmidt used her quick pace to generate multiple chances for the Rams, and gave the Broncos some issues on their backline. The emergence of Schmidt was something the Rams have been waiting for, according to CSU head coach Bill Hempen.
“We have been encouraging (Schmidt),” Hempen said. “She has pretty good pace to really get after a player in a one-on-one situation and she did that today. That’s the kind of player we need to keep the other team honest and keep them on their heels a little bit.”
Schmidt came into the game as a substitute and played a strong 44 minutes for the Rams.
Boise’s defense was able to withstand the comeback attempt and keep the Rams off the scoreboard, giving the Broncos the 1-0 win.
CSU has lost eight consecutive Mountain West games, and has failed to score a goal in four consecutive matches. The Rams have scored only one goal in their past six games.
The Rams are struggling, but with only one game remaining on the season, the CSU seniors will be putting it all on the line trying to end on a high note.
Senior Jessica Stauffer is ready to step into action onto Lagoon Field one last time.
“I’ve been playing soccer since I was six (years old), this is everybody’s dream,” Stauffer said while holding back some tears. “So obviously its emotional, but I am happy where I am and happy where I came from.”
The Rams will honor their senior players Friday, when they take the pitch against rival Wyoming (8-5-4, 4-4-1 MW).
Collegian Soccer Reporter Chad Deutschman can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @ChadDeutschman.