One week into Mountain West play, the Rams have found their goalkeeper.
After getting the start in the Rams’ last three games, head coach Bill Hempen declared junior Paige Brandt the starting goalkeeper moving forward.
“I don’t want the goalkeepers, because they’ve made mistakes and we’ve switched them out to think, ‘oh my gosh every time I make a mistake I’m coming off,’” Hempen said. “So we’ve decided that we’re going to go with Paige and if it becomes unbearable then we’ll change.”
Moving forward might be tough for Colorado State (2-7-1, 0-2-0 MW), who have seen two one-goal leads vanish right before their eyes in their last three games.
The Rams first weekend in conference play wasn’t so kind, dropping a 3-1 contest to Utah State in a cold and rainy Logan, Utah and falling 2-1 at the hands of Boise State in overtime after leading the Broncos for 83 minutes.
After a tough weekend, Hempen says his team isn’t feeling the effects of the gutting loss.
“You just have to move on,” Hempen said. “There is nothing you can do about it now.”
The Rams will have the chance to get back on track this weekend when they take on Nevada (4-5-0, 1-1-0 MW) and UNLV (8-3-0, 1-1-0 MW) at The Lagoon.
Despite dropping their first match in conference play on Friday, the Rebels of UNLV head into the weekend with the best overall record in the Mountain West.
The Rams have had five games been decided by one point so far in 2016, meaning that they have hung around nearly every team they’ve played. Closing games has been an issue for the Rams, and that’s something that Hempen knows they have to work on.
“The gamesmanship part of the game I think we can be better at,” Hempen said. “Just managing the situation and understanding that the other team wants to win too.”
Both Nevada and UNLV will come into Fort Collins having split their first two Mountain West matches, and it’s about time someone travels to play the Rams for a change.
The Rams’ schedule has been a grinder up to this point in the season. Having played six of their first nine games on the road, Hempen and his team are looking forward to the Rams’ two-week home stand.
“That doesn’t happen too often in the conference, it’s usually home one weekend, away the next weekend. To have two in a row, there probably isn’t a program more in need of home games at this point than ours,” Hempen said. “We’re glad to be back at The Lagoon.”
The Rams last win in the conference came over a year ago. Having reached the midpoint of their season, CSU will look to right the ship with nine games left to play.
Colorado State’s first shot at doing so will be on Friday at 4 p.m. at The Lagoon against Nevada, only the second home game the Rams’ will have played in the month of September.
Collegian assistant sports editor Colton Strickler can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @coltonstrickler