Somebody tell the woodwork on the goals at Lagoon Field to give their home team a break.
After preventing the game-tying goal in the 88th minute on Friday, the post again hurt the Rams in their 1-0 loss to New Mexico on Sunday. The loss spoiled a Senior Day for the Rams (3-13-2, 1-8-1 MW) that saw the team send off their six seniors, including the final three from the team’s inaugural season. With the win, the Lobos (8-7-3, 4-5-1) stay alive in their pursuit of a Mountain West tournament berth, needing a win in their final game and some help from those around them.
The game’s only goal came early in the match. After coming out strong with four early shots, the Lobos set the tone for the match. In the 11th minute, a cross from Jennifer Munoz bounced in the box before finding the head of Gwen Maly. Brandt got her fingers on the ball, but it wasn’t enough to prevent it from trickling over the goal line.
The Lobos carried that momentum through the first half, outshooting the Rams 14-7 in the process. Despite coming out with more energy in the second and outshooting the Lobos by three, the Rams were unable to catch the breaks they needed to win.
With head coach Bill Hempen urging his players to keep up their tempo, the Rams increased their intensity in the final 20 minutes of play, creating chances for the team down the stretch. A ball that got passed the UNM defense appeared destined for the net with a charging Hannah Gerdin. UNM keeper Tayler Hammack attacked and met the ball at the same time as Gerdin, sending it out of play.
After earning a corner in the 90th minute, Maddi Rodriguez sent a promising ball to the head of Lexi Swenson in the box. The ball struck the inside of the right post and rolled in front of the net before being cleared by a UNM defender, marking the second time in as many games that the post acted as an extra defender in the waning minutes of the match.
The final home game of the year brings with it some positives for a Rams team that showed improvement throughout the season. The team’s seven one-goal losses show the heartbreak they have endured to this point in the season. Remaining competitive in those games gives reason to believe that the future is bright.
“I know the score didn’t reflect it but I feel like we have improved this season,” said Amy Eckert, team captain and one of six CSU seniors. “I know it will carry on next season, I’m excited to be on the sideline cheering them on.”
“One of the very big positives, and you don’t get it all the time from groups, is the fact that they definitely have set the culture of ‘never give in, never give up,’” Hempen said. “As opposed to waiting for something gifted to them, they’re fighting for everything they’ve got. The direction is a positive direction based on the fact that the culture is solid and they’re willing to give everything they have every time they’re out here on the field together.”
The Rams finish up the season on Friday, Oct. 28 against the Wyoming Cowgirls in Laramie.
Collegian sports reporter Colin Barnard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @ColinBarnard_