In the second game of the annual Colorado Cup, the Colorado State women’s soccer team lost to the Denver Pioneers 1-0 on a Leah Swander goal in the 99th minute.
With a pair of corner kicks and an Alex Lanning shot on goal in the first 15 minutes, CSU’s offense looked poised to push across their first goal of the season, following last week’s 0-0 tie against Colorado. Despite the early momentum, the Rams couldn’t capitalize on their chances.
17 minutes into the game, last year’s assist leader Hannah Gerdin checked in for her first appearance of the season. Gerdin missed the season opener against Colorado due to her accumulation of yellow cards last season. Sh made her presence known on Sunday as she eased her way back into the CSU offense.
“She’s (Gerdin) certainly a handful to deal with,” Coach Bill Hempen said. “She’s not quite fit to play a lot of minutes right now, but we’ll work on it. She did bring energy to the team and that helps everybody.”
In the 21st minute of action, CSU appeared to cash in for the first goal of the season. However, the goal was disallowed after the Rams were ruled offside.
“[Offside is] the rule that is the bane of soccer,” Hempen said. “The girl who scored the goal was not offside and the referee acknowledged that to me. But there was another player involved and once that other player was involved the referee felt like he had to call offside. I think if the play was allowed to go one more second, we probably win one-nothing.”
CSU went into halftime ahead in shots 4-2, but the Pioneers pushed hard to break the scoreless tie following the break. Denver outshot the Rams 8-3 in the second half, but goalie Paige Brandt and the Rams’ defense continued their strong play this season to send the match into extra time for the second time in as many games.
“With constant moving parts, the communication part is so key,” Hempen said in reference to what has made the Rams’ defense click so far this season. “It’s one thing to talk and another thing to listen. And they trust each other and they listen.”
In extra time, CSU freshman Taylor Steinke had the first shot to end the game in the 91st minute. Denver’s Swander countered in the 92nd minute with a shot that rang off the crossbar. The Rams caught a momentary break from the crossbar, but Swander did not squander her next scoring opportunity. In the 99th minute, Swander drove a deflected shot to the back of the net, giving Denver their second win of the season.
“That’s a bounce going our opponents way,” Hempen said. “We were all in the right place, we just couldn’t block it or clear it cleanly and it just deflected over our goalkeeper.”
The Rams’ next chance to get in the win column will be this Thursday when they take on Northern Colorado in the third game of the Colorado Cup.
Collegian sports reporter Christian Hedrick can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ChristianHCSU.