The Colorado State women’s soccer team opened the 2017 season and their new home soccer facility with 0-0 tie against the No. 25 Colorado Buffaloes.
In the first game of the Colorado Cup, a round-robin tournament amongst Colorado’s six in-state soccer teams, the Rams’ goalie tandem of Paige Brandt and Hunter Peifer each made five saves to keep Colorado off the scoreboard. The goalies stifled the Colorado offense, who outshot the Rams 20-8. CSU midfielder Maddi Rodriguez knew the goalies were capable of the unblemished performance no matter who was in net.
“Coming out of preseason we knew we had three great keepers and they were pushing each other everyday,” Rodriguez said. “It’s great to have confidence in the back. It helps us offensively.”
The CSU goalies were tested throughout the 110-minute match, but it was the Rams who put pressure on CU coming out of the gates. In the first five minutes, CSU dictated play in the CU defensive zone and racked up a pair of corner kicks, but failed to convert on either attempt.
At the seven-minute mark, CU forward Libby Geraghty had a point-blank shot on net, but was stopped by starting goalie Brandt. Brandt went on to make four more saves before Peifer replaced her at halftime. According to coach Bill Hempen, the decision to swap goalies was made prior to the game and the team plans to use both goalies for the foreseeable future.
At the 36-minute mark, CU sophomore Taylor Kornieck had a penalty kick from several yards outside the penalty area. Her shot careened off the face of CSU defender Janelle Stone, who returned to the game after a brief injury absence. Kornieck failed to convert on two more penalty kicks throughout the evening, but was a threat for CU the entire match.
“That 22 (Kornieck) is one dangerous kid to keep track of and we were fortunate enough to keep her off the board tonight,” Hempen said. “I give it up to Janelle (Stone) for standing in front of that shot.”
CU opened the second half with a couple more scoring chances, but the Rams did enough to keep the game scoreless. At the 62-minute mark, CSU started to gain momentum in the offensive zone, highlighted by a Kaija Ornes shot that ricocheted off the post.
From the 70-minute mark to the end of regulation, most of the game was played in CSU defensive zone. The Buffaloes pushed to break the scoreless tie, but were stopped by the cross bar at 80 minutes and a diving Peifer three minutes later.
CU’s nationally ranked offense continued to dominate through the two 10-minute overtime periods, but the Rams weathered the storm before the game ended in a tie, giving the Rams their best result against a ranked opponent in the program’s history. The 0-0 final will go in the record books as a draw, but Ornes believes the result was a statement for this year’s Rams.
“It shows that CSU is here. We are not going to give up. We’re not going to back down. We are here to really push through and take every team one game at a time,“ Ornes said.
The Rams will continue the Colorado Cup on Sunday with a matchup against the University of Denver. The match will be played in Boulder and kicks off at 11 a.m.
Collegian sports reporter Christian Hedrick can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ChristianHCSU.