Reigning Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week Dörthe Hoppius’ goal in the 92nd minute lifted San Jose State to a 1-0 victory over the Colorado State women’s soccer team at the CSU Soccer Field on Friday evening.
On Wednesday, CSU coach Bill Hempen said defending Hoppius, the Spartans’ leading goal scorer, would be a challenge in Friday’s match. For 90 minutes, the Rams met the challenge by limiting the former U-20 German National Team player to just two shots.
For as well as the Rams defended Hoppius in regulation, it only took two minutes in the overtime frame for her to net her second game-winning goal in as many games.
The Rams are used to deciding games in overtime, as Friday’s match was the seventh game to reach the extra frame this season. However, the conclusion on Friday was unlike any the team has experienced this season.
The game-winning play began on a free kick in the SJSU offensive zone. A Ram defender deflected the ball to Hoppius who tapped it into an open net from about three yards away. San Jose State players rushed off the bench because they thought they had won, but the side judge ruled Hoppius offside to nullify the goal. Before the Spartan subs could get back to the bench for the remainder of overtime, the official overruled the side judge and determined that a CSU player touched the ball before it reached Hoppius, awarding SJSU the victory.
“The linesman put the flag up because the kid (Hoppius) was five yards offside,” Hempen said. “But the ball didn’t come off their player, according to the ref, and I can’t argue that. Kind of a weird ending.”
Before Hoppius’ golden goal, the Rams hadn’t given up a goal in over 200 minutes. In Friday’s match, the Rams limited the Spartans offense to only four shots on goal. Part of the reason SJSU struggled to create chances was the result of another strong performance from the CSU backline.
“Our backline just works really well together,” CSU defender Halley Havlicek said. “We know each other off the field really well and I think that translates on the field. We know it can be dangerous to play with only three in the back, so I think that makes us more cautious and more aware when we’re on the field.”
CSU defenders stifled Spartan scoring chances all afternoon and even produced the Rams’ best offensive opportunity of the match.
In the 63rd minute, Rams defender Makenzi Taylor found a lane just outside the penalty area and blasted a shot to the right hand corner of the net. SJSU goalkeeper Paige Simoneau managed to read the shot and made a leaping two-handed save through the air.
The Rams matched the offensively gifted Spartans in shots through 90 minutes, but still can’t seem to find a break on their opportunities.
“Everybody needs that tipped ball to come to your feet,” Hempen said. “The bounces have not been fortunate for us, but you know what, we’ll keep at it and sooner or later they will.”
The Rams took the Mountain West leading Spartans to the brink on Friday, but couldn’t manage to cash in for a result. Despite the outcome, Hempen is pleased with his team’s performance.
“I thought we played really well,” Hempen said. “We’re in every game, but we just can’t find a way over the hump. I have no issue with effort of our team. Of course, we have to score a goal. All these zeroes are not doing us well, so we need to remedy that.”
The Rams return to the CSU Soccer Field Sunday for a match against Fresno State at 1 p.m.
Collegian sports reporter Christian Hedrick can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @ChristianHCSU.