The Colorado State women’s soccer team rallied to erase a two goal first half deficit against Kansas State, but Wildcats’ freshman Brookelynn Entz scored in the 95th minute to give the home team a 3-2 victory.
Sunday’s game marked the last non-conference match of the season for CSU and an opportunity for the Rams to get off to the best start in program history with a win or a tie. However, it was the Wildcats who applied the early offensive pressure on their home turf in Manhattan, Kan.
On a corner kick in the 12th minute, KSU sent a threatening shot to the far post, but CSU midfielder Caeley Lordemann was positioned on the goal line and got a foot on the shot to keep the game scoreless.
The Rams went on to stifle KSU on three corner kick opportunities in the first fifteen minutes. Yet, in the 19th minute, KSU forward Hannah Davis volleyed a pass to freshman Maddie Souder who redirected the airborne assist to the upper-right corner of the net from about five yards out.
Countering on the other end of the pitch, CSU defender Janelle Stone nearly combined with Karlie Eheart to even up the score, but Eheart couldn’t get enough on her header to find the back of the net. Stone and the Rams came close on a couple more opportunities in the middle stages of the half but were unable to punch one into the net.
Meanwhile, Souder wasn’t done contributing for the Wildcats. Following a cleared corner kick, Souder sent a pass across the top of the penalty area to a wide-open Katie Cramer. Cramer didn’t wait a second before one-timing the shot past goalie Hunter Piefer and into the CSU net.
Trailing 2-0 in the 35th minute, CSU was granted its first set piece of the game on a free kick in the offensive zone. Defender Makenzi Taylor distributed the kick to Kaija Ornes in a crowded penalty area, but the forward was taken down illegally and the Rams were awarded a penalty kick.
Junior midfielder Bleth Plentl took the shot for the Rams and sent it to the bottom-left corner of the net, just out of reach of the diving Kansas State goaltender for her first goal of the season.
CSU took a one-goal deficit into the half, but knew they could improve for the last 45 minutes.
“We kind of got caught chasing in the first half,” CSU coach Bill Hempen said in a statement. “We started to back off, just enough that they had to get comfortable with the ball.”
The Rams came out of the break looking determined to even up the score. In the first three minutes of the second half, the Rams forced the KSU goaltender to make two saves on three shots, but still could not find the equalizer.
The Rams continued to push the offensive momentum until forward Hannah Gerdin beat out a KSU defender inside the penalty area. Gerdin misfired on her attempt from in close, but the weak shot found Maddi Rodriguez who tapped in the game-tying goal in the 66th minute.
“The equalizer was a great ball by Maddi (Rodriguez), and truly a mature play and finish from her,” Hempen said.
The Rams and Wildcats traded scoring opportunities for the remaining 24 minutes, but the game would have to be decided in overtime. In the fifth minute of the first overtime period, KSU’s Entz displayed a strong individual effort to find space amongst a pair of CSU defenders and hook a shot into the upper-left corner of the net, sending the Wildcats to victory.
Despite the result, Hempen was satisfied with the Rams’ performance on the road against the Wildcats.
“We played really well in the second half and tactically we had the answers,” Hempen said “Their forwards are really good players, and hats off to them for making plays.”
With the loss, the Rams wrapped up the non-conference portion of their schedule with a 2-4-2 record. CSU will be back in action for the start of Mountain West play on Friday at 7 p.m. at Air Force.
Collegian sports reporter Christian Hedrick can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ChristianHCSU.