The Colorado State women’s soccer team has lit up the scoreboard for a program record 15 goals in 10 games this season. However, defense and goaltending made the difference in Sunday’s 0-0 draw versus Colorado College at Washburn Field in Colorado Springs.
For the second consecutive game, CSU defenders Beth Plentl and Halley Havlicek played the entire 110 minutes to lead the Rams defensively. Havlicek stifled CC scoring chances all afternoon, but her strong day began in the ninth minute when she almost scored on a chance of her own.
On a play that started as a corner kick, the Tigers struggled to clear the defensive zone and turned the ball over to Havlicek. With space just outside the penalty area, Havlicek ripped a shot right beneath the CC crossbar, but Tigers’ goalie Jade Odom jumped to make a two-handed save before it could reach the net.
On the defensive side of the ball, Havlicek and the Rams didn’t allow CC to steer a shot towards net until a harmless attempt in the 23rd minute. Throughout the first half, CC maintained an advantage in possession with their methodical ball movement, but could only get around the CSU defense for one shot on goal.
Ten minutes into the second half, CC had a golden opportunity to break the scoreless tie when Tigers’ leading scorer Lauren Milliet burst into the CSU penalty area. With the CSU defenders focused on Milliet, the forward passed it to a wide-open Catie Mcdonald, but the sophomore couldn’t get a shot through the tight angle.
Many of CSU’s best scoring opportunities in the second half came off of corner kicks, but the Rams weren’t able to find a lane in the busy penalty area to sneak a shot past Odom.
In the 85th minute, Rams’ assists leader Makenzi Taylor showed off her goal scoring ability when she punched a laser towards the CC net from outside the penalty area. Odom, though, once again made a leaping one-handed save to keep the game tied at 0-0.
In the final minute of regulation, CSU was awarded a free kick from long range. The kick made it to the penalty area, but the Rams could not find space in traffic and the game rolled into overtime for the third time in as many matches for CSU.
The two sides exchanged a series of scoring opportunities in overtime, yet the strong goaltending and defensive performances from both the Rams and Tigers carried over from regulation and neither team could net a game-winner. Despite the result, CSU coach Bill Hempen is pleased with his team’s performance in Mountain West opening weekend.
“Like I told our players, we have never gotten a result against Colorado College and we can add that to the list of teams that we have gotten a result against,” Hempen said in statement. “To come out on the road the first weekend of conference and get two points, we’ll take it.”
Sunday’s scoreless draw marks the second shutout for CSU goaltender Hunter Peifer. The redshirt sophomore has been a key factor in the Rams’ first two conference results.
“Hunter has helped raise everything about us as a club,” CSU coach Bill Hempen said in a statement. “Simply, she is stopping the ones we ask her to stop, and occasionally she comes off the line to do something special and make plays for our team.”
The Rams return home for a conference showdown against San Jose State on Friday at 4 p.m. at the CSU Soccer Field.
Collegian sports reporter Christian Hedrick can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @ChristianHCSU.