Freshman Ally Murphy-Pauletto and her three goals led the Colorado State women’s soccer team to a 5-1 victory over New Mexico State on Friday afternoon at the CSU Soccer Field.
In the week leading up to the matchup with New Mexico Sate, CSU coach Bill Hempen said he was glad to play new opponents like NMSU because that meant his team could make history. In the first ever matchup between the two programs, the Rams not only made history as a team, but individually as well.
Murphy-Pauletto’s three-goal performance is the first hat trick in the program’s five-year history and the five goals scored as a team are the most in a single game for the Rams. Friday’s win is also the first of the 2017 season for CSU and the first at the new CSU Soccer Field, located on the west side of campus.
The Rams’ historic afternoon began in the 37th minute when Murphy-Pauletto sent a shot past NMSU goaltender Ashley Martin. The tally was the first of the Boulder native’s career.
The Rams took the 1-0 lead into halftime, but NMSU’s Aileen Galicia tallied her third goal of the season less than a minute into the second half. For a team that was struggling offensively, NMSU’s game tying goal could have killed CSU’s momentum, but the Rams remained resilient.
“We have been talking about keeping our energy up and being positive no matter what,” Murphy-Pauletto said in a statement following the game. “One of our core values is resilience and the energy from the team flows through everyone.”
Murphy-Pauletto and the Rams’ resilience following NMSU’s goal paid off. On a turnover from about 18 yards out, the freshman netted her second goal of the game in the 51st minute.
“For this team to react the way they did is a big step in our development as a program,” Hempen said in a release. “Once they composed themselves – and instead of looking away – they looked at each other and said we have to get this one back. They did.”
Murphy-Pauletto’s second goal restored the Rams’ one goal lead, but CSU was only getting started offensively. In the 75th minute, sophomore midfielder Alex Lanning scored her first goal of the season on a shot assisted by Lexi Swanson and Janelle Stone.
In the 88th minute, Murphy-Pauletto notched her hat trick on a crossing pass from Alyssa Yoshida. It was not Murphy-Pauletto’s first ever hat trick, but perhaps the most significant.
“I’m pretty excited. I’ve done it a few times in club (scored a hat trick), but never like that, in an atmosphere like this, with my whole team right there,” Murphy-Pauletto said.
Crossing passes, like the one Murphy-Pauletto scored on, have been a strong area for the Rams this season according to coach Hempen.
“We have left-footed service, quality left-footed service, so we might as well take advantage of it,” Hempen said.
“One of the things in the women’s game that is a challenge for goalkeepers is high balls in the box. I tell our kids that – until the opposing goalkeeper can show us that she can defend that – I tell them to keep putting them under fire.”
The Rams’ offensive onslaught concluded with a Mackenzie Taylor penalty kick goal in the 89th minute. Throughout the afternoon, the Rams racked up 11 shots on goal and 22 shots in total. Murphy-Pauletto led the way with three goals on six shots.
“She is going to get every opportunity, and you can clearly see how hard she works. She is relentless,” Hempen said. “Sooner or later it gets old for defenders, and they did not have an answer for her today.”
Murphy-Pauletto and the Rams are back in action this Sunday (Sept. 3) for a 1 p.m. kickoff against New Hampshire at the CSU Soccer Field.
Collegian sports reporter Christian Hedrick can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @ChristianHCSU.