CSU soccer earns a 1-1 draw against Northern Arizona

After leading for more than 80 minutes on Sunday, the CSU women’s soccer team gave up a late goal and ended up in a 1-1 draw with an undefeated  Northern Arizona team. The tie was the Rams’ first matchup with a Division I team this year that didn’t result in a defeat. Although the Rams were frustrated with giving up the late goal, a tie was a big step forward for this young squad. “Obviously winning is the result you want, but tying on the road against a good team is a big step for us,” Head Coach Bill Hempen said. Freshman midfielder Amy Eckert tapped in a goal off of an assist by sophomore forward Erika Bratschun in the 13th minute to put the Rams up 1-0. Eckert, last year’s Colorado 4A player of the year, had not yet attempted a shot this season but nailed her first collegiate goal past NAU goalie Sam DeMarco.

“It was great, the goalie came out and I saw the left side open. Erika made a great pass and I just put it in,” Eckert said.

The Rams and Lumberjacks battled in another physical match, with each team picking up multiple fouls and two Northern Arizona players leaving the field due to injuries. In the first half, CSU played an energetic, attacking style that led to a 3-2 shots on goal advantage for the Rams.

Northern Arizona head coach Andre Luciano wasn’t pleased with his team’s effort coming off of a less than impressive 1-0 win Friday night against Grand Canyon. The Lumberjacks came out in the second half with a renewed sense of energy after receiving an earful from their coach.

“Maybe the talk at halftime got them going, but Colorado State came out with a lot of energy and we needed to match it. I’m not happy with a tie, but we’ll take it.” Luciano said.

Both teams battled back and forth, alternating defensive stands and counter attacks until NAU forward Haley Wingender slipped a goal past CSU goalkeeper Elena Eidson in the 83rd minute. As both teams played deeper in regulation and into double overtime, fatigue began to decrease attacking runs for both squads.

“It may have been a small factor, but we’ve trained hard and we were prepared to play into double overtime.” Eidson said.

The Rams next travel to North Dakota on Thursday to play games against North Dakota State and Southern Illinois-Evansville. Although the Rams narrowly fell short of their first win against a Division I opponent, they hope to take the momentum of this match into North Dakota next weekend.

“Now we know we can play with good teams, we’re going to bring that confidence into the matches next week.” Eidson said.

 Women’s Soccer Beat Reporter Keegan Pope can be reached at sports@collegian.com. Follow him on Twitter @KPopeCollegian.