CSU soccer falls to MW leaders

After two matches in which the CSU women’s Soccer team scrapped, the Rams were still unable to come up with their first Division I win over the weekend. As frustrating as two losses might be, the Rams can take solace knowing they proved they belonged on the field with arguably the two best teams in the Mountain West. On a weekend where the Rams hosted multiple recruits, CSU’s current team showed that although it isn’t evident in the win-loss column, this program is headed in the right direction.

In Friday night’s match against a San Diego State squad that was the preseason pick to win this year’s conference championship, the Rams were overwhelmed by the Aztecs’ blistering pace that led to a 3-0 halftime lead. All-Mountain West forward Hannah Keane led the onslaught with a goal and an assist, as well as goals from forwards Jensen Skinner and Sophie Metz.

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The Rams kept San Diego State out of the goal in the second half, but the Aztecs’ potent offense had done more than enough in the first thirty minutes to secure the win. CSU struggled to get shots on goal only totaling two for the match, but head coach Bill Hempen is impressed with the progress his first-year squad has made.

“A lot of our victories aren’t going to come from the final score, it’s going to be how much time we possessed the ball, the simple little things like that show me that we’re getting better,” Hempen said.

The Rams returned to the pitch at home Sunday against a New Mexico squad picked second behind San Diego State in the preseason coaches’ poll. The Rams kept New Mexico’s attacks at bay early in the first half but were unable to contain Lobo midfielder Lindsey Guice. The sophomore and Fort Collins native recorded her first career hat trick with goals in the 20th, 26th, and 73rd minutes.

Guice’s first career goal came last week in an overtime win over Fresno State and she kept the momentum going in her homecoming. Goalkeeper Maggie Sherman led the Rams with five saves, but the offense struggled to get good opportunites, recording only one shot on goal. Hempen changed his lineup at halftime moving defender Jami Vaughn into the midfield in hopes of a better offensive flow.

“Instead of having our very best players in the back, I put them right up the middle. It changed things for us and gave us a little spark, but those are kids who haven’t played there a lot,” Hempen said.

In what has been a frustrating season at various times, Hempen is quick to remind his players how far they have come and the amount of progress being made by a first year team.

“At the end of the year we’ll look at film from our first match, and we will be light-years ahead of where we were then. This season isn’t a lost cause by any stretch of the imagination,” he said.

The Rams (1-8-2) travel Friday to Nevada to take on the Wolfpack and will return to the pitch Sunday afternoon against UNLV at 2 p.m.

Women’s soccer Beat Reporter Keegan Pope can be reached at sports@collegian.com.