Fresno State tops Colorado State women’s soccer with a comeback victory

Sam Lounsberry

The Colorado State women’s soccer team lost its third consecutive match Sunday afternoon as the Fresno State Bulldogs defeated the Rams 4-2, handing them their second loss of their two-game road trip this weekend.

With the loss, the Rams slide to 4-12-0 on the year and 2-6-0 in the Mountain West, falling to 11th place in the conference standings.
With only three matches left for the Rams this season after Sunday, the loss to Fresno State eliminates the possibility of finishing .500 in the conference, which is required for a bid to the postseason Mountain West Tournament.
The Rams started strong in the first half, jumping out to an early two-goal lead over the Bulldogs, but were unable to stop Fresno State’s second half barrage of three unanswered goals to capture the comeback win with a final score of 4-2.
Colorado State played aggressively early, earning three corner kicks in the first 25 minutes, the third of which the Rams converted for a goal.
Junior defender Jessica Stauffer lobbed the kick high to the opposite post, where Catherine Ruder received and controlled the ball before flipping it back to the middle toward defender Megan Speed, who went up with her head and appeared to knock the ball into the back of the net for a 1-0 Rams lead in the 25th minute. The goal was officially scored as a Fresno State own goal, but Speed’s effort on the ball out of the air allowed the score.
The Rams’ attack struck again shortly after when sophomore Amy Eckert sent a ball down the right side to freshman forward Maddi Rodriguez, who beat Fresno State’s goalkeeper one-on-one to kick the ball past the near post for a goal and an early 2-0 lead in the 29th minute.
The Bulldogs ensured the game did not slip away in the first half, though, scoring a goal of their own right away in the 30th minute courtesy of freshman Ashari Hines’ hard strike into the upper corner that CSU goalkeeper Jesse McGinley had no chance to defend.
The Rams nearly added a third goal before the half closed when Rodriguez served up a cross to midfielder Kasey Dietrich in the 37th minute, but Dietrich’s shot was saved.
The half ended with Colorado State holding a 2-1 lead, but the Bulldogs came out ready to score in the second.
In the 63rd minute, it looked like Fresno State evened the score at two when the ball bounced into the net, but the goal was waved off for offsides.
Ten minutes later, though, the Bulldogs notched the official equalizer when Hines drilled another shot into the upper corner of the net from outside the 18-yard box.
In the 82nd minute, Hines stuck again to give the Bulldogs a 3-2 lead with only eight minutes of regulation to play. Prior to her career performance Sunday, Hines had yet to record a goal this season.
The Rams appeared to be poised to send the match into overtime when Jessica Stauffer sent a free kick into the box that was knocked into the net after Fresno State’s goalkeeper mishandled it, but the goal was waved off for obstruction by the officials, keeping the 3-2 Bulldogs lead.
Fresno State cushioned their lead with a fourth goal in the 88th minute off a fast break shot that was sent over McGinley, who came forward to defend the run.
“We are missing the intangibles that create that winning moment consistently,” CSU head coach Bill Hempen said after the game. “We still think we are on the right track.”
Colorado State hits the road for its third-consecutive away match Friday against New Mexico. The Lobos currently sit at fifth in the Mountain West with a 4-2-2 conference record and a 6-5-2 overall record.
“I know our players care deeply so I have no doubt they will be ready to play next week,” Hempen said.
Kickoff between the Rams and Lobos is slated for 7 p.m. Friday. The match will be streamed on the Mountain West Network online.
Collegian Sports Reporter Sam Lounsberry can be reached at sports@collegian.com and on Twitter @samlounz.