Epic comeback falls short for CSU women’s soccer

Chad Deutschman

The Rams’ first Mountain West road trip ended in heartbreak.

Colorado State (3-8-2, 0-3-1 MW) women’s soccer gave Air Force Academy (4-7-1, 2-1-1 MW) a scare with a fiery comeback attempt Sunday, but ultimately fell 3-2 in overtime. The match marks the Rams’ third straight Mountain West loss, and the second straight in overtime.

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CSU and AFA battled back-and-forth in a game filled with highs and lows for both teams. 

With the first half getting ready to end scoreless, the Falcons were able to capitalize on a flurry of chances. Lizzy Denton scored her first goal of the season on a shot from the right side of the box that found its way to the bottom left corner of the net, putting the Falcons up 1-0.

The Falcons weren’t done. Angela Karamanos added to the lead just before half with a useful left-footed boot into the top left corner, giving AFA a 2-0 lead heading into the break.  

Despite giving up the two late goals, CSU keeper Jesse McGinley looked strong again for the Rams in the first half, tallying five saves. McGinley tied a career-high 10 saves in the game.

The second half was a pile of missed chances by both teams. Just when it looked like the Falcons would hang on for the win, CSU freshman Hannah Gerdin gave the Rams a fighting chance.

In the 85th minute, Gerdin started the unlikely comeback when she beat the Falcons keeper one-on-one sending the ball into the bottom left corner of the net. Taylor Nelson assisted the goal.

The Rams go on to lose 2-1. Not so fast. The Rams weren’t done yet. In the 88th minute Gerdin finished a ball played into the box by teammate Maddi Rodriguez, sending it into the top right corner, pushing the game into overtime tied 2-2.

“The effort, and that heart is what we are,” CSU coach Bill Hempen said. “Two-nil is hard to come back from. Getting one is hard enough, but getting two back, that’s pretty good for our team. Its good to see that resiliency is part of our DNA.”

Gerdin’s two goals put her total at 4 on the season, and her team-leading 9 points are a CSU freshman record.

Overtime would last longer than 20 seconds this time, but the end result was the same. The Rams couldn’t cap off the comeback, and fell in the 107th minute. Ally Swift scored her sixth goal of the year for the Falcons off of a header to the left side of the net, giving Air Force the 3-2 win.

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This one will sting for the Rams, but on the other hand, Colorado State showed some toughness which it can build upon moving forwards.

“(The players) are hurt. They hurt. I hurt,” Hempen said. “But you know what? I think its supposed to be a sunny day tomorrow, so we will wake up and go back to the work room. … We are starting to take stretches of games and make them ours, and that’s a great building block.”

Things don’t get any easier for Colorado State going forward. The Rams will continue Mountain West play when they travel to take on a tough San Diego State (7-4-0, 3-1-0 MW) team Friday. The Rams will be at home Sunday, Oct. 11 to take on New Mexico (5-5-0, 3-0-0 MW).

Collegian soccer reporter Chad Deutschman can be reached by email at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @ChadDeutschman.