CSU Rams Fall to UNC Bears 1-0 at Home Opener

The Colorado State Rams women’s soccer team dropped their home opener to the Northern Colorado Bears on Friday afternoon, 1-0.

A busy Friday at Colorado State began with the Rams (1-2-0) hosting the Bears (2-0-1) in the final game of the Colorado Cup. With the win, the Bears passed the University of Colorado to take first place in the tournament. The Rams finished the tournament with three points coming from their win against Denver.

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One of the biggest storylines from the game was coach Bill Hempen’s decision to start true freshman Natalie Dierickx in net. Sydney Hall played all 90 minutes of the team’s win against DU and started against CU before being replaced by Paige Brandt in the second half of that game. This complete game marked Dierickx’s first collegiate action. Hempen’s usage of all three goalkeepers in the first three games reiterates that he is willing to let his players battle for the starting spot.

“We came into the season with three inexperienced goalkeepers,” Hempen said. “We’ll just see what happens as we go. Someone will step up.”

Sophomore Kaija Ornes recognizes that all three goalkeepers have their unique talents, and the team will use them accordingly.

“It totally depends on who steps up to the plate,” Ornes said. “Natalie has a great punt whereas Paige is great with her feet, Syd is fearless. We have different strengths and just have to play to those strengths.”

After an early shot from UNC missed over the crossbar in the opening minutes of the match, both teams settled in defensively. An otherwise quiet first half finished with the Rams best scoring chance of the first 45 minutes. Sophomore Beth Plentl received the ball on the left side of the field and sent a promising cross into the box that just missed the head of senior Shelby Bowden.

Action heated up in the second half as the Rams came out attacking. After an early foul, Ornes missed a free kick just high. This was one of many Rams opportunities that came in the first 20 minutes of the second half. Although none of them were converted, the team can take away plenty of positives.

“We know that we are capable of winning,” Ornes said. “We have the right idea, now we just need to get on the end of it. We’re creating the chances and that’s more than you can ask for.”

The Bears broke the tie in the 61st minute. After Dierickx made the first save of the attack, forward Brooke Braden slid to beat the defender to the ball and put it in the net. This effort is something that drew great admiration from Hempen.

“You have to be a little bit different of a kid to be willing to dive and slide to try and score,” Hempen said. “Scoring goals in a game is a challenge and you have to have a mentality. We have not found that person that’s going to be the one who scores one for us to win 1-0.”

That is not to say that Hempen, and the rest of the Rams, do not believe in their talents.

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“I think we’re better as a group,” Hempen said. “We just have to find a way to win.”

The Rams next chance for a home win comes on Sunday Aug. 28, when they host SIU-Edwardsville at 1 p.m.

Collegian Sports Reporter Colin Barnard can be reached by email at sports@collegian.com