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CSU soccer ties Air Force 1-1, stay alive in Mountain West race

The Colorado State women’s soccer team capped off an important weekend in the Mountain West on Sunday with a 1-1 tie against Air Force.

Colorado State (3-9-2, 1-4-1 MW) found themselves in overtime for the fourth time this season and the second time in 10 days.

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“This is probably the limit,” Colorado State head coach Bill Hempen said of the number of overtimes his team has been involved in so far. “If we go more I’d be willing to bet that it’s past any limit. We just don’t have that pure goal scorer that hits them in the head and goes in.”

The Rams had the first chance to score when sophomore forward Hannah Gerdin missed a scoring opportunity early when she dribbled into the keeper on a breakaway.

Colorado State found themselves down just moments later as Air Force (6-5-1, 2-3-1 MW) senior forward Ashley Greco put the Falcon’s first shot of the game past junior goalkeeper Paige Brandt to put the Falcons up 1-0.

“It’s frustrating to see how the game seems to have the same script all the time,” Hempen said after the game. “If we have that ball right at the beginning of the game, one-nothing us, and then not long after they get their first chance and they stick it.”

It was truly a tale of two halves for the Rams, who tightened up their defense following the Falcons’ early goal, and as a result went into halftime trailing 1-0.

The Rams looked like a different team in the second half. Despite getting outshot 9-5 in the second half, Colorado State played with the momentum on their side.

Colorado State’s lone goal of the match came in the 72nd minute after junior midfielder Gianna Marconi was undercut by senior defender Meredith Reisinger in the box, setting up a penalty kick.

The penalty would serve as a blow to the Falcons both on the scoreboard and on the field. The Falcons lost Reisinger for the rest of the match after receiving her second yellow card for her role in the play and were forced to finish the game with only 10 players.

Sophomore forward Kaija Ornes would make the most of the opportunity, burying the penalty kick and breathing new life into the Rams in the process.

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“With the penalty kick we had a great ball in, Gianna went up for it and luckily the girl grabbed her,” Ornes said of the penalty kick. “(I) Just tried to settle down and breath, realizing that it’s not that big of a deal and that you’ve done it a million times.”

Despite coming up on the short end of the 17-12 shot count, the Rams were on the right side of the 22-8 foul count. There was no shortage of yellow cards either, with Air Force racking up five to Colorado State’s one.

The Rams come-from-behind effort in Sunday’s game was an important one in terms of the Mountain West standings. In a Mountain West conference that is all over the place with two weeks to play, the point the Rams earned from the tie keeps them in the hunt.

“They know that the goal that they set for themselves is still there,” Hempen said of his team’s morale after the tie. “They are excited that, okay we didn’t win but we got our point, we’re still in it. The conference is all over the place this year.”

When the Rams take the field on Friday they will do so without junior defender Janelle Stone who suffered a meniscus injury in their previous match against Colorado College.

After four games at home, the Rams will be back in action on Friday when they take on San Diego State in San Diego at 1 p.m.

Collegian assistant sports editor Colton Strickler can be reached by email at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @coltonstrickler

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