CSU soccer’s conference tournament dreams dashed with 4-1 loss to SJSU

Colton Strickler

When the Colorado State women’s soccer team saw their 2016 schedule back in the spring, they were probably looking forward to some California sunshine in the middle of October.

That was not the case.

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After a rain delay that lasted one hour and 45 minutes, Colorado State (3-11-2, 1-6-1 MW) wrapped up their California road trip with a 4-1 loss to the San Jose State Spartans (8-4-4, 5-2-1 MW).

“We ran up against a very good team today,” Colorado State head coach Bill Hempen said after the game. “The technical speed of San Jose State was eye-opening but our team remained engaged in the fight.”

The play in the first half was mirrored by the weather: Bland. The sun did not come out until the 60th minute and the goals came along just minutes later.

Not only did the Spartans outshoot the Rams 7-1 in the first half, but turned up the heat in the second with all four of their goals coming in pairs.

For the second time in as many games, an opposing freshman netted their first collegiate goal against the Rams. On Sunday it was freshman defender Carlie James who scored the first goal of her career and of the game in the 63rd minute.

Junior forward Dorthe Hoppius added another goal just one minute later to give the Spartans a 2-0 lead.

Shots proved hard to come by for the Rams, who finished the game with only five to San Jose State’s 17.

Despite giving up back-to-back goals in the span of a minute, the Rams were not out by any means.

Sophomore forward Madisann Relph’s first goal of the season came at a good time for the Rams. Relph buried a shot past Spartans goalkeeper Ana Calero in the 71st minute to cut San Jose State’s lead to one.

“Maddie Relph’s goal will help her and us going forward,” Hempen said.

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The Spartans slammed the door on the Rams’ comeback attempt just as quickly as it opened.

Junior midfielder Sabrina Miller put the Spartans up 3-1 in the 77th minute and then put the nail in the Rams’ coffin when she scored once more to put the Spartans up 4-1 with only nine minutes to play.

The Rams’ dream of making their first conference tournament are all but out of reach following losses to Fresno State and San Jose State on Friday and Sunday, respectively.

With their win, the Spartans moved into third place in the Mountain West standings while the Rams remain in sole possession of last place.

Despite the loss, Hempen is proud of how his team has moved through the season so far.

“We really have come a long way,” Hempen said. “Yet we still have a long way to go.”

The Rams have the opportunity to make up some ground with three games remaining in the season and two of those three games will be played at home.

The first of those three will come against the second place San Diego State Aztecs on Friday at 3 p.m. at the Lagoon.

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