CSU soccer finds the goal they were missing against SMU

Adam Williams

Colorado State soccer wrapped up their non-conference schedule with a win against Southern Methodist University on Sunday, 1-0. 

Coming into the match, SMU had only lost one game this season. The confidence SMU had was prevalent early and often. The Mustangs opened the game with a near five-minute stint in the offensive zone that put the Rams in a defensive position immediately.

Ad

SMU continued the trend of long possessions for nearly the entire half, but despite their six shots, the Mustangs did not get a ball past CSU redshirt junior goalkeeper, Hunter Peifer.

In the 33rd minute, the Rams finally generated some offensive pressure when sophomore Ally Murphy-Pauletto drove the ball up the sideline and got off a good shot. Seconds later, the Rams went on to follow the shot seconds later with a corner kick attempt that was headed wide of the net.

Following the miss, freshman Ariell Hopkins was able to get off a shot that was once again corralled by SMU senior goalkeeper, Catie Brown.

At halftime, the game was tied at zero apiece, despite SMU dominating in shots and time in the offensive zone. The Rams were still searching for the goal that would change the pace and finally get their momentum going again.

In the 72nd minute, sophomore Ally Murphy-Pauletto and junior Caeley Lordemann were running through the offensive zone. Lordemann passed the ball to Murphy-Pauletto who slotted an excellent pass right back but the attempt was thwarted by an SMU defender.

“It was a great ball. They had to defend it,” Coach Bill Hempen said.

Only a minute later, senior Beth Plentl was able to capitalize on a penalty kick for the Rams by beating SMU freshman goalkeeper, Samantha Estrada. The Rams had finally found the tiebreaker they had been searching for.

“It was all Caeley Lordemann,” Pletl said. “She did all the work. She fought for us. It was given to me on a silver plate and I knew I had to finish it.”

Following the goal, the Rams continued to apply pressure.

In the 84th minute, the Rams had their best chance of the day to score a goal with the assistance of a penalty. Sophomore Taylor Steinke headed the ball just over the crossbar. The excitement and let down could be heard from Ram fans and players alike, as Coach Hempen fell to his knees in disbelief.

Ad

In the final minutes, SMU put on immense pressure, allowing them to accrue three opportunities set up from corner kicks.

The first opportunity culminated in a shot by SMU freshman Brooke Golict that was blocked by a Ram defender. Freshman Celiana Torres followed the ball and shot off the rebound, but Peifer was there to stop the ball, as she has been for much of the year. 

The next corner kick created another chance for Torres, but again Peifer was able to dive and block the shot.

Despite SMU’s last-ditch effort to score, the Rams were able to emerge victoriously. The win marked the best single-season non-conference finish in the program’s history.

“A lot of it with us is just believing in ourselves. That belief went a long way today,” Hempen said.

Peifer, the leader in the net for the Rams this year, added on to the team’s positive outlook for the rest of the season.  

“In the moments that could break us, we really picked it up,” Peifer said. “We played really well, and we were really proud of our performance.”

The Rams will look to build on their win heading into conference play beginning with their matchup on Sept. 21 in Albuquerque, New Mexico where they will play the University of New Mexico Lobos (4-3).

Adam Williams can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @AdamJ__Williams.