CSU soccer plays to a split weekend once again on their home field

Adam Williams

Colorado State Soccer continued their long stretch of home games last weekend with matches against Eastern Washington and Grand Canyon University.

In the Rams opening match, Eastern Washington kicked off the game with an aggressive stint in the CSU zone. After the aggressive start, the Rams gained control of the ball in the Eastern Washington zone and set up senior Hannah Gerdin for a shot at the net that went high and wide. The entire game served as a series of possessions in the offensive zone for each team with neither dominating offensive possession for more than seven minutes.

Ad

In the 21st minute, Eastern Washington threw the ball into play and created pressure on the CSU defense. Eastern Washington’s Emma Vanderhyden shot first but was denied by CSU goalkeeper freshman Gabbi McDonald but the rebound came right to Brittany Delridge for an easy goal as McDonald’s save put her out of position.

The game continued on with both teams having chances but a failure to convert them.

In the 72nd minute, Eastern Washington’s goalkeeper Kelsee Winston took away one of the Rams best chances when she came out of the net, jumped in the air, went body to body with CSU’s sophomore Taylor Steinke and caught the ball. If she did not get there, Steinke was set up for an easy tap-in goal. 

Not finishing chances was a troubling trend for the Rams against Eastern Washington as they finished with 14 shots, five of which required saves.

As CSU was searching for momentum to build off of, coach Hempen went with a unique tactic by pulling CSU goalkeeper McDonald and inserting sophomore Karli Eheart. Hempen instructed his team that no one was going to be in net, a maneuver similar to pulling the goalie in hockey.

The maneuver allowed the Rams to put on the pressure that generated chances for Lauren Jones and Caeley Lordemann. But, the Rams could not find the back of the net.

“We haven’t scored a goal, and what’s the difference if you lose by one, two, three or four if you’re trying to get one. That was it,” Hempen said. “It was probably silly, and we hadn’t practiced it, but we did put some pressure on.”

In the 83rd minute, Eastern Washington’s Brooke Dunbar took advantage of the empty net and scored Eastern Washington’s second goal of the game, sealing the Rams’ fate. 

“I thought we were playing well, really well,” Hempen said. “We couldn’t find a goal and we gave up a corner kick and it bounced the right way for them. The only thing you could possibly change is finding the back of the net.”

In the second game of the weekend, the Rams looked to rebound against Grand Canyon University.

Ad

The Rams came out against GCU with a highly aggressive offensive attack, putting pressure on and allowing GCU to have minimal time in the offensive zone.

In the 11th minute, sophomore Ally Murphy-Pauletto drove hard towards the GCU net. The pressure CSU had been applying seemed to be close to paying dividends until Murphy-Pauletto was cut down by a GCU defender, resulting in a foul. The foul led to the only goal of the match on a CSU penalty kick goal by Lordemann.

Lordemann lined the ball up, firing the shot left of diving GCU goalkeeper Abby Burton for her second goal of the season. Finally, the Rams put the ball in the back of the net.

“She stepped up and buried it, knowing how much the goal is a premium. That’s a lot of pressure right there,” Hempen said.    

The goal only counted for a single tally on the board, but the sentiment of finally getting a goal lifted the team.

“I take all the credit on the stat sheet but honestly, all the work goes to AP (Murphy-Pauletto). If she doesn’t take that girl on, and drive at her, we don’t get that PK, and we don’t score a goal,” Lordemann said.

After the goal, CSU’s strong defense went to work. GCU put forth a renewed effort in the offensive zone but could not get anything past McDonald who started her second consecutive game in place of injured goalkeeper senior Hunter Peifer.

McDonald was helped by her teammates who only allowed GCU to take 12 shots with only 5 of those requiring McDonald to make a save.

In the 83rd minute, McDonald made one of the more aggressive plays on the ball as GCU forward McKenzie Cooks drove hard to the net. The freshman charged out of the net to meet her and made a great catch save to ward off the GCU attack.

“There were two moments that we broke down and had a fast break where I had to make a save, but that happens when I have had a defense that has saved me so many times,” McDonald said.

The Rams next matchup will come against Gonzaga on Thursday, Sept. 13 at home once again. 

Collegian sports reporter Adam Williams can be reach at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @AdamJ__Williams.