Rams down Falcons, tie with Colorado College

Bailey Bassett and Bailey Shepherd

Taylor Steinke and Kaitlyn Abrams celebrate a goal
Kaitlyn Abrams (11) hugs Taylor Steinke (4) after she scored a go-ahead goal in the Colorado State University women’s soccer game against the United States Air Force Academy March 26. The Rams beat the visiting Falcons 1-0 off of Steinke’s lone goal. (Gregory James | The Collegian)

After a frustrating three-game string of cancelations, Colorado State University’s soccer team was back in action last Friday and Sunday. Taking on the United States Air Force Academy and Colorado College, the Rams would improve their record to 2-1-1 on the season.

In the first game of this weekend series, the Rams welcomed the Falcons to Fort Collins. 

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The first installment of this matchup was initially scheduled for March 14 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It was then reported on CSU’s website that this cancelation, along with the games against Colorado College and the University of Wyoming, were all canceled due to, “COVID-19 complications with the Colorado State soccer program.

The Rams were excited to get back on the field, and it showed in their play. CSU’s midfielders chipped passes behind the Falcons’ backline from the start of the game to the finish, trying to play in forwards Gracie Armstrong and Taylor Steinke which produced a few chances, but nothing that would change the scoreboard.

This game was a defensive test for both sides. Whenever it looked like CSU was creating some attacking momentum, the Air Force defense snuffed it out. However, that’s not to say that the Falcons weren’t tested. Air Force’s goalkeeper Cammi Bych made seven saves on the game, denying efforts from Armstrong, Steinke and Kristen Noonan who combined for eight shots on goal.

Air Force found chances a little harder to come by and only registered four shots on goal, none of which got past Rams keeper Amelia Hammerle.

The defensive battle persisted for a huge portion of the game, and it was beginning to look like this one was destined for overtime. However, those who count out the possibility of the Rams finding a way to score are often proven wrong, and this situation was no different. 

With 79 minutes passed, the Rams found themselves in the Falcons’ half. They drove forward and Steinke picked the ball up on the edge of the 18-yard box. The angle was tight, but Steinke, with an impressive piece of skill, was able to wrap her foot around the shot and bend it past the Falcons’ keeper and into the far post to give the Rams the 1-0 victory. 


CSU’s win streak came to a close, but the Rams still came away satisfied, as they finished off the weekend slate with a 1-1 tie against Colorado College. An absolute thriller, the game went to two overtime periods but neither team was able to kick in the go-ahead goal.

Still, a tie wasn’t viewed as the worst thing in the world. Colorado College is the second-ranked team in the Mountain West Conference’s Mountain Division, and CSU has never beaten the Tigers.

“We were talking about how we have never beat them so a tie is good,” Armstrong said in a post-game interview. “However, we had so many chances that it would have been great to win.”

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Armstrong scored the sole goal for CSU. After trailing 1-0 at halftime, Armstrong nailed an impressive David Beckham-like goal off a corner kick that curved into the net while sailing over the outstretched arms of Colorado College’s goalkeeper.

Armstrong joked that her shot wasn’t fully intentional and was more intended as a centering pass. It was still an impressive feat that demonstrated how much of a knack for scoring Armstrong has. Head coach Bill Hempen is relying on Armstrong to be the star who runs the show, especially on the offensive side of things.

Armstrong is stepping into her leadership role quite nicely. She leads the team with three goals and six points on the season.

The Rams will stay in Fort Collins for the next game and take the University of Wyoming on April 3.

Bailey Bassett and Bailey Shepherd can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @baileybassett_ and @B_Sheps.