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CSU soccer struggles offensively against Utah in 2nd loss

Junior+Ali+Yoshida+%287%29+prepares+to+pass+the+ball+during+Colorado+State+Universitys+soccer+match+against+University+of+Utah+Sept.+17.+CSU+lost+0-1+via+a+penalty+kick+in+the+76th+minute.%0A
Collegian | Aria Paul
Junior Ali Yoshida (7) prepares to pass the ball during Colorado State University’s soccer match against University of Utah Sept. 17. CSU lost 0-1 via a penalty kick in the 76th minute.

Head coach Keeley Hagen and her Rams soccer squad took on the Utah Utes (3-2-3) Sunday, Sept. 18. Colorado State had their minds on bouncing back against the Utes after losing their first game against Utah Tech Thursday.

In the first half, both teams struggled to generate any sort of offense.

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Utah had control of the ball for the majority of the half and took many shots, although they were unable to get anything past Shayna Ross. Ross highlighted the first 45 minutes with five saves.

The Utes played two different keepers in each half, both finding success against the Rams. Evelyn Vitali, who played in the first half, was a wall against CSU.

At the 18-minute mark, Olivia Fout was able to create a shot on goal but was blocked by Vitali. Shortly after, Avery Vander Ven also found a shot but was blocked as well.

The first half featured a defensive show from both teams. There was a back-and-forth battle for the ball, and the Rams’ defense kept the Utes away from Ross and their goal.

The closest either team got to scoring was at the 36-minute mark. The Utes set up a play perfectly, connecting on a pass and striking the ball toward the right corner of the goal. Ross made an incredible leaping play and batted the ball away from Ram territory.

Utah seemed to have the upper hand in the first half, as the offense did not show up on both sides of the ball in this match. CSU put up seven shots in the first, while Utah put up eight.

“We didn’t take advantage of our opportunities,” Hagen said. “We’re at least still creating those opportunities, which is great.”

The second half was more competitive than the first. Utah’s offense kept coming back down the field, making CSU work on defense. The Rams needed to stay sharp on defense while trying to figure out how to maneuver around Utah’s lockdown defense.

At the 75-minute mark, the game changed drastically. A foul was called on Fout while Utah was in Ram territory. They were rewarded with a penalty kick. Utah’s Katie O’Kane lined up to take the shot ahead of Ross. O’Kane struck the ball to the right, while Ross anticipated her to go left. Utah officially put up the first score late in the match.

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From there, the Rams were able to put up a fight and produce some sort of offense. Mia Casey put pressure on Utah’s defense but was again unable to get anything past the Utes’ keeper.

Coming down to the wire, Utah was able to keep the ball away from the Rams. CSU fought until the end but was unable to find a shot. Utah took the match from CSU, winning 1-0.

The Rams will look to move past the loss and bounce back against Nevada 4 p.m. Thursday. The match against Nevada marks the beginning of conference play.

“It’s a conference now,” Hagen said. “All this nonconference has prepared us for what we’re trying to do, and that’s trying to win the conference. So ultimately, it’s fine-tuning things and fixing things that need to get fixed and just taking momentum and creating our own momentum going into conference.”

Reach Ben Fairly at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @benjaminfairly.

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