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Rams soccer advances to MW semifinals for 1st time in history

Colorado+State+University+players+celebrate+Olivia+Fout+s+%2818%29+goal+from+outside+of+the+18-yard+box+against+the+United+States+Air+Force+Academy+Oct.+15.
Collegian | Paige Molenkamp
Colorado State University players celebrate Olivia Fout ‘s (18) goal from outside of the 18-yard box against the United States Air Force Academy Oct. 15.

CSU soccer is a team destined to make history, and the Mountain West Newcomer of the Year jump-started that destiny in their third-ever MW tournament. 

Colorado State would go on to win their first tournament game, defeating Fresno State 2-0.

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Prior to the match, it was announced that Olivia Fout had won the newcomer of the year award. Not that it was much of a race, as Fout came in and immediately dominated the competition, leading the conference in goals with 11. 

Fout was tied with Caeley Lordemann for most goals in a season, but a breakaway goal in the 57th minute pushed her over that mark and moved her solely into third place for most goals ever scored in a career as a Ram. Fout is just a sophomore. 

“I didn’t want to think about the record,” Fout said. “My mom just told me after the game (that) you broke the record, and I was like, ‘Oh, I did?’ I hate recognition — it’s not just me, it’s the team.” 

Life can get frustrating when there’s seemingly a brick wall in front of the net. 

For most of the match, Valentina Vivas, the FSU goalkeeper, was lights-out. Racking up nine saves, she helped the Bulldogs survive a barrage of balls from the Rams offense. 

Getting five shots on nets before halftime, the CSU offense looked poised to break through the wall that was Vivas at any moment, but some things like nerves and offsides penalties hurt the Rams’ opportunities.

“I’m not going to lie: This is probably the most nervous I’ve been for a soccer game in a really long time,” Fout said. “But I just had my teammates to lean on. Giving hugs and just being like, ‘Let’s go — we have nothing to lose, let’s just put everything out there, and I know that if we work our tails off, we’re going to get the outcome that we want.’”

It took until the second half for the Rams to break through. In the 49th minute of the game, Sofia Coulombe found Liv Stutzman for the Rams’ first goal of the 2023 Mountain West tournament. 

“I was so happy, I was so excited for her,” Kaitlyn Abrams said. “(The goal) is almost like a little bit of relief, but also let’s do the next one. That’s just the icebreaker.

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While the Rams offense utterly dominated the Bulldogs — getting off 11 shots on goal to FSU’s two — the defense was a big factor in the Rams’ shutout. 

“Anything can happen on any given day,” head coach Keeley Hagen said. “It’s being consistent in who we are; we talked a lot about that. And then, of course, when you get your opportunity, you’ve got to execute, and we talked about that at halftime too.” 

While the Rams took care of business against the Bulldogs, they still have a long way to go in achieving their goal of winning the Mountain West for the first time. Hagen’s message was to celebrate today, but tomorrow, it’s back to business. 

“You want to enjoy it, but at the same time, it’s tournament time,” Hagen said. “We’ll definitely enjoy this today for sure, but it’s all about the mindset — the mentality of what are doing to prepare for the next game rest-wise, recovery-wise — because obviously we’re getting a team that has had a few days off, so we’ll be strategic about that.”

The Rams will prepare to take on the No. 1 seed in the conference, San Diego State. The Rams lost 3-2 in the regular season to the Aztecs. Their match is slated for 2 p.m. kickoff on Wednesday, Nov. 1, in Laramie, Wyoming.

Reach Damon Cook at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @dwcook2001.

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About the Contributor
Damon Cook
Damon Cook, Sports Editor
Damon Cook is the 2023-24 sports editor for the The Collegian and has been at the paper since August 2022. He started doing coverage on volleyball and club sports before moving onto the women's basketball beat. He is in his third year and is completing his degree with a major in journalism and media communication and a minor in sports management. As The Collegian's sports editor, Cook reports on CSU sports and helps manage the sports desk and content throughout the week. After having a year to learn and improve, Cook will now get to be part of a new age under the sports desk. The desk moved on from all but one other person and will now enter into a new era. Damon started school as a construction management major looking to go in a completely different direction than journalism. After taking the year off during the COVID-19 pandemic, he quickly realized that construction wasn't for him. With sports and writing as passions, he finally decided to chase his dreams, with The Collegian helping him achieve that. He is most excited to bring the best and most in-depth sports coverage that The Collegian can provide.

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