Spartans strike late to steal victory

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Adversity is an obstacle that every team, player and individual must face. Adversity comes in waves and depending on people’s actions, it can linger for long periods of time.

For the Colorado State women’s soccer team, adversity was the name of the game throughout the Mountain West game. Thursday afternoon was no different, as the adversity was too much to overcome as they fell 1-0 to San Jose State.

“It’s just a disappointing performance today across the board,” the head coach said. Keeley Hagen said. “It’s about challenging players like ‘what are we doing here?'”

The Rams were on the back foot from the start as the Spartans charged. Despite a few corner kicks from Colorado State, headers from taylor bee were non-threatening to the San Jose net on both occasions.

On the other side of the field, the Spartans were the ones putting the most pressure on the Rams goalie Maddie Ogden. She was part of the action for the entire 90 minutes, her second full game of the season while facing 10 shots along the way, including a crucial tip over the bar on a looping shot at the beginning.

“We lead our group to understand that every little game counts,” Hagen said. “They have to compete and fight, and I’m definitely disappointed with our fight today.”

The battle for midfield dominance and possession tilted to San Jose State, who spent much of the game in Colorado State’s half. The Rams were caught staring multiple times, flat-footed and slower to compete for first and second balls.

This led to people chasing each other and colliding with others. A collision between a Spartans player and a midfielder Izzy Wildermuth at the start of the second half forced her out of the game due to an ankle injury. Although his performance was outstanding in midfield just because the ball was there most of the time, it didn’t improve the result.

“Zero (individuals) stood out,” Hagen said. “I told the group that we can’t have an entire group that isn’t performing from an individual point of view. I challenged each of them to see how they can stand up and how they can be better.”

With the loss and the results elsewhere, the chances of Colorado State returning to the Mountain West tournament are dire. He is 1-3-5 with eight points in conference play. Five draws and a single win doesn’t spell success for the Rams, who lost their temper to find the net.

Colorado State has been scoreless for four straight games, its longest streak this season and the longest since a five-game streak that bridged the 2016 and 2017 campaigns. It’s now been three years in a row that the Rams have had at least a three-game scoreless streak. Motivation runs out in a team that can’t find the back of the net, but there is still hope.

“Ultimately it’s a team sport, but there are individuals, and those individuals have to be better,” Hagen said. “Obviously it’s very deflating to allow a goal in the last 45 seconds, but at the same time we have to take a chance and eliminate those fouls that we talk about daily; we don’t see the execution.”

When Colorado State went ahead, they were unlucky on their end. There were several disconnections on the pitch and when they tried to connect they found themselves offside seven times.

The Rams need a big reset. It involves resting, reflecting, and coming back to it in just a few days. To keep any hope alive for the Mountain West tournament, it’s now or never for Colorado State.

“The game is about reacting, adjusting, flipping the switch,” Hagen said. “We have to be resilient; they get another chance to represent Colorado State like we get to represent Colorado State. But today we didn’t represent CSU very well and that’s what is disappointing.”

The Rams will get their chance to represent the Horns once again on Sunday afternoon against the Fresno State Bulldogs. The morning affair kicks off at 1:00 p.m. and can be streamed on EvocaTV and the Mountain West Network.

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