Home Opener Ends in Scoreless Tie

Home Opener Ends in Scoreless Tie

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Acknowledge the frustration. Its’ there for the Colorado State women’s soccer team and it was very real after a scoreless double-overtime result at Ram Field in the season opener Thursday against South Dakota.
 
The Rams also have to take a hard look at the positives, because building off those are what will help lead them forward and out of the current state which has them 0-1-1 on the young season.
 
“We’re going to watch film on Saturday, and I think they’re going to be a little frustrated, but it’s also a teaching moment. We’re going to teach and get better,” coach Keeley Hagen said. “We’ll teach with film, so were going to teach how we need to make adjustments and how we can be better. I’ve told them from the beginning, it’s not about who we play, it’s about who we are. The frustrating thing is I don’t think we showcased who we were today. As we’re trying to build and progress to get better — and they recognize that – we’ve got to be able to make adjustments when we’re not playing well.
 
“Whenever we find some positive, we’ll highlight that. We’ll use that as a teaching moment.”
 
The Rams had opportunities. They outshot the Coyotes (1-0-1) 17-10 and put more on target (6-3), but the end result was 110 minutes without a goal. On top of that is the extra soccer they’re playing.
 
Thursday marked the third time this season the Rams have played into overtime (once being an exhibition) and the second consecutive outing. In each case, the extra minutes were required due to a lack of finding the net.
 
Sam Studt bent a shot from about 30 yards out, but just not enough. The Rams had back-to-back corner kicks in the 88th minute, each producing moments where the home crowd held their breath, the release turning into a groaning sigh.
 
The best chance came when Kristen Noonan had a one-on-one with USD goalie Emma Harkelroad came out to challenge, just getting enough to defuse the situation.
 
All of those moments are groan inducing.
 
“Especially those moments,” Noonan said. “I think I gave 100 percent, and I don’t think I could have done anything else. I’ve got to look forward to the next game and getting a goal in the next one.”
 
Instead of letting it get in their head, Noonan suggested the antidote is a short memory. That, and continued practice. Besides, Hagen understands the difficulties assigned with finding the back of the net, which is why so much of practice is devoted to the fine art of finishing.
 
“We’re continually working on it in training,” Hagen said. “I’ve said from the beginning it’s hard to score, and that’s what we train it so much. I’m hoping at some point the flood gates are going to open, so we’re going to keep training and pushing to get some goals.
 
“You hope in training it’s just fundamentals. You make your runs, you practice your serves and you get your shots – it’s fundamental. It’s really just as simple as executing the fundamentals to put the ball on the face and make the goalkeeper make the save.”
 
The extra minutes also came about because CSU keeper Amanda Green turned away a few quality chances and had some help from her defense.
 
She came out to stop a Coyote charge, one which resulted in a good look, but defender Kendra Gipson stood on the line and turned the chance away. Green was on her own on a few tough chances, both of which she incorporated all of her 5-foot-11 frame and the resulting wingspan to keep the guests off the board.
 
Both of the high strikes required a full stretch – and one came in the final minute of play — with her getting just enough of the ball to deflect it a tad higher, leading both to deflect off the crossbar and away from danger.
 
“If I’m in the right position, easy-peasy because I’m tall. But sometimes if they get it over my head and I have to make an extension save, it can be a little challenging sometimes,” Green said. “Both of those were, but it works because I’m tall.”
 
A transfer from Arizona State, Green feels she and the defense in front of her are starting to build relationships, and just as important, a trust in each other.
 
Which is what Hagen will employ her team to do moving forward. Work with the system, play like they’re trained and see the results. She will note the good, for sure, such as the team winning the majority of first- and second-touches, especially in the first half. The flip side was she witnessed too many unforced errors, and those will need to be cleaned up.
 
“I feel like were training really hard, and I think we’re definitely making progress every day, baby steps  to where we want to be,” Noonan said. “I’m definitely looking forward to the future in that sense.”
 
So is Hagen. Which means the Rams have to use the emotion from the end of the game for more than just the unsettled feeling, channeling it to a better place they all aspire to reach.

Next: Colorado State will return to action a week from today, Sept. 2nd, with an away contest versus Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colo., under the lights at 7 p.m.

 

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