27 Oct Rams Prepare for Border War
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Although its spot in the Mountain West Championships is secure, the Colorado State soccer team still has plenty to play for Thursday when it takes on Wyoming for the annual Border War in Laramie, Wyo., at the Madrid Sports Complex.
Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. MT following UW’s Senior Day ceremony, which will stir up emotions for the Cowgirls in wanting to play spoiler to the Rams’ vibes going into next week’s conference tournament. The Rams have their sights set not only on obtaining their first-ever win against UW, but also a chance on improving their playoff seeding. The first-round bye is out of reach, but CSU could still jump up to the No. 3 spot with a win plus a Utah State and San Diego State loss or tie. Additionally, the Rams need to stave off six-place UNLV, which has 15 points and can easily move up in the pecking order.
“Wyoming plays a little bit of a different system than what we have seen thus far,” head coach Keeley Hagen said. “Other than making a few adjustments, we will stick to our gameplan in terms of ball possession, winning first and second balls, and continuing to play our style of system. We will keep working on eliminating mistakes that we’ve given up over the course of the season. At this point, it is about fine tuning how we are playing and how can we challenge teams with our style. We want to be aggressive in the boxes and transition quickly. Two things needed for that is work rate and attitude, and my team knows that by now from me.”
Going into the last regular-season game, the Rams (6-6-3, 5-4-1 Mountain West) sit tied for fourth in the MW standings with SDSU at 16 points, but the Aztecs hold the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Cowgirls (7-10-1, 3-7 MW) occupy the last place in the MW, however, were just eliminated from the playoff hunt last weekend.
The advancement to the conference tourney is just the second in program history out of eight tries for the Rams and the second in a row, joining the 2019 team. The conference bypassed the six-team tourney for a championship game earlier this year in the spring 2021 season.
“Every game we learn a lot about ourselves,” Hagen added. “Last weekend, we grew a ton from playing Utah State and Boise State. However, it doesn’t matter who our opponent is as we must focus on ourselves and rely on our training. Anytime you can get three points on the road it is huge, and this is no different. I know this is a big weekend with the rivalry and it being Wyoming’s Senior Day, which will garner a lot of emotion, but for us it is a business trip.”
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Last Time Out
– The results weren’t pretty, but enough for CSU to clinch a spot in the Mountain West Tournament. CSU fell to Utah State, 2-1, but then tied Boise State in a 1-1 rainy affair. Seniors Gracie Armstrong and Kristen Noonan represented the goals.
– Home treated Colorado State well, finishing with a 5-3-1 record. The five wins are tied with the second most (2018) in program history and two behind the program record of seven (2019).
– A program-best five straight wins was obtained in October, which also featured a few “firsts”.
– CSU defeated San Jose State to earn its first road win and first MW win of 2021 on Oct. 3rd.
– After returning to Fort Collins, the Rams beat Colorado College for the first-time ever and earned the season’s first MW home win.
– The cap the streak, CSU outlasted UNLV for the program’s first Senior Day win.
Back-to-Back MW Player of the Weeks
– Kristen Noonan was named Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week on Oct. 18 after her three-goal weekend.
– On Oct. 11th, freshman goalkeeper Shayna Ross was named MW Defensive Player of the Week and Co-Freshman of the Week for two shutouts.
Lineup Shuffle, Done.
– Through 15 games, the Rams have utilized nine different starting lineups. The longest consistent lineup lasted five games. The most common interchangeable substitutions are Liv Layton, Caroline Lucas, Sarah Hogenkamp, Ali Yoshida, and Rachel Hall also spelling some minutes. Only one Ram (Kenady Leighton) has started all 13 games. Page 3 has the breakdown of the starting lineups.
Found a Rhythm
– After starting conference play 0-3 without a goal, CSU has scored 11 goals in the past seven games for a 5-1-1 record in that stretch.
– After a team vote, captains were picked prior to game one and the results were all seniors; Sam Studt, Haylee Blach and Baylee Bedard.
– Studt has started 54 of her 58 career games. Blach has started all 21 career games played at CSU. Bedard has started 34 of 44 games played since arriving in 2018.
– Last weekend, Wyoming was officially eliminated from the Mountain West Tournament after losing at Boise State and Utah State. The Cowgirls will conclude their season at the Madrid Sports Complex where they are 7-3, including a 3-2 slate in conference.
– Statistics-wise in MW games, UW is ninth in shots, but third in goals (14) and tied fourth in points (34). Only six of their goals have assists attached to them. Four of those assists are from Jamie Tatum. Defensively, they have surrendered the most goals (22) in the league.
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