01 Nov Season Ends for Rams in First Round of Mountain West Tournament
BOISE, Id. – One goal was all that was needed Monday early afternoon for the fourth-seeded Utah State Aggies to stave off the fifth-seeded Colorado State Rams in the first round of the Mountain West Soccer Championships at the Boas Soccer Complex.
The Aggies wound up with the only goal of the game, but it was the Rams who were putting majority of the pressure on throughout the game but couldn’t finish with the ball in the net. However, it looked like the Rams had an equalizer in the last few minutes, but a foul in the box was called, which erased the goal. CSU outshot USU 14-8 overall, including a 9-4 second-half barrage, but one of those USU second-half shots were successful. Additionally, CSU had the overwhelming corner kick edge at 13-3 with a dozen in the second 45 minutes.
At half, the game was very much an even affair with the Rams just holding one more shot than the Aggies (5-4) and each team having a breath-holding moment of almost scoring. For CSU, it was in the 15th minute when Gracie Armstrong had a clear shot, but the USU goalkeeper got a glove on it and then an Aggie defender headed it over the cross bar. In the 34th minute, Ram goalkeeper Shayna Ross had a diving punch save off a shot from senior midfielder Ashley Cardozo.
Minutes into the second half, Cardozo got the better end of the deal with Ross as the Aggie broke the scoreless in the 49th minute. The Rams did not go away, and they controlled most of the second half but were unable to capitalize on their chances. One of which was the foul in the box in the final minutes that looked to equalize and be a Kenady Leighton goal, but the referees called it off before any celebration.
The loss concluded CSU’s season at 6-8-3 overall and at the Mountain West Tournament for just the second time in program history. The Rams’ 5-5-1 conference record earned them the fifth seed in the tourney during head coach Keeley Hagen‘s first year. The season came with a flurry of firsts including a program-best five-game win streak, the first-ever win over Colorado College and a first-ever Senior Day victory.
“From an entire game standpoint, I’m really proud of how we played,” head coach Keeley Hagen said. “We knocked the ball and we played really good soccer. It was pretty even in the first half and although we gave up that goal early in the second half, we still maintained possession and got them chasing. We gave ourselves the best chance with corner kick after corner kick. It really felt like we fought and fought and fought. It’s heart breaking to lose the way that we did, but at the same time I’m really proud of their fight. The senior class has laid down the legacy of making the tournament and told the team that this is the expectation and not just to make it but win the first game and raise the bar to win the second and then more to win the Mountain West. That is what we are searching for going forward in the program.”
49′ Ashley Cardozo – Utah State
After the Ram defense failed to clear it, the ball wound up at the foot of Cardozo who with just a few touches sent a shot from just outside the outer box. Cardozo was straight on with the goal and put it above the outstretched gloves of Ram keeper Shayna Ross.
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