Sept. 15, 2013
By Craig Buchanan
Athletic Media Relations
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Escaping the rain back home, the Colorado State Rams (1-3-1, 0-0 MW) traveled to Falgstaff, Ariz. to take on the undefeated Northern Arizona Lumberjacks (4-0-3, 0-0 Big Sky) where they walked away with a 1-1 tie after 110 minutes of action.
With the tie, the Rams earned their first result against a Division I program in school history
“It was a day of a lot of firsts for us,” Head Coach Bill Hempen said. “We played in our first overtime game. We were playing at 7,000 feet and our girls played normal soccer; they played their hearts out. I’m really excited for our girls. The effort today was as good as it has ever been.”
Colorado State started the match looking like the better team, controlling possession and dictating pace on the field. The Rams were rewarded for their early effort with a goal in the 20th minute.
After placing early pressure on the Lumberjacks, junior Erika Bratschun sent a beautiful through ball behind the NAU defense right to the feet of freshman Amy Eckert who placed the ball into the back of the net. The goal was the first of Eckert’s young career, who also played a career-high 110 minutes.
Added Hempen: “Amy is a defensive midfielder. For her to get behind the defense and put on in is awesome. If she can do that and we can play like that as a team, we’re going to cause other teams some problems. It was one of the best games I’ve seen her play.”
From there, the Rams continued its stellar play and went into the intermission up 1-0.
In the second half however, the Lumberjacks came out with a renewed energy and started to put more pressure on the Rams’ defense.
NAU looked extremely dangerous in the 74th minute when a bouncing ball in the box found its way behind freshman goalkeeper Elena Eidson. That’s when junior defender, and team captain, Megan Speed cleared the ball off the goal line to preserve the 1-0 lead for the Rams.
The Lumberjacks were persistent with their attack though, as eight minutes later Haley Wingender was able to put away the equalizer. Sarah Tarver sent a ball across the box to Wingender who was able to get a foot on the ball and hit it off the right post and into the back of the net.
After 90 minutes of regulation, the teams were still all squared away and went into overtime to see if one team would emerge a winner.
Though there were plenty of opportunities for both teams, neither team was able to score in either of the 10 minute overtime periods and had to settle for a tie.
“We rebounded after the goal and had some chances in overtime as both teams were playing to win,” Hempen said. “We played like we knew each other a bit better today. That’s all you can ask for.”
Statistically both teams played evenly, registering five shots on goal and two corner kicks each. Eight separate Rams played all 110 minutes while two Lumberjack players went the distance for NAU.
Colorado State will again play on the road, as the team travels to Fargo, N.D. To take on North Dakota State and Southern Illinois University Evansville in the Doublewood Inn Classic. The Rams will kickoff against North Dakota State on Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. MT.