Oct. 11, 2013
By Craig Buchanan
Athletic Media Relations
RENO, Nev. - After a season full of close calls and heartbreaks, the Colorado State Rams (2-8-2, 1-4-0 MW) finally got the result they were searching for with a historic 1-0 victory over Nevada (4-7-3, 2-3-0 MW) on the road.
The win marks the first time that Colorado State has defeated a Division I opponent, and also gives the brand new program its first win ever in Mountain West play.
"We knew the win was going to come sooner or later, it was just a matter of when," Head Coach Bill Hempen said. "I'm just so happy for the girls. I'm proud of these kids because you keep pushing them and telling them that the reward is going to come, and then it does. That's the great part."
As the team experimented with in the second half of the New Mexico match, Colorado State started the match with players playing in different positions. Normally a defender, junior Jami Vaughn moved up and played forward for the Rams, while junior defender Catherine Ruder played long stretches in the midfield for CSU.
"There is only one way to play, and that's to win," Hempen said. "You have to generate some offense, and whether it is Jami or Catherine or whoever, I don't care. We just needed to generate some pressure on our opponent."
With the new lineup on display, the Rams looked like an energized team. CSU played with great pace and looked dangerous on the attack in the early stages of the match.
As the two teams were still tied at 0-0 with the first half winding down, the Rams found the separation it needed.
In the 38th minute, sophomore midfielder Sasha Pchenitchnikova provided the spark with a great individual effort after a terrific pass from freshman midfielder Amy Eckert. Pchenitchnikova caught the goalie out of position, dribbled around her, and slid the ball into the open net to give Colorado State a 1-0 lead.
"I thought she was going to blast it in," Hempen said. "She beat the keeper and the defense was chasing her, and she rolled it in there. It was incredible, and it was a brilliant pass from Amy."
After a hard-fought 45 minutes, the Rams headed into the intermission with a 1-0 lead, but their work was not done.
In the second half, Nevada played with a greater sense of urgency and looked to push forward more to create more scoring opportunities.
While Colorado State didn't have a shot in the second half, it stayed composed and poured all of its energy into playing great team defense.
The Rams survived a couple of scares late in the second half as the Wolf Pack had two shots hit off the post, but they couldn't find a way to get it past junior goalkeeper Maggie Sherman.
With fifteen minutes left in the match, Hempen made the move to send Vaughn back to her normal spot at center back to help anchor the defense and secure the victory for Colorado State.
"When I talked with Jami at the beginning of the year I told her that she was going to be our center back, but that we might need her to play midfield as well," Hempen said. "To her credit and to everyone's credit, their answer has been that they will play wherever I want them to play and wherever the team needs them. It's pretty special."
CSU will look to continue the momentum from its historic victory as it travels across the state to take on the UNLV Rebels on Sunday. The match is slated to begin at 2 p.m. MT.