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CSU Soccer Match Notes: Rams Kick Off Season With Rivalry Match

Maddi Rodriguez is one of 18 newcomers on CSU's roster this year.
Aug. 20, 2014

Rams Kickoff Season with Rivalry Match
Colorado State isn't easing into its 2014 campaign. To open up the season, the Rams are traveling down south to Boulder to take on rival Colorado in the first meeting between the two programs. The Buffs made it to the Sweet 16 last year in the NCAA Tournament and are receiving votes in the NSCAA Coaches Poll to begin the season.

The Colorado State Rams embark on the program's second season ever with a schedule featuring some of the premier programs in the sport. On the year, the Rams will play 10 matches at home, eight on the road and one at a neutral site.

Colorado Cup
Friday's match pitting Colorado State against Colorado will also be part of this year's Colorado Cup, a season-long tournament between all six Division I programs in Colorado. This is Colorado State's first year as part of the Colorado Cup, which Head Coach Bill Hempen helped create.

Familiar Foes
Although Colorado State and Colorado have never played against each other, the two programs should be plenty familiar with each other. Colorado State's Head Coach Bill Hempen took over the Colorado program in 2001, and in just his second season Hempen orchestrated the biggest single-season turnaround in CU and Big 12 history. One year later, Hempen continued to take the program to new heights and led them to a conference championship in 2003. Hempen spent 11 seasons at Colorado.

Once Teammates, Now Rivals
With Colorado and Colorado State situated so close together, the two rival schools often are recruiting out of the same areas. In fact, Friday's match features two pairs of former teammates who now find themselves on opposing ends. Colorado State's Amy Eckert and Colorado's Jerman Darcy were both teammates at Cheyenne Mountain High School, while CSU's Kristin Breakell and CU's Nikki Machalek were both teammates at Fairview High School.

Experience At The Back
While Colorado State returns just nine players from last year's team, the 2014 Rams feature plenty of experence at key positions. CSU returns its entire starting defense from last year, including co-captains Megan Speed and Jami Vaughn who each played every possible minute last year. The two defenders were just two of three field players in the entire Mountain West Conference to play every possible minute in the 2013 season. Speed and Vaughn are also flanked on the outside by Jessica Stauffer and Catherine Ruder, who each give the Rams valuable leadership and strong attacking options from the back.

A Win For The Rams Will...
Give Colorado State its first win of the year.
Improve CSU to 2-0-0 all-time in season-openers.
Give Colorado State its first victory over a rival school. Last year, the Rams earned a draw to Northern Colorado and lost to Air Force.
Improve CSU to 1-1-1 all-time against teams from the state of Colorado.
Give CSU its first non-conference win over a Division I opponent in school history.
Head Coach Bill Hempen's career record to 279-200-46. He currently ranks No. 19 among Division I active coaches in all-time wins.

Fresh Faces
Fans can expect to see plenty of fresh faces on the 2014 Rams. The second-year program brings in a total of 18 newcomers, including 11 freshmen and seven transfers. The new additions are expected to give the Rams plenty of competition and depth.

Finding The Net
In its first and only tuneup for the 2014 season, the Rams hosted Colorado Mesa in an exhibition match and came away with an impressive 7-0 victory. While scoring was often a problem for Colorado State during the 2013 season (eight goals), the 2014 Rams look to be a team much more inclined to put pressure on the opposing defenses. In its first offical competion of 2014, the Rams slotted the ball in seven times showcased their improved speed and pace of play. CSU also showcased its ability to find the back of the net from a multitude of different positions. Defender Catherine Ruder charged through the Colorado Mesa defense for the first two goals of the match, while forward Janelle Stone also beat the CMU goalkeeper on two separate occasions.

Jumping On The Opponent Early
Colorado State knows the importance of getting off to a quick start in a match. An early goal can completely tilt the entire momentum of the match. In 2013, the Rams were 2-0-1 when scoring first, which is a trend that the team will try to have happen more often in 2014. On the flip slide, CSU was 0-12-0 last year when conceding the first goal of the match.

The Lagoon - Home of the Rams
Located on the field just east of the Lory Student Center on the Colorado State campus, The Lagoon serves as the Home of Rams Soccer.



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