Aztecs stunned by underdog Colorado College in 3-0 defeat

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Tania Gallardo Avalos

Senior defender Malia Kaleiohi (6) chases down Boise State sophomore Mia Burns (9) during their match on Oct. 1.

by Davis Ramage, Staff Writer

The San Diego State Aztecs (7-10-1, 5-4-1 Mountain West Conference) suffered a crushing loss to the Colorado College Tigers (4-10-3, 3-4-3 MWC) 3-0 behind a seemingly flawless performance by the Tigers. 

The Aztecs started the game in control of the pace with a flurry of through ball chances that were inches away from giving them an early lead in a game with huge MWC tournament implications. These chances would lead to three shots on goal in the first fifteen minutes, although none of them hit the back of the net. Two were by senior defender Lauren Dicus and one came from freshman midfielder Hope Paredes. 

“We’re creating enough chances, it’s just about those little details in the final moments,”  assistant coach Cole Schmit said on how to capitalize on these chances. 

Sophomore forward Emma Gaines-Ramos was one of the only bright spots for the Aztecs as she carved up the left side of the Tiger defense creating promising opportunities with her pace and aggression. 

Gaines-Ramos attributes this success to “our team switching the ball and being able to isolate the weak side striker, so that opens up a lot of space for me to go at the player.”

Although the Aztecs created a few favorable opportunities early, the Tigers struck first in the 25th minute off senior defender Camille Weaver’s finish. The initial cross into the box was punched away by Aztec sophomore goalkeeper Cameron Illingworth, but it fell right at Weaver’s feet, and she put it away to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. This goal was visibly a boost of confidence for the Tigers who — statistically — were the worst scoring offense in the MWC coming into the game. 

The confident Tigers would strike again eleven minutes later when freshman midfielder Kaelin Enga deflected a set piece from senior forward Abby Hubbard that snuck past Illingworth to put the Aztecs in a 2-0 hole. There was nothing Illingworth could do to keep it from going in, and this would not be the last time Illingworth had no chance to save a goal. 

In the 51st minute, Colorado College’s senior forward Kiley Suter loaded up from 25 yards out and somehow placed a shot perfectly in the top right corner past the outstretched arms of Illingworth, deflating the Aztecs’ hope of coming back in this game. Aztec fans audibly gasped at the brilliance of Suter’s shot, which was worthy of a SportsCenter Top 10 nominee.  

That final shot proved to be the dagger. Aztec freshman phenom forward Denise Castro was subbed on and gave the Aztec fans something to cheer about as she showed promise on the attack, but nothing came from it. 

The Tigers held on to their 3-0 lead with their physical defense. The Aztecs still struggled to find the back of the net and although effective, fans did not take a liking to such physicality. 

“Today was one of those games where heavy legs got to us a little bit, and we haven’t been fantastic on Sundays,” Schmit said.

Everything seemed to go wrong for the Aztecs, but they are hoping to put this game behind them with a must-win game against New Mexico coming up. 

“I think all of us really really want it, we have a lot on the line, so I think our grit and all the passion is really going to come out,” senior midfielder Laura Fuentes said. 

The Aztecs will be fired up for one of the biggest games of the year against New Mexico on Thursday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. at the Aztec Sports Deck.