November 2, 2023 | SPORTS | By Charley Sutherland
The Colorado College Division I Women’s Soccer team took on the Air Force Academy Falcons on Oct. 26 at Weidner Field in downtown Colorado Springs, Colo. The teams battled for the City of Champions Cup and an overall dominance in collegiate women’s soccer in the Olympic City.
The game ended in a 0-0 draw.
But Tigers Head Coach Keri Sanchez seemed happy with the team’s execution during a day-after phone call.
“I was proud of our performance, we did a good job of coming in with a good attitude. [We] came out playing tough, and got our first shutout of the season,” Sanchez said.
As the sun set over a warm, sunny Colorado Springs fall day, the Tigers and Falcons kicked off. The Falcons dominated time of possession in the early stages of the matchup, but, the Tigers played strong defense and launched potent, albeit short-lived counterattacks.
Ten minutes in, Shalom Prince ’24 poked the ball away from the Air Force goalkeeper and headed the ball into the back of the net. But the referees called the play back and ruled Prince offside.
The weather abruptly shifted about a third of the way through the game. The wind picked up from the south. A cold front arrived. With the breeze came a faint whiff of cattle, a characteristic of rapid weather shifts on the Front Range, oftentimes, snow storms.
No snow fell, but temperatures dropped, and fans fetched hoodies. A smattering of white and brown napkins and nacho plates blew from the stands onto the field.
And as the weather shifted, so did the momentum in the Tigers’ favor. Perhaps it was the now strong south breeze at their back, perhaps a shift in strategy.
Air Force successfully defended a Colorado College corner kick at minute 40 and went on a strong run to close out the half. Two minutes later, Air Force’s Addie Doyle made an unabated run at the Tiger goal.
Doyle collided with Tiger goalkeeper Regan Wallace ’27, who prevented what felt like a near-certain Air Force goal.
It was the first of many impressive saves from Wallace throughout the rest of the game.
“That was her best overall performance this season,” Sanchez said of Wallace’s performance.
Wallace was shaken up, but remained in the game, after briefly receiving attention from the Colorado College athletic training team.
In the second half, the Falcons played with the wind at their back, both literally and figuratively in terms of their momentum. Air Force seemed to dominate the ball, but the Tigers’ defense still held strong.
In minute 71, the Tiger defense cleared a ball dangerously bouncing near the net. Again, a few minutes later, Wallace backed into her own net and punched an Air Force attempt heavenward. Ten minutes after that, Wallace dove to her right to deflect Air Force senior Cassi Bych’s shot.
Sanchez was happy with her team’s defensive performance. “It was a collective effort, we did a good job of covering for one another,” Sanchez said.
The Tigers failed to convert on two corner kick chances in the game’s final moments.
Air Force retained the City for Champions Cup having won last year’s showdown.
Women’s Soccer closes out the season with a 3-13-2 record.
“It was a disappointing season overall, [but] we see the potential this group has,” Sanchez said.