Buffs win 2-1 in first Big 12 game
CU’s No. 11-ranked soccer team opened up Big 12 conference play on Friday afternoon at Prentup Field with a 2-1 win over the Oklahoma Sooners.
In a game where over a third of Colorado’s starters were freshman, the nerves showed in the first 10 minutes.
“You could see some of the tension, but they gotta get out there sometime,” said Head Coach Bill Hempen. “I don’t think we’ll see those mistakes again.”
Despite maintaining ball possession throughout most of the game’s first half, the Buffs were unable to finish numerous plays because of poorly timed passes and errant shots.
“They gave us plenty of room to move the ball, and as you get closer to the goal, things condense,” Hempen said. “We just couldn’t find that last pass.”
In minute 45, CU’s offense finally struck when junior forward Allison Kidd’s corner kick bent around to the far post of the net and snuck around OU goalkeeper Jennifer Nichols. It appeared at first that Nichols had successfully batted the ball out of the net when the play went on for a few moments, but the side judge ruled the ball had completely crossed the goal line.
Less than 10 minutes into the second half, senior midfielder Allie True delivered her first goal of the season on a ball that rifled past Nichols into the top right corner of the net.
“Nikki (Marshall) gave me a really good cross and then it came right to my foot. I took a touch and placed it right of the goalie,” True said.
The Buffs were not able to celebrate True’s goal for long. Thanks to a free kick by Oklahoma midfielder Lauren Harris, the Sooners cut their deficit in half just 19 seconds following True’s score. The kick by Harris seemed to catch the entire CU defense by surprise, particularly freshman keeper Kara Linder, who got caught 10 yards off the goal line and watched the ball sail over her head and into the net.
“They did a good job of scouting us. They saw the game against BYU when she (Linder) gave up a very similar goal, so if I’m scouting us I try that too,” Hempen said. “We went from 2-0 to 2-1 thirty seconds after we scored, and you can’t do that in Big 12 play.”
Despite the shaky moment in net for Linder, the Buffs were able to maintain offensive pressure on OU throughout the rest of the game. They came very close to putting the Sooners away when freshman forward Nikki Marshall had a shot hit the cross bar.
The efforts of CU’s defense made that goal unnecessary. The stout back line of the Buffs allowed only two shots to reach goal the entire game, one of them was the goal by Harris.
“The girl hit an amazing free kick. Other than that I think we (the defense) did really well,” said senior defender Laura Munnelly.
CU travels to Stillwater, Okla., this weekend for a match up with another conference foe, Oklahoma State. The Buffs are now (6-1-1) on the season.
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