At women’s soccer practice this week at Prentup Field, there was an air of disappointment.
After a disappointing showing at the DU invitational, the Colorado women’s soccer team set their sights on a chance to change their fortune at the Gonzaga University Tournament.
“I’d like to not lose,” said CU women’s soccer head coach Bill Hempen. “If we win one, great, if we win two, that would be fantastic.”
After starting out their season 2-0, Colorado has slumped to 2-2 after losing to Denver University and UNLV.
The entire team recognizes that defensive struggles were the main reason they have been losing.
“We need to start talking and communicating with each other,” said senior defender Kelly Ross. “One (player) goes one way, and one goes the other way. And when we defend like that we get scrambled.”
The Buffs gave up six goals in two games in their most recent tournament.
Coach Hempen was the first to take blame for their defensive falter.
“In the second half, we played with three (defenders),” he said after the 4-2 UNLV defeat. “I probably won’t do that again. Even though we gained a lot of pressure, we gave up a lot of counter-attacking opportunities for them.”
The defensive miscues could also be blamed on the fact that senior Kelly Ross is the only upper-classman defender. Some of the younger CU players admit they are not quite comfortable yet with Hempen’s defense yet.
“We haven’t really gotten used to (CU defense) yet,” said freshman midfielder Hayley Hughes. “Hopefully we’ll figure it all out, and be as strong as we were in the beginning.”
The Buffs will travel to Spokane, Wash. this weekend, where they look to get back to their winning ways.
“We need to be more aggressive,” Ross said. “We need to go out there and hit somebody, and not get shoved off the ball.”
The defense will be looking to Ross’ experience to help them back to form.
“She can tell you where to go and help you out,” Hughes said. “When you’re doing bad, she tells you when you’re wrong. But (it) helps get (us) motivated to win the next ball.“
Traveling to this tournament means higher quality opposition, including soon-to-be Pac-10 opponent Washington State.
Hughes said, however, it is not the opposition they have to worry about.
“We all realize that we didn’t play to our ability,” she said. “As long as we get back to our potential, I think we can’t be stopped.”
The Gonzaga University Tournament starts Friday when the Buffs take on the host Gonzaga Bulldogs at 5 p.m. They will play Washington State at 11 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 12.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Mark McNeillie at Mark.firstname.lastname@example.org.