The 2012 season has been one of ups and downs for the Colorado women’s soccer team. It all came down to one last game against the University of Utah on Friday afternoon at Prentup Field that featured the six seniors who played their last game as CU soccer players.
It was an epic conclusion that epitomized the Buffs entire season that went into a golden goal overtime with a lot of great performances from the seniors but the Buffs were just not quite able to pull off their first Pac-12 home victory.
“Now that we’ve played 11 of them [Pac-12 matches], we were in every one of them,” said head coach Danny Sanchez. “Today was just another case where we had opportunities to win where we sent everyone forward and went for it but it just didn’t happen.”
The six seniors who were honored prior to the match were midfielder Shaye Marshall, defender Quinn Krier, defender Amy Barczuk, forward Erin Bricker, defender Lauren Shaner and goalkeeper Kayla Millar. Marshall, Barczuk and Shaner were in the starting 11 on Friday.
“You don’t really know how to feel,” Sanchez said. “You’re sad because your season is over and your career is over for your seniors and we just quite couldn’t get over the hump, but we laid it all out on the field today and it was just one of those days where a tie was a fair result.”
Early on in the match in the second minute, senior Shaye Marshall was given a senior day gift of a goal, her first of the season. She took a rebound from inside of six yards and finessed the ball past Utah’s goal keeper, freshman Lindsey Luke.
“These four years have gone by so fast and it’s just been an amazing ride,” said Marshall after the match. “It felt great to finally score I feel like I’ve been trying to score all year and it finally came for me.”
A lot of Colorado seniors had their moments on Friday, and Marshall was just one of the many. But the one Buff player that got their real moment to shine was senior goalkeeper Kayla Millar.
In the 34th minute, the Utes were able to equalize off of a corner kick when the ball was cleared just slightly passed the penalty box and Utah’s Katie Taylor was able to hit a shot in between the small gaps of Colorado defenders that hit the post and ricocheted past Annie Brunner right to Utah’s Harley Spier for a wide open, easy goal.
Annie Brunner was hurt on the play, which was a major reason why the goal happened. When Brunner dove towards the first shot she hit her head on the post giving her a mild concussion.
“She [Brunner] is ok, but it was just a situation where we couldn’t put her back in,” Sanchez said.
With Brunner out, it opened the door for senior Kayla Millar to get significant minutes on her senior day. In the 81st minute Millar came up huge by saving two shots from within six yards from her keeping the Buffs in the game going into the closing minutes
“This was definitely my moment,” Millar said. “There was no way I was going to let those in. This was my last senior day and I won’t play in anymore games that are actually important, so there was no way I wasn’t going to give 100 percent for my team. It was really exciting.”
With Millar getting big in the net, the Buffs were able to hold on and force this senior day game to overtime.
In overtime, the Buffs played well creating chances with juniors Hayley Hughes and Anne Stuller bursting past Utah defenders and keeping the ball predominantly in Utah’s half of the field. But this game could not find a winner and the six seniors that played their last game as a Buff on Friday ended their career with a draw.
For a lot of these girls, including captain Amy Barczuk, today was an emotional memory that allowed them to look back on their four years at Colorado playing soccer and everything that has meant to them.
“I’m from Colorado and I’ve grown up watching the Buffs so just to represent the school has meant a lot to me,” Barczuk said. “Sometime we all take for granted putting on the Colorado uniform but just this last year in particular really showed me just how much the program means to me.”
Barczuk plans to play professional soccer now that her collegiate career has ended.
“[Playing professional soccer] is my number one choice,” Barczuk said. “Hopefully that’s the next step for me, but I’ll just take it as it comes and see what happens.”
The CU women’s soccer team ended their season with a final record of 8-8-4, and now for the seniors the game of soccer will change, but with memories like the ones they have created playing for CU. The game is engraved in these women forever no matter what future lies ahead for them.
“The thing is I want [the seniors] to continue to have a passion for the sport,” said Coach Sanchez. “Whether they play, coach, or are a fan of the sport I want them to continue to love the game when they have families and children of their own. They’re all great young ladies that work hard and do the right thing so I have no doubt that they’ll be successful.”
Contact CU Independent Copy Editor Joesph Wirth at Joseph.Wirth@Colorado.edu.