Contact CU Independent Head Sports Editor Justin Guerriero at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @TheHungry_Hippo.
Last year, the University of Colorado women’s soccer team finished the season with a 7-10-3 overall record. The Buffs went 1-7-1 away from Boulder and managed their lone Pac-12 Conference victory with a 2-1 double overtime win against the University of California.
The win against Cal would turn out to be the Buffs’ final triumph of the season. Colorado failed to win another game in the final five weeks.
As of right now in the current season, the Buffs sit at 3-3, which is a bit misleading. The team recently suffered an unfortunate three-game string of losses which all came by one goal.
This season, Colorado appears to have a solid chance of improving, thanks in part to its scoring leader, freshman midfielder Taylor Kornieck. The 6’1” midfielder from Henderson, Nevada, has been igniting the Buffs’ offense. With eight total points through six games — three of which are goals — Kornieck is giving CU an offensive spark early in the season.
“I feel like I’m just really composed in the attack,” Kornieck said. “Sometimes we get in situations where we’re going to be playing really good competition and you just need to finish those chances, and you can’t just throw them away. I just find the net pretty well.”
Kornieck is spot-on about the chances that the Buffs are getting so far. As a collective offensive unit, the Buffs are besting opponents in the total shots and shots per game departments by about a two-to-one margin.
“I just feel like we’re all connecting really well together,” Kornieck said. “I can contribute with my height because [teammates] can just find me and I just flick it on. We create good chances from that.”
Last season, the Buffs managed just 13.7 shots on goal per game, which has improved to 20.2 per game so far this year.
The increased shots on goal played a key role in the Buffs’ 5-0 rout of the Drexel Dragons in Boulder last Sunday. Colorado out-shot the opposition 19-2 in the first half, and 26-7 total. This win helped put the three-game losing streak in the past.
“[The win] was really important because no one really wants a losing streak, and just to break that gives us a lot of confidence going into the season,” said Kornieck, who scored two goals in the contest. “Beating them that bad was a big confidence boost for us.”
But offense isn’t the only strong suit of this 2016 Buffs squad. Goaltending has been solid so far, as redshirt freshman goalie Jalen Tompkins and sophomore goaltender Scout Watson have combined for a 1.00 average of goals against, compared to a 1.35 GAA last season.
As the season progresses and critical Pac-12 match-ups get closer, Kornieck and company understand that close losses aren’t an option.
“We just need to keep the ball,” she said. “If you’re just giving away simple balls then [opposing teams are] just going to punish us because there’s a lot of really good teams in the Pac-12. We just need to stay composed and finish all of our chances.”
The Buffs’ next chance for another tally in the win column will be against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors in Boulder this Friday at 4:30 p.m. MST at Prentup Field.