Following back-to-back losses to two of the best soccer teams in the country (No. 1 Florida State and No. 6 TCU), the University of Colorado soccer team returned to the familiar confines of Prentup Field on Sunday afternoon eying a bounce-back win against Stony Brook.
Despite a slow start to the game, the Buffs used their height to their advantage as they snapped their losing streak on the back of two second-half header goals to secure a 2-0 win over the Seawolves.
“Second half we played very well, maybe unfortunate not to get a couple more (goals),” said head coach Danny Sanchez. “We talked about wanting to get 20 shots in the game and we got 18. But I thought we were dangerous when we got forward. It is a good win for us, a win that we needed to have.”
Prior to Colorado’s strong second half, the first appeared slow. Although the Buffs controlled the ball for good stretches of the first half, they never settled into a rhythm. On several occasions, passes went just a bit too long and shots didn’t quite find their intended target. As a result, Stony Brook’s junior goalkeeper Emerson Richmond Burke remained relatively untested in the first 45 minutes.
The Buffs’ offense emerged from the break-in better form as their attack started to pound away at a seemingly fatigued Stony Brook squad, from New York state, playing at Boulder’s high altitude.
It only took five minutes into the second half for the Buffs to get their first goal as a ball serviced by senior midfielder Shanade Hopcroft corner kick connected with the head of senior defender Hannah Sharts. While the shot didn’t initially find the net, it glanced hard off of a Stony Brook defender that mistakenly found herself in the goal. After some confusion, the referees upheld that the shot was indeed a goal and the Buffs went up 1-0.
“When we didn’t get a goal in the first half, we knew that we weren’t doing our jobs,” Sharts said. “We knew they traveled from New York so we knew that the altitude was going to be hard for them after all that travel. We made it a point in the second half, in the first 20 minutes, to really go after them hard.”
After Sharts’ goal, CU continued to ramp up the pressure on Stony Brook. In the 59th minute, junior forward Tessa Barton launched a ball towards the upper part of the goal but the shot was blocked by Burke. The deflected ball drifted in the air and dropped in front of a wide-open junior midfielder Allie Palangi, who couldn’t quite tap the ball in for a goal.
Ten minutes later, junior defender Hailey Stodden floated a long-arching crossing pass from the right corner of the field to sophomore forward Shyra James. James then elevated over a Stony Brook defender and headed the ball home to expand the Buffs lead to 2-0. It was the first assist for Stodden as a Buff. Stodden, a Broomfield native, transferred to CU earlier this spring after two seasons at the University of Utah.
“It was a really good individual effort from Hailey Stodden,” Sanchez said. “To keep the ball alive and a cross to Shyra who does what Shyra does, she scores in the box. Maybe we could have gotten more, but maybe we save those goals for when we need them more.”
The Buffs improved to 3-2 and will stay at home on Thursday, Sept. 9, against Cal State Fullerton at 4 p.m. MST.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Matthew Lenneman at firstname.lastname@example.org.