The University of Colorado women’s soccer team had a victorious week against two visiting opponents: Texas A&M- Commerce and the University of Omaha. The Buffs scored 11 goals in just two games while preserving a shutout in each match. On Thursday, Sept. 1, CU defeated the Lions 6-0. Three days later, on Sept. 4, CU claimed a similar win against the Omaha Mavericks with a final score of 5-0.
Thursday’s match was even for the first 27 minutes until a foul in the box by the Lions gave senior CU forward Civana Kuhlmann a penalty kick which was able to score. The match’s second goal came only one minute before halftime by freshman forward Emerson Layne. Leading 2-0 at the half, the Buffs were confident yet cautious of their slim lead.
The Buffs were quick to lengthen their lead after the break as fifth-year forward Kayleigh Webb received a pass from Kuhlmann and scored another goal just two minutes into the second half. The Buffs scored three more goals to grow their lead to six and keep the Lions scoreless. Although the Lions proceeded to put tight pressure on CU players in the box, the opposing team could not capitalize on their counter-attacks thanks to a disciplined CU defensive line. The Buffs left Thursday’s game with their heads high and ready to face Omaha over the weekend.
CU came out even more aggressive on Sunday against the Omaha Mavericks, scoring four goals in the first half. The Buffs’ defense kept a firm line, resulting in zero shots in the first 45 minutes compared to CU’s six shots on the Omaha goal.
When asked about his plan at halftime, Head Coach Danny Sanchez said he wanted to keep playing at a high tempo while also keeping up good habits.
“Yes, we had the lead at halftime, but we’ve got to stick to what our principles are,” Sanchez said.
After the break, Sanchez was heard encouraging his players to “squeeze” the Omaha defense whenever the ball was on their side, causing the Mavericks’ players to tire quickly in the second half. When the Buffs’ defense had the ball, there was little pressure from the Omaha offense, giving the fullbacks a chance to push forward.
Full-back Holly Hunter won multiple 50-50 balls out of the air and proceeded to take them up the sideline, giving CU’s midfield a chance to get inside the Omaha box. Freshman midfielder Coco Thistle did an excellent job of winning long balls from the Omaha goalie and keeping the play in the offensive half.
As Coach Sanchez began to send in more substitutes, the frequency of shots slightly decreased, but the speed of play remained constant. Senior midfielder Allie Palangi had multiple shots on goal and received impeccable crosses from the outside forwards. Layne remained resilient when the Maverick defense started to get pushy and fought to get her teammates the ball.
The significant lead allowed many players to get playing time in both games, exemplifying CU’s well-rounded roster. Although the Buffs did an impressive job of keeping the pace up and staying aggressive, some scoring opportunities were not taken advantage of later in the Omaha game. Despite this, the CU bench and coaching staff appeared pleased with the result of the match.
After the game, Coach Danny Sanchez encouraged all players to “rest, recover, and be a professional.” Following these victorious matches, CU will face stricter competition right around the corner.
“We’re done with these games now,” said Sanchez, referring to the two blowouts this week. “We took care of what we needed to take care of. Now the season starts.”
Next week Colorado will face the University of Michigan and Michigan State, two teams predicted to match the Buffaloes’ high level of play. Coach Sanchez closed out by encouraging the players to keep their eyes on the upcoming games and prepare for an increase in competitiveness.
“You have to play the game in front of you and you have to win it,” said Sanchez, “we won it, but we know there are big challenges coming ahead.”
The Buffs will be back in action against the Michigan Wolverines on Thursday, Sept. 8, in Ann Arbor at 5 p.m. MST. The team will be back at Prentup Field on Sept. 17 versus Denver.