After suffering a tough loss to the University of California Los Angeles on Oct. 20, Colorado faced the University of Southern California Trojans on Sunday, Oct. 23. Despite the 0-6 loss three days before, the Buffs played confidently, tying with the Trojans 1-1.
The USC forwards immediately began to test Colorado’s defensive line, taking multiple shots on goal in the first few minutes of the match, one of which barely missed the net and bounced off the sidebar. Off an indirect kick, USC placed the ball at the top of Colorado’s box and had a shot on net, but junior forward Shyra James cleared it at the last minute. James retaliated a few minutes later and scored a header goal off of a beautiful pass from Amaya Gonzalez; however, she was ruled offsides at the time of the pass, and the goal was not counted.
Still tied 0-0, the Trojans and the Buffs continued to battle for scoring opportunities. With only eight minutes left in the first half, senior midfielder Jade Babcock-Chi assisted forward Civana Kuhlmann for a goal off her left foot, which curled around a USC defender and into the net.
“[The goal] was a great strike and really helped to change the momentum of the game,” said head coach Danny Sanchez.
Colorado came out of halftime up by one, but during the second half, USC held possession of the ball for much of the game. As Trojan forwards crossed balls into Colorado’s goal box several times, defenders Hannah Sharts and Phoenix Miranda worked hard to keep them at bay. Midfielders Jenny Beyer and Mallory Allen often pulled back on defense and made impressive tackles throughout the game to prevent open shots on the CU goal.
In the 64th minute, a Trojan forward squeezed through a line of Buff defenders and had a one-on-one with CU keeper Bella Grust. Grust made a sliding save to prevent a Trojan goal, but she stayed down on the ground clutching her ankle after the play. A few minutes later, Grust slowly stood up and began to walk off the field; however, she soon turned around and headed back to her goal box, showing she wanted to push through the pain and keep playing.
“We have a lot of confidence in Bella,” Sanchez said. “She has performed well when she has the opportunity.”
Grust’s resilience gave the Buffs a surge of energy, as they looked to put another shot in the Trojan goal to increase their lead. Kuhlmann had a great scoring opportunity in the 72nd minute with multiple defenders on her back, but the Trojan’s goalie saved the shot. As the clock ticked down, CU coaches encouraged their players to remain collected and not to rush counter-attacks.
In an attempt to clear the ball from Colorado’s goal box, a USC forward got possession of a loose ball and placed it in the back of the Buffs’ goal in the 74th minute, tying the game at 1-1. The intensity rose dramatically in the last 15 minutes of the match, as both teams tried to land a shot on the opposing goal. The aggression increased, and the Buffs got fouled several times in the midfield. In response, the Buffs took strong shots on the offense. In the 75th minute, James made an attempt, barely missing as the shot went slightly over the crossbar.
A USC foul in the last two minutes of the match gave CU an indirect kick into the Trojan’s half, but they couldn’t find their forwards in the goal box. Then, junior forward Rachel Rosen took a corner kick with 30 seconds remaining on the clock and managed to find Gonzalez for a shot, but her attempt missed the goal, ending the game tied 1-1.
“Overall, I’m super proud of how hard we played and how we defended,” Sanchez said. “[USC] has a lot of really dynamic attacking players, and I thought we really dealt with that well.”
Colorado will hit the road this week to face off with the University of California on Oct. 27 and Stanford and Oct. 30, before returning home on Friday, Nov. 4 to play Utah.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Sophie McKeown at email@example.com.