The University of Colorado Boulder Women’s Soccer team closed out their season on Friday, Nov. 4, against the University of Utah. Before the match began, CU hosted a Senior Day commemoration to celebrate their senior players, many of whom would play their last game that afternoon.
The Buffs had returned home after two losses against California schools and were looking to end the season with a win.
Eight of CU’s seniors started the match, and their motivation was higher than ever as they looked to leave it all on the field. The University of Utah Utes returned the pressure with multiple shots at the Buffs’ goal, making senior keeper Dani Hansen work to save everything that came her way.
Defender Jade Babcock-Chi made critical tackles in the first half, keeping dangerous Ute forwards out of the attacking center. The defensive line also did an impressive job at spreading the field and distributing passes to the midfield, allowing CU to make strategic offensive attacks. Despite CU’s rigorous effort, a Utah forward was able to capitalize on a scoring opportunity 20 minutes in, putting the Utes up 1-0.
Utah’s lead did not last long, though. In the 21st minute, midfielder Jenney Beyer found Civana Kuhlmann for a header off of a corner kick which made its way into the back of the Utah goal, tying the game 1-1. The already-high-intensity match increased for the remainder of the first half as the Buffs ramped up their speed on offense and stayed disciplined on defense. Although the Utes outshot the Buffs 14-6 in the first half, CU continued to pressure the Utah defense and make them work to keep shots away from their keeper.
With only four minutes left in the first half, the Buffs’ forwards bombarded the Utah goal box and got possession of a loose ball. Freshman midfielder Mallory Allen headed a pass from Phoenix Miranda to forward Emerson Layne, which she volleyed into the left corner of the Utah goal. This goal put the Buffs up 2-1 as they entered the second half.
The aggression spiked in the early minutes of the second half, as referees gave two yellow cards to CU players in the 48th and 49th minutes. Colorado reduced Utah’s number of shots on goal in this half, and Hansen made multiple diving saves to keep the ball out of the Buffs’ net.
On offense, Kuhlmann was a massive threat to the Ute defense as she had numerous attempts on the Utah goal after the half. Beyer worked tirelessly to support her defenders and forwards by winning tackles in the midfield and taking the ball up the sideline.
The Buffs remained in the lead until about halfway through the second half when the Utes were awarded a penalty shot on CU’s goal. Hansen miraculously saved the original shot, but the Buffs were unable to clear the rebound, and a Utah forward was able to tie the game at 2-2 with a goal in the 66th minute.
With 25 minutes left in the match, the Buffs felt the pressure to keep the Utes out of their half while also taking advantage of any scoring opportunity. The Colorado coaching staff encouraged their players from the sidelines, and the CU fans’ energy rose as the clock ticked.
After an intense effort from both teams, the game ended tied 2-2, concluding the 2022 season for the Buffs. The Utes and the Buffs had also tied the last time they faced each other in 2021 after going into double overtime, so this result was familiar for each side. Although CU had hoped for a win to send off their seniors and finish the season, the coaches and the players were content with the tie and immensely proud of their work over the past few months.
The Buffs ended this season with an overall record of 8-7-5 and a Pac-12 record of 2-6-3. While CU had perhaps anticipated a different end to their 2022 season, it is evident that this group had a unique passion for the game and each other. The Colorado Buffaloes will return next year for another exciting, competitive season.