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The CU women’s soccer team has started off as promising season with a 6-1-1 record. On Friday afternoon at Prentup Field, the Buffs posted an easy 3-0 victory over the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Facing a must-win situation to keep their Big-12 Conference Championship hopes alive, the Buffs (9-5-2, 3-4-1 Big 12) responded with first half goals from freshmen Jess Quador and Nikki Marshall, and senior Katie Griffin to bury the Lady Red Raiders (6-10-2, 1-6-1 Big 12). The victory was the Buffs’ second in a row following three straight losses.
“Today was the first time in a long time that we connected as a team and found each others feet,” said senior Allie True. “We were working more together, and connecting more, than we have in a long time.”
The Buffs certainly played like the team that started off the season on fire. Quador put the team up 1-0 in the 17th minute of play with a header from a perfectly placed corner kick by junior Allison Kidd.
The Buffs never looked back from there.
Six minutes later, they increased their lead when sophomore Alex Cousins directed a beautiful heel pass to Marshall, who buried the ball in the back of the net for her team-leading 11th goal of the season.
Marshall’s 11 goals are also a record for a CU freshman.
The Buffs took a decisive 3-0 advantage in the 29th minute when True directed a ball to the center and Griffin snuck into the upper right-hand corner past Texas Tech goalie Tina Rincon.
“Three goals in the first half sure makes life a whole lot easier,” said head coach Bill Hempen. We had a good week of training, and obviously today it showed.”
The win came after a crucial 1-0 road victory in Iowa State, which was only the Buffs’ second win in their previous seven games.
“Our Iowa State game was just blood and guts. We played (this game) much better,” said Hempen. “We played as close to what we were like early as we have in quite some time.”
The change in performance came from regaining confidence, said True.
“We’re starting to believe in ourselves again, have fun and enjoy soccer again. We’re playing more as a team too,” True said.
Hempen added that this win was very well needed for the team
“The thought that something bad was going to happen was probably in our head for three or four games,” added Hempen. “When you lose games like we lost, it can gut you. It’s gutted these kids, and they’ve been questioning themselves, and this was good for them today.”
Friday’s display of resilience by the Buffs is nothing less than the team will need to keep their season going.
“There’s nothing that compares to that feeling when you lose, and there’s nothing as motivational as losing,” said Marshall of her team’s ability to bounce back after the three-game losing streak. “I think we all worked on being creative, and today we were so much more creative than we have been the past couple games.”
The win leaves the Buffs with a 3-4-1 conference record, vaulting them over the 3-5-0 Baylor Bears and into a fifth place conference tie with Nebraska.
The Buffs play Baylor on Sunday in what should be another crucial match if the team hopes for a tournament berth.
“It’s do or die for us now,” said Marshall. “We have to make the Big 12 tournament. These girls don’t want to be done, so we’ve got to fight. There’s definitely a huge sense of urgency right now.”
The entire team has Baylor on their mind right now.
“I’m thinking about Baylor next,” Hempen said. “We did this to ourselves, and we have to make sure that we take care of business.”
The Buffs will take on Baylor on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Prentup Field. The match marks the last home game for the Buffs this year, and seniors such as True, the last home game as a Buff.
“I just want to have fun, play well and hopefully come out with a win,” True said.