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The CU soccer team(2-0-1) opened its home season with a 4-2 win over the University of Utah on Thursday.
For a team with 15 newcomers, there was a lot of excitement about finally getting to play a game at Prentup Field.
“I’m from Colorado and I was so excited to be back home. My parents came out and everything, so it’s awesome being back here, being able to play a home game,” junior transfer Gianna DeSaverio said.
In the first half, No. 18 CU connected four of its six shots into goals while keeping Utah from making any of its three shots. In the second half, the Utes made two of its six shots on goal while holding the Buffs from making any.
“I think our team became a little too relaxed in the back and just got too comfortable when our opponent was a really good opponent, and we have no room to let down like we did,” freshman Natalie Weeks said.
Head Coach Bill Hempen told the team after the game that although they played sloppy in the second half, it was better than playing sloppy all around.
“I told them I’d rather coach from four-nothing up at halftime,” Hempen said. “It’s a difficult thing to keep their focus. You’re not going to score in the first minute of every game, you’re not going to score four goals.”
After the 4-0 halftime lead, Hempen moved star forward Nikki Marshall to defense. He said that she did not seem calmer than the other players in the back.
Weeks, a defensive player, had different thoughts on Marshall’s play.
“With all of her experience with the national team, it’s really a great voice to have in the back,” Weeks said.
Guidance for Weeks, along with the other freshman, could seem like a hard thing to find on a team with one of its only two seniors injured.
“It’s tough because it’s hard to have a sense of leadership. Usually the seniors take responsibility for that. But I think our team is coming together and everything is being brought together even without them,” Weeks said.
Leadership is not the only problem with such a young team. Hempen said that at the collegiate level, soccer teams do not do a lot of subbing, which has been hard for his younger players to grasp.
“I need you for 90, I don’t need you for 80. You’re just so used to that at the youth level, you can’t do that here and I think it’s an education for them,” Hempen said. “They have to be prepared to play 90 minutes.”
On top of lasting the full 90 minutes, junior goalkeeper Kirstin Radlinski said the team needs to work on communication.
“We could afford to talk a lot more than what we already do,” Radlinski said. “I think that if we communicate more, it will make it easier on everyone and we’ll be able to pass the ball more, connect more balls.”
But that’s not to say that the No. 18 Buffs do not do anything well.
“I think our team is good at digging deep and working hard for each other,” Radlinski said. “Like Bill says, effort at the end of the day. So if you can’t give anything else, just give effort. If you know you’re not having your best touch or your best pass game, your best air game, if you just keep working hard and putting effort out there and showing that you want to play for the team, then I think that we can do well.”
Colorado will face No. 19 Brigham Young University on Saturday at Prentup Field.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Margot Schneider at firstname.lastname@example.org.