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One down, four to go.
After losing their first of five consecutive road games, the Colorado Buffaloes (7-6 overall, 4-1 Big 12 Conference) seek their fifth Big 12 victory as they face the defending Big 12 Champions, the Missouri Tigers (6-4-3, 1-0-2), in Columbia, Mo. at 6 p.m. Friday.
As a result of the three more weeks they will spend away from Prentup Field, sophomore midfielder Kassidy Fitzpatrick said she will miss the home-field advantage.
“You don’t get an atmosphere like you do here in other places,” Fitzpatrick said. “We love our fans. They are really supportive and we get a lot of people out here, so yeah, we’re going to miss it.”
Freshman defender Amy Barczuk has a slightly different approach.
“It’s definitely an advantage playing at home,” Barczuk said. “It’s always tougher on the road having everyone cheer against you, but the next four games on the road definitely needs to be all (wins). I think we can do it even without Prentup.”
Head coach Bill Hempen agrees with Fitzpatrick.
“You always miss playing at home,” Hempen said. “But you can’t have them all at home.”
Hempen said being visitors for five straight games was entirely his decision.
“Technically, there was a (home) game in the middle of this because not this weekend, but next weekend we are off completely,” Hempen said. “And that was the weekend we were supposed to play Oklahoma State.”
The head coach said the game against Oklahoma State was rescheduled for August because the original date would have left Colorado in an unfair position.
Originally slated to play Oklahoma State on Sunday, Oct. 18, that weekend would have left the Buffs without a match on Friday, Oct. 16. Meanwhile, the Cowboys play Texas Tech that day.
“We would have been sitting here waiting while they’re competing,” Hempen said. “It’s just an unfair situation for the lone team in the conference, that’s why we moved it. But virtue of that, that put us on the road for five games in a row.”
Women’s soccer in the Big 12, conference or nonconference games, are generally played on the following Fridays and Sundays.
Hempen said he attempted to schedule a game for Oct. 16, but August prevailed in what he called “a gentleman’s agreement.”
But facing a team that less than a year ago ended their hopes for a second Big 12 Championship conjures additional objectives for Hempen’s troupe of players. Most notable of these is increased aggression.
“Missouri is a very aggressive team,” Fitzpatrick said. “If you don’t play the ball, they are going to squash you.”
Barczuk, who Fitzpatrick mentioned as being one of the team’s most aggressive athletes, said, “Instead of them coming out and putting us under pressure, (we have to) be the aggressor.”
Hempen also had some suggestions for his squad.
“We’ve got to move the ball quickly against this team, or they’ll make it a miserable experience for us,” Hempen said.
Barczuk, who played midfielder against the Baylor Bears last Sunday, said she will probably play at center back, a defensive position.
The change has little effect on her morale.
“I really don’t care,” Barczuk said. “Wherever the team needs me, wherever I can help my team, I would love to play.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Esteban L. Hernandez at Esteban.Hernandez@colorado.edu.