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It got ugly quickly for the University of Colorado women’s soccer team in their rivalry match-up against the University of Denver. The Buffs went down two goals in the first five minutes and ultimately lost 4-1 in their first match of the 2012 DU Invitational on Friday night.
“They came out playing their best,” CU head coach Danny Sanchez said. “We’ve seen them a lot this year, and they were tremendous with their attacking and the goals they scored.”
The first few minutes were impressive from the Denver Pioneers, who played a very high-pressure style game, proving themselves to be the better side from the very first whistle. In the third minute of the match, sophomore Sam Harder put in a great, in-swinging free kick inside the right post from 28 yards out. Just 2 minutes and 5 seconds later, DU junior midfielder Nicholette DiGiacomo got an open shot from 25 yards out that skipped underneath CU goalie, junior Annie Brunner.
“They were all over the place and I think that’s a lot of credit to DU, they played well,” Brunner said. “We can’t dwell on it [defensive mistakes], DU kind of took it to us tonight and I think we just have to move forward. We have a game against Cincy and we’ll put this behind us. I want my performance behind me and I’m not looking back.”
The loss to DU is the first loss for the lady Buffs this season (3-1-2) and the first loss for head coach Danny Sanchez for his new Colorado program. But inheriting the program from ex-head coach Bill Hempen after a 4-13-2 record, Sanchez knew he had to prepare for nights like Friday.
“I don’t feel last year’s team was a 4-13-2 team,” Sanchez said. “So the challenge for us is: How do we bounce back? That will say a lot about the team. We know that we have the work cut out for us, and how do we bounce back? We need to continue to improve, but having said that we don’t have a lot of room for error and we can’t come out slow like we did tonight against DU.”
With senior captain Amy Barczuk playing forward, coming out against a quick DU squad is one of the reasons that the Buffs were spread out wide defensively and left vulnerable in the center of the field for those first few minutes.
“It [the first five minutes] was really frustrating and things weren’t exactly clicking for us,” Barczuk said. “That sometimes happens and it was unfortunate it was this game, but you have to give DU a lot of credit because they played extremely well.”
Going into the second half, Sanchez made the decision to move Barczuk back to center defense where she held up the Pioneers very strongly. The Buffs even started to chip back on the lead when they earned their own goal in the 60th minute, bringing the score to 3-1.
“It’s still a work in progress,” Sanchez said. “We made some adjustments at half and we can take something away from that half tying 1-1, but we knew we were going to lose at some point and we’re disappointed it was against DU and we really got worked tonight.”
There is still a long way to go for the Buffs with three more non-conference games before going into the tough Pac-12 season. But for now, the Buffs are focusing on their next game this Sunday against the University of Cincinnati.
“The challenge for the team, what I just told them, was that the good thing when a result like this happens is that you get another game in less than 48 hours, actually 36 hours,” Sanchez said. “So we have an opportunity to ride it and to get something positive out of this weekend going into next weekend, and most importantly the Pac-12 play starting on September 21.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Joseph Wirth at Joseph.firstname.lastname@example.org.