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In its Pac-12 season opener, the Colorado women’s soccer team tied the University of Oregon Ducks in Eugene, Ore., on Friday evening in a double overtime scoreless draw.
The shutout was the sixth of the year for the Buffs, a good indication of the improvement the team has gone through in the past year under new head coach Danny Sanchez. Last year on Oct. 16, the Buffs lost 3-1 to the Ducks in Boulder at Prentup Field.
“I think we battled very well,” Sanchez said to the CU Sports Information Department after Friday’s match. “We’re pleased to have posted a clean sheet over 110 minutes. Hayley (Hughes) had a chance early, and (Anne) Stuller had a shot that was stopped by a good save by the goalkeeper. Big picture, we want to go into the Pac-12 on the road and get results, and that’s what we did. It gave us something to look forward to next weekend against the Washington schools.”
The key to the Buffs’ success so far this year has been defense, and one big 5-foot-10-inch reason why the Buffs have kept their opponents from scoring is senior captain Amy Barczuk. Since Sanchez moved Barczuk back to center defense on Sept. 9 against Cincinnati at the DU Invitational, the Buffs have been undefeated and only conceded one goal in their last four games.
What Barczuk and the rest of the Colorado defense do so well is limit the opponent’s good chances on goal. On Friday, the Ducks had 16 total shots, but just four of those shots were on target — and they were nothing that CU goalkeeper Annie Brunner, who is now third in all-time CU shutouts with 13, couldn’t handle.
“Oregon has dangerous players,” Sanchez said to the SID. “We limited quality looks at our goal and blocked corner kicks. I’m happy with our defense in goal, and I think we’ll build off this game.”
Throughout the entirety of the match on Friday, the gameplay was very physical. At one point towards the end of regulation, there were ten minutes in which three yellow cards were given out to two Oregon players and one to Barczuk.
Even though the Buffs played strong defensively, Friday’s game showed that there still is room for improvement for the Buffs in the offensive third of the field. In overtime, CU was only able to produce one shot for twenty minutes, ultimately leading to the 0-0 draw.
Coach Sanchez said he is pleased with the result at Oregon, but he knows that the road ahead for the Buffaloes in the weeks to come demands better play all around the field.
“We just focus on ourselves,” Sanchez said. “We need to get back to work when we head back to Prentup.”
The CU soccer team returns to Prentup Field on Friday, Sept. 28 and Sunday, Sept. 30. On Friday, Sept. 28, the Buffs take on the University of Washington at 3:00 p.m. in the first Pac-12 home match of the season. The girls finish up next weekend against Washington State University at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Joseph Wirth at Joseph.firstname.lastname@example.org.