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The women’s soccer team kicked off the 2013 season with two wins, one against the Air Force Academy on Friday and the other against Saint Mary’s College on Sunday, the first time the Lady Buffs have shut out their first four opponents.
The Buffs were 3-0 in the season after defeating the Air Force Lady Falcons on Friday. This is the second year in a row that the Buffs defeated the Falcons.
Both teams struggled to find a rhythm in the first half. The Buffs only managed two shot attempts on goal, while the Falcons had five. The Buffs also had three corner kick opportunities in the first half of the game, but the team was not able to put the ball into the back of the net.
Starting the second half, the Buffs had the ball on their defensive end for nearly 20 minutes of the second half. But at the 70:00 minute mark, the Buffs looked like a new team. They had better control of the ball, which was often at the feet of the rising freshman star Brie Hooks, who already has three goals. After a defensive stop, the Buffs began gaining momentum, working the ball up the field. At the 72:47 mark, the Buffs got their first goal after a chaotic play within the 18-yard box.
Hooks carried the ball and crossed it from the right corner of the field, where sophomore midfielder Olivia Pappalardo took a shot at the far left corner of the goal. The ball ricocheted off the goal post directly to the right foot of senior forward Anne Stuller, who ripped the ball into the back of the net, giving the Lady Buffs a 1-0 lead.
This goal was just the spark that the Buffs needed. They began dominating the game, rarely seeing the ball cross into their defensive end. Around five minutes later, freshman defender Alex Huynh crossed the ball to the top of the 18-yard box. Stuller was able to take advantage of the cross and again placed the ball into the back of the net, giving CU a 2-0 lead and scoring her second goal of the game and season.
“As a forward, you want to score,” Stuller said. “They were two easy goals, thanks to my teammates. Brie took the ball down on the first one, beat a girl, it was a good beat, and drove it across. It was a jumbled mess in there, and I think Olivia got on it and got a touch, and it came right to me. I just had to hit it far post, pretty easy goal because of my teammates.”
The defense in the second half was extremely strong and only allowed the Air Force Falcons a single shot attempt on senior goalie Annie Brunner, who had three saves in the game. The Buffs had nine shots on goal in the second half of the game and were able to capitalize on two of the shots.
“Hats off to our defense,” Stuller said. “Everyone’s been solid.”
The Falcons fall to two losses, one tie and no wins.
The second match for the Buffs this weekend was against the Saint Mary’s Gaels on Sunday.
Stuller has matched a record by becoming the first player since Kate Russell to tally two assists in any given game. Freshman standout Hooks scored both goals in the game and now has five goals in the season. The Buffs are now 4-0, while the Gaels rest at 1-3.
The Buffs gained their first goal of the game just over three minutes into the game, with a pass connecting from Stuller to Hooks. The Buffs outshot the Gaels 15-8. The Gaels carried most of the momentum for the first half but were unable to get a shot on goal until the 14th minute of play.
The Buffs dominated the ball for the majority of the second half and scored their second goal with Stuller, again, feeding a pass to Hooks in the 36th minute. The Gaels fought back in the last 10 minutes of the game but were unable to finish with a goal.
The Buffs’ next game will be against the University of Alabama as part of the DU Invitational at CIBER Field. The game starts at 4:30 p.m. on Friday at the University of Denver Soccer Stadium.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Jessica Malknecht at Jessica.firstname.lastname@example.org.