When was the last time the University of Colorado women’s soccer team faced off against the University of Kansas? 2011. On Friday at Prentup Field, the rivalry will be renewed. After a 3-1 start, the Buffs will host the Jawhawks, who are undefeated so far this season (4-0). CU returns home after a trip to Las Vegas for the UNLV Invitational, where they posted a win, a 3-0 victory over UNLV and a loss to Kent State.
Not unlike their previous two opponents, CU head coach Danny Sanchez believes that Kansas will have their own unique strengths and weaknesses.
“What we’ll see is that they have very dynamic players,” Sanchez said. “Their number 21 [midfielder Liana Salazar] is a Colombian international who is very dynamic on the ball, very crafty, different from what we’ve seen. The other piece of it is, they have a lot of confidence, a lot of momentum.”
Despite last weekend’s loss, the Buffs have plenty to be optimistic about. Senior midfielder Carly Bolyard is in top form, netting two goals against UNLV and being named to the all-tournament team. Also included in that all-tournament group was sophomore forward Brie Hooks and senior midfielder Darcy Jerman.
While those three are mainstays in the Colorado roster, coach Sanchez has spent some time moving pieces within the starting eleven in hopes of finding players. However, junior goalkeeper Kate Scheele doesn’t see a problem with communication in the back line.
“It’s a great back and forth between all of us,” Scheele said. “Everyone has different styles, but I think it all works out well for us.”
This has paid dividends for the Buffs so far, who have only allowed one goal in four games this season. Kansas, however, is not at the same level as those teams. The Jawhawks come to Boulder after a convincing 4-1 victory over Wake Forest, who has made the NCAA women’s soccer tournament 17 years running. While the Jayhawks defense hasn’t been nearly as stout as CU’s this season, their offense has been a juggernaut. Kansas has had 12 goals in 4 games, led by midfielder Salazar, who has had five goals already this season. Coach Sanchez believes that ahead of a grueling Pac-12 schedule, this will be the first litmus test for the Buffs.
“I think it’ll be our first — even though we lost a game — first real test of the season,” Sanchez said. “They’re very hard and they’re coached well, so it’ll be a very intriguing game on Friday.”
Facing a team like Kansas is enough for any player to get excited about, but Colorado has circled this game in light of their loss last Sunday.
“We’re biting at the bit,” Scheele says. “Especially coming off Sunday I think all we want to do is prove ourselves again.”
Coach Sanchez echoed his goalkeeper’s sentiments, citing their experience in one of the toughest women’s soccer conferences in the country.
“Most of these players have played in the Pac-12 for two or three years, and every game is like Friday,” Sanchez explains. “I think we’ll be ready to play, we’ll be up for the challenge. ecause it’s like a Pac-12 game, it could go either way.”
The Buffs kick off against Kansas at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Prentup Field on East Campus.
Contact CU Independent Assistant Sports Editor Andrew Haubner at firstname.lastname@example.org.