The CU women’s soccer team (6-2-3) came into Friday afternoon’s match against the University of Washington (8-2-1) with a four game winning streak but couldn’t quite pull off the victory, losing 2-1.
In this thrilling golden-goal match, the Buffs were robbed by the Huskies in the opening minute of overtime.
“It’s typical Pac-12 soccer, you come out and every team is going to be a battle,” said senior captain Amy Barczuk after the match. “With the first two Pac-12 games [this year] going into overtime, it just shows you the level of competition in this conference.”
The Huskies put in the game’s first goal in the 19th minute off of a clinical finish from a low pass that found Washington forward Allie Beahan. Beahan put it in the goal off of the right post, giving CU goalkeeper Annie Brunner no chance of stopping it. It was CU’s sluggish defense, however, that made it possible for Beahan to take a touch comfortably from around 12 yards out and accurately place her shot.
“We gave up two pretty soft goals today, which is unlike us in a way because we’ve been so strong defensively,” Barczuk said. “We’re going to obviously watch it on film, and the only thing to do is learn from it and never let it happen again.”
After the goal-seal was broken, the game opened up and flowed freely with each team possessing the ball confidently and in an attacking manner through the middle third of the field.
Going into the halftime break, the Buffs trailed by a goal and had very little to show from their first-half performance. It wasn’t bad overall, but it wasn’t good enough. The fact that they couldn’t put one of their six first-half shots on target shows that the Buffs needed to improve offensively — which is exactly what head coach Danny Sanchez motivated the girls to do going into the second half.
“We talked about it [attacking in the final third] at halftime,” Sanchez said. “In the second half we did a much better job. We got off the ball quicker and we got more numbers forward and we had more pressure. If you look at the goal, it was kind of a goal-mouth scramble where if you don’t have numbers up there you’re not going to get that.”
The Buffs were relentless in the first couple minutes of the second half, coming very close to scoring multiple times but coming up short.
The Buffs continued to play well building possession up the field, but in the final third they struggled to test Washington goalkeeper Kari Davidson. With the offense playing too timid in front of the goal, Sanchez was forced to bring his star captain out of defense and into the midfield to create more offensive opportunities. It was one of the best decisions he made all game.
In the 81st minute, the Buffs equalized the score off of a fantastic ball from sophomore Darcy Jerman that went over the top of the defense and fell right to a sprinting Barczuk. Barczuk initially shot the ball at the six-yard box, but it ricocheted off Washington’s goalie and was left on a silver platter for freshman Emily Paxton to score her first and probably easiest goal she’ll ever score for Colorado.
“Amy did a great job at getting it in,” Paxton said. “It was a great ball. Amy got in really aggressive and I thought she was going to score, and then I saw the rebound and it was right in front of the goal and I just took the shot.”
The Buffs continued to put pressure on the Washington defense for the remainder of regulation, and they went into overtime with all of the momentum in their hands — but it wouldn’t last even a minute.
Thirty-two seconds into overtime, Washington’s Lindsay Elston put in her seventh goal of the season. The game-winning goal gave the Huskies their first Pac-12 win of the season and the Buffs their first Pac-12 loss of 2012.
“I’ll have to look at the film, but the service came in and I think the first [Washington] player kind of whiffed at it,” Sanchez said. “I think everyone was kind of ready for the first shot, and then it trickled to the far post and a player was there. I think at the end of the day they just put the ball in a dangerous spot, and when you do that, things happen for you.”
The Buffs will finish up the weekend of conference competition when they face Washington State University on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in Boulder.
“Big picture, we’re going to focus on the positives,” Sanchez said. “The positives were we took this team to overtime and we have to get ready for Washington State on Sunday.”
Contact CU Independent Copy Editor Joseph Wirth at Joseph.email@example.com.