The No. 22 Colorado Buffaloes (14-5-1, 8-2-1 Pac-12) fought tough with the No. 23 Utah Utes (11-3-5, 6-1-4), but were unable to come away with either a win or loss. In their last games of the season, the teams tied 1-1.
On senior night, Colorado was looking to win the Pac-12 title with the game. A win wouldn’t have necessarily clinched that top seeding, with more games being held later in the day, but tying ensures that the best the team will finish second.
It was a grinding contest from both sides. Stellar defense was shown by the Utes for the first 45 minutes. Colorado held the ball a considerable chunk during the half, but were unable to come away with many shots.
The Buffs’ defense wasn’t necessarily lacking, but there wasn’t much reason for them to get involved. On offense, possession was steadily maintained. Utah’s offense was unable to get anything once possession was conceded. Only two shots in the game came from the Utes.
Right before the halfway point, the ball was kicked out of play near the Colorado box. The Buffs had a sub waiting to check in, so the clock stopped. There was a dispute between the two sides as to whether the clock should have stopped or not. After arguing from both sides, seven seconds were added and the Buffs were able to get the throw in. It was unsuccessful. This led to 0-0 tie at the half.
“First of all, Utah is a very good team,” head coach Danny Sanchez said. “Their RPI is 20 for a reason…I felt that for the first half we played very well, maybe unlucky not to get a goal, but [we] played with great energy and great fight.”
Colorado tried to recreate the system they had manufactured during the first half. Utah came out strong and added more pressure.
The grittier style of play made for an interesting half of football. The Utes were able to get the ball more, which led to more shot attempts. Reversely, the Buffs were unable to see as many chances. Still, Colorado outshot Utah 10-7 in the half.
Colorado was finally able to get on the board in the 63rd minute. Senior forward Danica Evans was given the ball by junior defender Joss Orejel. Evans had a defender on either side, but she was able to sidestep the one to her left. This created a one-on-one opportunity with the goalie, which she was able to convert. It was Evans’ 10th goal of the year.
“This is the most goals I’ve scored in any season I’ve had in college so far, so I give all the credit to the team and the coaches Danny [Sanchez], Jason [Green] and Dave [Morgan],” Evans said. “We work on finishing every day so it’s just staying focused and putting it away when it matters.”
Among their tick up of shots, Utah also got an uptick of goals. In the 79th minute, Hailey Skolmoski also got a chance in the box. After a quick succession of passes, Skolmoski was able to get a favorable matchup and sent the ball towards the right side of the net from the opposite side of the box.
The Buffaloes’ redshirt freshman goalie Jalen Thompkins dove, but was unable to come up with the save. The equalizing goal was scored.
Utah and Colorado continued in their strategies. They tried to trade blows, but nothing was successful. At the end of regulation, the game was tied at 1-1.
The golden goal rule was implemented. Two ten-minute periods would be played and the first to score a goal would win. Twenty minutes went on the clock and the score remained unchanged. Colorado and Utah ending up with the tie.
This was Colorado’s first tie of the season. The selection show for the NCAA tournament will be Monday, Nov. 7. Colorado is likely to make the tournament and may even get a game at home to start off.
Contact CU Independent Copy Editor Jake Mauff at firstname.lastname@example.org.