SOCCER GOES 2-1 IN FINAL SPRING CONTESTS
BOULDER - Senior-to-be Ellen Falender and junior-to-be Fran Munnelly netted the Buffs' lone goals of the day as the University of Colorado soccer team closed out its spring schedule with a 1-0 win over Denver and the '87 ODP team, before a 2-0 shortfall to Air Force in three, 45-minute games at CU's practice facility, Prentup Field, here Sunday.
The Buffs close out their third spring under Big 12 Coach of the Year Bill Hempen with a 5-2-1 mark.
"Every spring has gotten better and better," said Hempen. "We took the show on the road a bit this year and it was a productive spring. We wanted to make the players understand what lies ahead as everyone will be gunning for us."
The Buffs out shot Sunday's opponents 19-11, but were able to score only twice in their wins.
"I didn't like us missing the easy chances today, especially in that last game (where the Buffs out shot the Falcons 10-3 in the loss). The margin of error is so slim that we need to take advantage of the opportunities presented to us, and we didn't do that," Hempen said.
Colorado opened round robin play this morning against a Denver team that the Buffs shutout 3-0 earlier in the season. Sophomore-to-be Katie Griffin drew the keeper and her first shot of the day went wide in the ninth minute of play. On only the team's second shot, Griffin fed Falender from the left flank into the lower right corner of the net for the game's only score in the 14th minute.
In the Buffs' most evenly played match of the day, against CU assistant Paul Hogan's coached ODP team, both had five shots with each keeper making three saves. But with just over 10 minutes to play, redshirt junior Shannon Kellogg was tripped up in the penalty box, setting up a CU penalty kick taken by, and converted, by Munnelly in the 34th minute.
Colorado was dominant against the Falcons in the first 23 minutes of play, but shots by Maddy Minnis, Jessica Ceresino, Mia Pascoe, Tricia Regan, Fran Munnelly and Griffin had all fallen short. And on just their second shot of the game, Air Force's Jess Bendrick took a pass from the right flank and her shot to the right was perfectly placed between the post and the left shoulder of CU keeper Nikki Resnick. Ceresino nearly knotted the game at a goal a piece in the 28th minute when she picked up the ball deep in the penalty area, drawing Academy keeper Katie Schifani out, but her shot into a virtual empty net sailed just wide left. Air Force made it a 2-0 final score on just their third shot when Merideth Benson's lobbed shot as she was falling from 25 yards out went just over the fingertips of a jumping Resnick.
In Sunday's other matches, the '87 ODP team shutout both Air Force (2-0) and Denver (3-0), while Air Force and Denver played to a scoreless tie.
With the spring season in the books, the Buffs will concentrate on fitness training the remaining four weeks of the semester before looking ahead to the return of a much different team in August and to the 2004 season.
"This is the time of year to take time," said Hempen on the team's tapering of workouts and drills. "I don't want them completely unfit when they get here in August, but I don't want them challenged too much so that they're burned out by the time they return.
"They'll need to re-focus and understand that the new players coming in will want to play. We will need to be better defensively, in the middle and be more creative up front and not expect Katie to do all of the scoring. We'll need to find that next player. Next year's team will be a much different team, with a different dynamic."