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CU Soccer Concludes Road Trip At No. 9 California

Oct 16, 2013

QUICKLY: The University of Colorado soccer team had one win and one loss on the road last weekend at Washington and Washington State, respectively. Another tough road test awaits the Buffaloes as they take on No. 9 California on Friday, Oct. 18 at 2:30 p.m. MT. The last time the Buffs and Golden Bears battled in Berkeley, Calif., CU claimed a 1-0 victory for their first ever Pac-12 Conference win. This season, the Buffs have won 11 games for the first time since 2008, while the Bears have fallen just once, losing 1-0 to No. 2 UCLA last Sunday.

COLORADO VS. CALIFORNIA: California leads the series 2-1, claiming victories in 1996 (CU’s first season of varsity play) and 2012. The Buffs earned their first Pac-12 Conference victory in 2011 in Berkeley, Calif. Hayley Hughes hit the game-winner in the 62nd minute to lift the Buffs over the Golden Bears 1-0. Last season, the Buffs got an early lead, scoring two goals (one off an Anne Stuller free kick) in the first 14 minutes, but Cal’s Ifeoma Onumonu responded with two goals of her own to send the game into overtime. One minute and 33 seconds into overtime, Cal netted the golden goal to claim the 3-2 win.   

SCOUTING THE GOLDEN BEARS: Last weekend, then-No. 8 Cal fell to No. 2 UCLA, marking the team’s first loss of the season and ending their 13-game unbeaten streak. The lone goal was also the first the Bears allowed in the first half of any game this season. Cal holds a 9-1-4 overall, 2-1-2 Pac-12 record, with ties coming against Pepperdine, then No. 22 Santa Clara and Pac-12 opponents Utah and USC (who went on to defeat Stanford just days later). Sophomore Ifeoma Onumonu, the 2012 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, leads the squad with eight goals and two assists. Three more players, seniors Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick and Rachel Mercik and sophomore Samantha Witteman, each have at least five goals and two assists apiece. In the net, senior keeper Emily Kruger has grabbed 60 saves, allowed 11 goals and helped the squad to four shutouts.

LAST WEEK: The Buffs split a pair of road games last weekend. In just their second away game of the season, their first outside the state of Colorado, Washington State limited the Buffs to just nine shots (the second least they’ve taken in a single game this season) and one corner kick (the least in a single game this season). The Buffs fell 3-0 for just their third loss of 2013. On Sunday, though Washington held CU to just one first half shot, the Buffs came back with a vengeance to close out the game. In the 96th minute, a UW foul just outside the box helped set up the Buffs’ game-winner. From 22 yards out, Anne Stuller booted a free kick to the near post to give the Buffs the 1-0 overtime victory. Colorado is now a perfect 2-0 in overtime bouts this season.   

FIRST: The season of firsts continues for CU. After breaking program records earlier this season by shutting out their first five opponents and winning their first six games, the Buffs continued the trend by winning eight non-conference games for the first time in school history. The Buffs also earned their first Pac-12 home wins with victories over Oregon State and Oregon (CU’s first wins over both teams). 

SUCCESS UNDER SANCHEZ: Head coach Danny Sanchez is one win away from his 20th victory with the program. He has recorded five, 10 and 15 wins at the helm faster than either of his predecessors. 

WINNING: The Buffs have won 11 games for the first time since the 2008 season (when CU wrapped with a 14-5-4 record). CU has also won three conference games for the first time since 2010, when the Buffs were a member of the Big 12.

CONFERENCE OF CHAMPIONS: In their third season in the Pac-12, the Buffs are hitting their stride. The Buffs are continuing to rack up conference wins and are currently tied for third in conference play with a 3-2-0 record. CU looks to repeat in Berkeley, Calif., the site of the team’s first Pac-12 Conference win - a 1-0 victory in 2011. The Buffs have now won back-to-back conference games on two separate occasions. Last season, the Buffs recorded two consecutive road wins with a 1-0 double overtime victory over USC and a 3-0 shootout against Arizona. Colorado earned its first Pac-12 home win earlier this month with a 2-1 win over Oregon State and continued the winning streak with a 1-0 win over Oregon. Both wins were the Buffs’ firsts over the respective teams. Last weekend, the Buffs grabbed their first ever win over Washington with a 1-0 overtime victory.  

NSCAA: The Buffs have received votes in six of the seven most recent NSCAA/Continental Tire Women’s Polls. With one win and one loss on the weekend, they are currently ranked seventh in the Pacific Region poll. Cal continues to be a top 10 contender, coming in at No. 9 in the national poll. UCLA leads the Pac-12 at No. 2, while Stanford fell to No. 10. Arizona State and Washington State both also received votes in this week’s poll.

QUALITY WINS: The Buffs continue to prove why they deserve national attention, coming in at No. 26 in the NCAA RPI rankings. Showing the difficulty of their schedule, five teams the Buffs have either already played or will face later this season are in the RPI top 25. 

NATIONAL STANDOUTS: CU ranks 23rd in the nation in shutout percentage (0.571) and won-loss-tied percentage (0.786). Anne Stuller remains in the nation’s top 50 with 1.57 points per game, six assists and 22 points. Annie Brunner ranks 58th with a 0.79 goals-against average. California also ranks 23rd in W-L-T percentage, and shines in the net. The Bears’ 0.849 save percentage ranks 31st, and keeper Emily Kruger ranks in the top 47 for GAA (0.739) and save percentage (0.845).

FRESHMEN TOP 100: Two Buffs were named to the Top Drawer Soccer Midseason Freshmen Top 100. With seven goals and one assist, Brie Hooks came in at No. 74. Eighty-sixth ranked Alex Huynh has contributed two assists in the middle back position. 

ON THE ROAD: CU holds a 1-2 road record. The Buffs’ first away game of 2013 was a slippery 3-0 loss to then-No. 16 Denver, a game that was originally scheduled for Prentup Field, but was moved due to the Boulder flood. Last week, the Buffs split a weekend roadtrip in Washington. CU impressed in three neutral site games (all at Denver’s CIBER Field), picking up wins over Northern Colorado in the Colorado Cup and Alabama and UT Martin in the DU Invitational.

SHOOT 'EM UP ANNE: Anne Stuller leads the conference with 67 shots this season, ranking eighth all-time on CU’s season list. With six games remaining, Stuller is just 11 shots shy of her total from last year (which ranks fifth). Her 36 shots on goal ties her total from last season, making her the only Buff to rank in the top five of that category twice. Stuller also ranks in the top eight on the season list with 22 points, six assists and eight goals. On the senior list, Stuller is tied for most assists and points and second most shots and goals. Stuller also ranks in the top five in the career record books in points, goals, game-winning goals, shots and shots on goal. She is tied for eighth most assists (with six of her nine assists coming in her final season).  

ON THE ATTACK: The Buffs have taken a conference-high 250 shots this season. They came out strong on the attack in non-conference play, taking 20 or more shots in five of their nine games, including a record-setting 39 against Alabama. Though taking shots against Pac-12 opponents has been a greater challenge, the Buffs shots per game average still stands at 17.9. Eight Buffs have scored goals this season (five players have netted a goal and added an assist). The Buffs have recorded seven multiple goal games, with three individuals each netting at least one multi-goal performance. Two returning players (Olivia Pappalardo and Heather Ward) have scored their first collegiate goals. Last year, three defenders (Bianca Jones, Lizzy Herzl and Amy Barczuk) scored at least one goal during conference play. This season, two defenders have helped the Buffs to victories. Having taken just four shots in her young career, Ward found the net against UNLV. Hayley Hughes hit her second career game-winner, a killer strike from distance, to push the Buffs over the Oregon Ducks.

BRUNNER AND THE BACKLINE: Annie Brunner and the Buffs’ defense have put together eight shutouts this season, while allowing just 11 goals. Brunner is having one of her most impressive seasons to date, continuing to put her name in the record books in her fourth season as CU’s lead keeper. Brunner ranks third in career wins, with 30 victories. Her 22.1 shutouts rank second. She also ranks in the career top five in saves and goals-against average. With over 6,000 minutes played, Brunner ranks ninth at CU and 13th among active keepers in the nation. Brunner is just the third CU keeper to record at least 11 wins in a single season. She and 2003 Big 12 Championship team member Jessica Keller are the only two CU keepers to have three seasons with at least eight wins each year and back-to-back seasons with at least seven shutouts.    

HOOKS IN THE BOOKS: Before being sidelined for four games by an injury, Brie Hooks earned her place in the top four for goals and points by a freshman and game-winning goals in a single season at CU. Hooks still leads the Pac-12 Conference with four game- winning goals and remains in the top 10 in goals.

TWICS: Catch This Week in Colorado Soccer at http://ow.ly/pSLXP.

NEXT WEEK: The Buffs return to Prentup for their final two home games of the 2013 season. Stand Shoulder to Shoulder with your CU soccer team in the Breast Cancer Awareness game on Friday, Oct. 25 at 3 p.m. The first 500 fans to arrive will receive a FREE pink CU rally towel! Come out to Prentup to celebrate Senior Day on Sunday, Oct. 27 at noon with your CU soccer team. Make sure to stand in the Buff Brigade cheering section and cheer the Buffs to victory as they take on UCLA in the last home game of the season!