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CU Soccer Falls 1-0 To No. 2 UCLA On Senior Day

Oct 27, 2013

BOULDER – In the final home game of the season, the University of Colorado soccer team faced a defensive battle against one of the nation’s best, as the Buffaloes fell 1-0 to No. 2 UCLA in Sunday’s Senior Day game at Prentup Field.

The Buffs held the Bruins scoreless in the first half, but the Bruins grabbed the upper-hand in the 56th minute. Sam Mewis found Kodi Lavrusky near the net to score from 10 yards and lead the Bruins to victory.

With three more games remaining in the regular season, the Buffs sit at 12-4-1 overall, 4-3-1 Pac-12 Conference. The Buffs concluded home play with an impressive 8-2 record at Prentup, with their only defeats coming to teams ranked No. 2 – Stanford in the conference opener and UCLA in the home finale.

Record crowds helped the Buffs shine at home. This season, three crowds have ranked in the top 20 largest crowds in program history. Sunday’s game was no exception, with 1,624 fans in attendance. That crowd ranks eighth best at Prentup Field and 10th best all-time.  

With the win, UCLA has further distanced itself at the top of the conference standings, improving to 14-1-2, 6-0-1. The Bruins have allowed just six goals this season, helping them to the nation’s best goals-against average.

CU keeper and co-captain Annie Brunner tied a season-high seven saves in the game, keeping the game tight for the majority of the game. UCLA outshot CU 14-7 and held the Buffs’ two leading scorers, Anne Stuller and Brie Hooks, to just three shots total, all of which were on goal.  

“They’re just so good in the attack, so patient and combined so well in the final third,” CU head coach Danny Sanchez said. “We knew we had to be tight defensively, track our runners, and I think for the most part we did, but you see how dangerous they are. I think Annie Brunner bailed us out a couple of times with some big time saves. We knew it was going to be tough to create anything on the other end because we are defending so much. We had a couple good chances go our way, but I really liked how we competed today.”

From the opening minutes the Buffs and Bruins battled to dominate the tempo and control the game with an early goal, though both defenses would help keep the game scoreless at halftime.

Just two minutes into the game, Madison Krauser took the first shot for CU, hitting the ball high. UCLA responded in the sixth minute, with Darian Jenkins waiting at the left for help on the attack. Jenkins found Chelsea Stewart open in front of the net, but she shot far right.

The Buffs got back on offense and held possession for several minutes, something they would struggle with later in the game. Colorado attackers made UCLA keeper Katelyn Rowland work for back-to-back saves. From 20 yards out, Darcy Jerman got a look at the front of the net. The Buffs continued to press, with Bianca Jones blasting a deep ball just left of Rowland, drawing her out, but the Buffs couldn’t maintain control. The Buffs were quick to get the ball back, with Hooks approaching from the left post following a corner, forcing the second straight save.  

The teams traded off on close calls at the net. In the 18th minute, UCLA’s Jenkins rushed up the right side and passed back to Mewis who forced Brunner to jump for the save. Just over one minute later, Stuller got fouled just outside the box, setting up a free kick for Carly Bolyard. Jerman got her head on the ball, but sent it high. Jerman’s shot would be the Buffs’ last of the first half.

The Bruins would take four more shots in the final 15 minutes of the half, grabbing some offensive momentum before halftime. In the 32nd minute, Taylor Smith was alone rushing from the right, beat a defender and took a close shot, but hit the ball just right. With just over 10 minutes remaining before the break, Courtney Proctor sent her shot just left, helping the Bruins continue to make noise at the net if only they could tighten their target.

In the closing minutes of the half, Brunner would continue to shine, staying strong as Jenna Richmond sent one her way at the right post, and preventing any real looks at the goal following a free kick in the final minute.     

The second half would find the Bruins more on target on offense and more aggressive on defense, limiting the Buffs to just three second half shots and preventing them from spending much time in the final third of the field.

Two quick shots by Lavrusky and Mewis would help the players and the Bruins build enough momentum to score. In the 56th minute, Mewis found Lavrusky, who beat her defender and sent a low shot to the right corner from 10 yards out.

“It’s kind of devastating you know,” Brunner said. “You practice that all the time and you make that save 99 out of 100 times. They were putting on a lot of pressure getting those slip balls and eventually one of them got through, so credit to their offense. They were creating some good chances.”

Following the UCLA goal, the Buffs had to play from behind in every sense of the word in the second half. Seemingly every time the Buffs got an opportunity on the attack, a crowd of blue was ready to clear the ball away. That’s what happened in the 62nd minute, when UCLA regained possession and Mewis once again was facing the net, but Brunner jumped and punched the ball up and away. Though the Bruins would take three consecutive corner kicks, the Buffs’ backline prevented any shots in that span.    

UCLA continued its attack, hitting two more shots at Brunner and getting blocked by the Buffs’ defense. With just over 10 minutes remaining in regulation, the Buffs fought to even the score.  In the 78th minute, Hooks took the Buffs’ first shot of the half, chipping the ball at the keeper.

Just minutes later, Stuller was tripped just outside the box, setting up another free kick for the Buffs. Her kick curved over the wall, but was batted away by Rowland.

“I’m known for having a lot of power when I strike the ball and I think teams know to expect that by now because we are getting towards the end of the season. I just try to change it up and bend it to the back corner and I hit it the way I wanted to. Obviously not perfect, but the keeper made a great save, and I’ve just got to go from there.”

The Buffs then got a corner kick, fighting to overcome the UCLA defense. At 81:21, Stuller beat a defender to find Hayley Hughes, whose header would go high. CU was able to pick up the pace on the offense, and continued to fight with every Buff up on the attack, but the team couldn’t overcome its one goal deficit.

“I like our intensity of trying to go get that equalizer,” Sanchez said. “We had a couple good chances, it just it didn’t happen for us, but there’s no shame. UCLA is a very good team and we still have a lot to play for and we’re excited to get to Arizona next weekend.”

The Buffs near the end of the regular season with a trip to Arizona. The Buffs look for redemption against Arizona State after falling in the final seconds of double overtime in Tempe last season. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. MT on Friday, Nov. 1. CU looks to repeat in Tucson, where the Buffs beat the Arizona Wildcats 3-0 last season. CU and Arizona face off on Sunday, Nov. 3 at noon MT.