Colorado Blanks Utah
SALT LAKE CITY -- Danny Sanchez's Colorado Buffaloes got an early goal and were able to hold on for a 1-0 decision against Utah on Saturday.
Colorado (6-3-1, 2-2-1 Pac-12) scored on the team's first shot of the match thanks to a Shyra James strike into the top right corner. Utah attacked well for the majority of the contest but could not break through for an equalizer.
"We talked about getting off to a fast start because other than the Cal game we've been chasing goals," Danny Sanchez commented after the game. "I thought in the first half we played well. It was unfortunate that we didn't get that second goal. You can see how well Utah is playing though. Their ball movement was excellent today. But on the road, in these kinds of conditions, against a team that is playing well, it's a quality win."
Utah (2-6-2, 1-3-1 Pac-12) outshot the Buffaloes 21-14 on the day. Colorado's James was very active up front for the Buffaloes with five shots along with the lone goal of the contest. Dani Hansen came up strong with six saves and her fourth shutout of the year while Utah's Chelsea Peterson and SJ Edwards combined for four saves.
HOW IT HAPPENED -- The only goal in the game came in the 6th minute from Colorado's James. CU earned a throw-in on the left side of the field and off the throw the ball was headed into the box straight to the feet of James, who was able to slot the ball right into the top right corner of the net.
However, Utah continued to attack and moved the ball well in the midfield and into the attacking third. The Utes just could not get past Colorado's Hansen and were held scoreless.
"Maybe playing in Seattle for a few years helped her," said Sanchez about Washington transfer Hansen. "These were dangerous conditions for goalkeepers, and she was solid with dealing with the wet and skipping balls."
Utah continued to push and developed some excellent opportunities. In the search for an equalizer, Utah put loads of pressure on the Colorado backline and tested Hansen. Utah outshot the Buffs in the second half 8-5 and had four more corners than the Buffaloes, leading the category 7-3.
"Getting that early goal gave us some confidence," said Sanchez, "We had opportunities to get that second goal. We didn't get it so the second half played out how we thought it would. Utah sent a lot of numbers forward, but we just didn't punish them going the other way."
Colorado was able to develop some quality chances as well. Shanade Hopcroft had two of Colorado's best chances in the second period with a right-footed shot from outside the 18 that was pushed just right by Utah's Edwards. Then Edwards came up with another stellar save when Hopcroft was alone in front of net but shot the ball straight into the arms of the Utes' goalkeeper.
Utah continued to pressure the Buffaloes in the closing 10 minutes and had a header from Taliana Kaufusi off a corner that went straight into the gloves of Hansen to help close out the shutout.
"We were probably on our heels for the last 25 minutes of the half," said Sanchez. "Having said that, that's a part of being up 1-0. You have to defend. To get a result like this on the road in these conditions is big for us."
BY THE NUMBERS
UP NEXT: The Colorado women's soccer team will return to Prentup Field next Saturday where they will host Washington State in a 1 p.m. MT. matchup.
NOTES: James' goal was her fourth of the season, tying Hannah Sharts for th team lead...Sharts was credited with an assist on the goal, her first of the season...James and Sharts are tied for the team lead with nine points this season...the win snapped a two-game skid against Utah...each of the last three matches between CU and Utah have been 1-0 decisions...Hansen now has 55 saves on the season...the win was Coach Sanchez's 101st at CU.