CU Closes Out Against Utah
BOULDER — Colorado soccer has been putting in work for the 2020, now 2021 spring season since mid-summer. The Buffaloes began preparing for an August start back in June of 2020, now after a few hurdles along the way the team is set to take on Utah in Friday's regular-season finale.
Colorado (8-5-2, 4-4-2 Pac-12) hopes this isn't its last hurrah. The Buffs with 1.4 points per game this season sit sixth in the Pac-12 standings. A win on Friday would go a long way to help CU secure a spot in the 48-team NCAA Tournament.
"We put so much work, time and energy on and off the field as all the teams around the country have," head coach Danny Sanchez explained. "To be able to go into the end of April and still have stuff to play for is exciting."
The Utes (4-8-3, 3-5-2 Pac-12) sit in the bottom third of the Pac-12 standings with 1.1 points per game. The Buffs already picked up a non-conference result at Utah (1-0), but in recent history, Utah has been a spoiler for the Buffs. The past two regular seasons have concluded on the opposite side of 1-0 contests against the Utes.
"We know the quality of Utah," Sanchez continued. "They've been playing very well just like we have. They got two great results last weekend, beating Arizona and Arizona State. We played them earlier this year to 1-0, but it was a very even match that could have gone either way. We know that we have to bring our best soccer."
The Buffs have been playing at a top-notch the last two weeks, recording three consecutive shutouts. Redshirt sophomore Dani Hansen secured her third Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week award and hasn't allowed a goal in 313:34, dating back to the 65:26 mark at Oregon State.
Freshman Shyra James has been a spark for the Buffs' offense. She scored her fifth goal of the season against ASU, tying her for eighth-most by a CU freshman, but doing so in a shortened season. James also leads the Buffs with 11 points and 3.20 shots per game.
The Buffs have just 16 goals this season, coming in ninth in the Pac-12, but have gotten output from different sources over the last two weeks. Sophomore Tessa Barton scored her first goal of the season in CU's win at Oregon, while sophomore Alyssa Duke opened her collegiate account with the game-winning goal against Arizona State. Junior Hannah Sharts has been quiet since scoring four goals in CU's first seven matches but remains a constant threat on CU's set pieces.
The Buffaloes will honor senior Katie Joella and junior Libby Geraghty as part of the team's annual pregame Senior Day celebration. Joella has played in all four years at CU, totaling three goals and an assist. Geraghty, a senior academically, will not be returning for her final season of eligibility. She has battled through injuries in her four seasons, totaling six goals and five assists. Team manager Cole Sanchez will also be honored.
Friday's match will be on the Pac-12 Networks. Thad Anderson will have the call at 3 p.m. MT.