Buffs Open Season in Golden Fashion
DENVER – After not getting to conclude the original season-opener on Thursday, the Colorado College Tigers made sure the Colorado Buffaloes were going to get their money's worth in Denver on Sunday. The Tigers took the Buffs to the 98th minute before Shyra James sent CU home with the victory.
"Every time we play Colorado College it's been like this," head coach Danny Sanchez said in relief. "A couple of times it has gone to overtime, but it has always been a one-goal game. We knew it was going to be very tight."
Colorado (1-0) improved to 15-6-5 all-time in season-openers, making sure to wrap up the win in memorable fashion. After a 0-0 end to regulation, the Buffs began to press in the overtime, earning three corner opportunities. CU made sure there wouldn't be a fourth chance.
"It was just corner after corner," James said postgame. "I tried to just keep going to the middle and I turned my head and Jayden [Newkirk] headed it right back to the middle. It was and Kayleigh [Webb] that went up and I kind of hit her out of the way and it [the ball] just hit me and went in."
CU doubled up CC in shots, 8-4, on the day. The Buffs got just two chances on net, the first coming from Tessa Barton in the 65th minute. Junior goalkeeper Dani Hansen made two saves in her eighth career shutout.
How It Happened
The action was few and far between for most of the contest. Colorado registered three shots in the first half, but unlike the CSU affair, the flow of the game was not as fluent.
"There were nerves," James commented about having to wait to open the season again. "Everyone was kind of mad but I feel like we tried to bring that madness into this game. It was kind of hectic at first but I felt like we started bringing it together once we needed to."
Senior Shanade Hopcroft tried to break the scoreless tie right out of the gate in the second half. Her attempt went wide left in the 49th minute but it sparked a sense of attack for the Buffs.
CU followed with Barton's chance in the 65th minute and then a solid look from freshman Ellen Jones in the waning minutes of regulation.
"Every game is an NCAA tournament game," Sanchez explained. "We know that the schedule we've lined up. It's our most competitive non-conference schedule since I've been here. So maybe we're tightened up a little bit when we didn't get that early goal. I think that early goal on Thursday against Colorado State we relaxed and today I think we're pressing. We didn't create a lot in the first half. I thought we did more in the second half and then obviously in overtime."
CU's three corner chances in the overtime all came in the three minutes of play. Rachel Rosen sent off the final chance from the near sideline, getting the ball to bounce off Jayden Newkirk and James for the golden goal.
Colorado has a week to prepare for its now official home-opener next Sunday. The Buffs will welcome in No. 1 Florida State for an 11:30 a.m. MT kickoff.
James' goal was her third-career game-winning goal...the Buffs' set-piece goal is the first of the season after scoring nine of their 18 goals on set pieces last season...the assists for Rosen and Newkirk marked their first career point...CU is now 10-2-0 all-time against Colorado College.