Colorado Hosts No. 1 Florida State
BOULDER – Colorado soccer has its biggest task of the young season on hand this Sunday, taking on No. 1 Florida State (11:30 a.m.) on the Pac-12 Networks. It will be FSU's first-ever visit to the state of Colorado.
The Buffaloes and Seminoles have met twice, both times in Tallahassee. FSU has won both matches, the last coming in a closely battled 3-2 overtime result in 2019. Sunday's match is the return of the home-and-home series that was scheduled.
"This is easily the most anticipated, non-conference game we've had," head coach Danny Sanchez commented. "When you play top-five teams [in Pac-12 play] on a Thursday and Sunday it doesn't feel the same. You have a build-up to it. There's going to be a huge crowd. I encourage people to get here super early, so they don't miss any action. Sunday does have a different feel to it."
Colorado (2-0-0) is no stranger to playing the top-ranked team in the country. The Buffs have matched up against a No. 1 eight times in program history, five of them have either been UCLA or Stanford. CU is still looking for its first upset of a No. 1. The team's last shot at No. 1 Stanford in 2018. The highest-ranked opponent a CU team has defeated was No. 5 Texas A&M in College State in 2010.
Originally CU had the entire week to train and game plan for FSU, but the fallout from the Colorado State match forced a slight shift. Coach Sanchez added Colorado Mines to the schedule on Monday and played them to a 3-0 decision on Wednesday.
"Sometimes coaches overthink things," Sanchez said of the decision. "We play two games a week. That's what we do for the majority of the season. This early in the year, our players need to play. We're still trying to find ourselves, still trying to identify players that can be in the rotation when we get to Pac-12 play. I'd rather play a good team [Colorado Mines] on Wednesday and still have a couple of days of preparation."
Florida State (3-0-0), also the 2020 national runner-up, comes to Boulder after defeating South Alabama 4-0 in Tallahassee on Thursday. Gianna Mitchell and Beata Olsson lead the Seminoles with two goals apiece. FSU has outscored its opponents 9-0 through the first three games.
Neither Dani Hansen nor Bella Grust has allowed a goal in CU's first two matches. Colorado's strong defensive play has carried over from 2020 and the team's offense has been clicking early on. The Buffs have eight players with at least one point, compared to 12 all of last season. Sophomore Shyra James lead the team in both points (4) and goals (2).
"We're going to keep things in perspective and really enjoy the moment," Sanchez added. "I told the team we're going to enjoy the opportunity. We never look ahead but we turn around and play another top-five team on the road at TCU next Thursday. Whatever happens Sunday, we still have 14 regular-season games to go. That's a lot of soccer."
Fans are encouraged to buy tickets online (http://buffs.me/3gGaWBc) to avoid the anticipated lines outside the field.