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Buffs Fall in Battle with No. 1 Florida State

Aug 29, 2021

BOULDER - The Colorado soccer team fell 2-1 to No. 1 Florida State in front of 2,536 fans at Prentup Field on Sunday. 

The Buffaloes welcomed the 2020 national runner-up to Boulder in a highly anticipated matchup that drew the third-largest crowd in Colorado soccer history. 

The Buffs made a valiant effort, but the visitors from the ACC denied hopes of an upset. 

"The crowd was absolutely fantastic," head coach Danny Sanchez said. "This has been the best environment since I've been here in my 10 years. All the work that went in behind the scenes to make this happen, this needs to be the standard for CU soccer not the exception." 

Tied at the half, all three goals came in the second period of play. Florida State scored the first two and Colorado on the board thanks to Allie Palangi back but could not punch in a second goal to send the match to overtime. 

"I thought in the first half we played well and limited their opportunities," Sanchez added. "We talked about the first 15 minutes of the second half, and I think we just relaxed a little bit, but credit to them - those are two good goals."

The Seminoles controlled 65% of the possession and outshot the Buffs 15-1. Colorado's lone shot resulted in the first goal allowed by FSU this season.

"I think everyone battled their hearts out today," Palangi explained. "We didn't get the result, but they are the No. 1 team in the country. It was good we could have a team like them come in [to Prentup Field]. There was good energy today and I think it's a learning opportunity for us."

How It Happened
Florida State controlled the first half of play, registering nine shots and allowing zero from CU. The best opportunity for the 'Noles came in the sixth minute when Jody Brown got behind the Buffs' defense and after a quick cut at the top of the six-yard box, sliced a shot just wide to the right. 

CU began to put on the pressure at the end of the first half, getting multiple free kicks and forcing FSU goalkeeper Mia Justus to come off her line several times. Still, neither team could break the scoreless tie.

The Seminoles opened the scoring in the 54th minute off a low-driven shot from Kristen Pavlisko that split the legs of Colorado goalkeeper Dani Hansen. The back received a pass from Clara Robbins just outside the 18 before dribbling her way past multiple CU challengers and slotting the goal through. 

FSU quickly tacked on another in the 64th minute after a breakdown in the Buffs' defensive third led to Florida State's Yujie Zhao laying a ball off to Gabby Carle at the penalty spot, who put it into the back of the net.

Down 2-0 nearly 70 minutes into the match, the energy was starting to escape the Colorado supporters. The crowd quickly got involved again after the Buffs finally got the best of FSU's Justus on a header from Palangi off a cross from Jade Babcock-Chi. Junior Tessa Barton was able to body one of the Seminoles off the ball in the 18-yard box, then found Babcock-Chi who sent in a brilliant cross that found the head of Palangi.

"What a fantastic goal," Sanchez exclaimed. "When you talk about being brave. That was brave. She [Palangi] threw her body and her head to get that goal and all of a sudden, it was game on."

With the momentum shifted in Colorado's favor, the Buffs tried to put pressure on the Seminoles' backline in search of an equalizer. But Florida State continued to possess the ball well the rest of the way and held the Buffs at bay to escape with a 2-1 victory.

Hansen came up big all afternoon for the Buffs with four saves that helped keep CU in the game. 

Without Hunter
The Buffs played with heavy hearts Sunday after learning of the passing of freshman Holly Hunter's mother on Saturday. The team held a ceremonial moment of silence for them before the match.

"From all of CU athletics and the soccer program we want to give our prayers and thoughts to Holly, her sisters, and her dad," Sanchez expressed. "I can't imagine what they're going through right now and I appreciate everybody that recognized them before the game."

Up Next
The Colorado soccer team will head to Fort Worth, Texas Thursday for a 7 p.m (MT) matchup with the sixth-ranked TCU Horned Frogs.

Notes: Palangi's goal was the first of her career...Her goal is also just the second scored by CU against a No. 1 ranked opponent (Kate Russell vs Stanford, 2011)...Palangi (1 G, 2 A) is CU's fourth different goal-scorer of the season and is now tied with Shyra James (2G) for the team lead in points (4)...Sunday's crowd of 2,536 was the largest since CU began selling tickets in was also the largest attended game since hosting Denver (2,711) in 2009...CU drops to 0-3 against FSU all-time and 0-9 against No. 1 ranked opponents.