Career-Day for Hopcroft Lifts Buffs over Pioneers
DENVER – Colorado super senior Shanade Hopcroft contributed a career-high four points on Sunday, helping the Buffs to a 3-1 win over instate rival Denver. The win extends CU's streak to 10 consecutive over Denver.
The Aylesbury, England, native, was the best player on the pitch for either side. Hopcroft, using her COVID-19 year, had points on all three of CU's goals, recording two assists and a goal of her own.
"She's a woman on a mission," head coach Danny Sanchez said of Hopcroft's efforts. "That's what we need out of her. Her movement was excellent. Her confidence and engine just never stop. It was a great performance from Shanade for sure."
Colorado finished non-conference play with a 5-3-0 record and moves to 18-8-1 all-time against the Pioneers. Colorado finishes 3-0 against in-state opponents this season, after missing out on a chance to compete for the Colorado Cup.
"We talked before the game about how it was disappointing to not have a chance to win the Colorado Cup," Sanchez added. "We felt coming into this match that we've now played four teams [including Colorado State] and won all those games so it was extra motivation for us today."
Denver, the 2021 Colorado Cup champions fall to 5-4-0.
How It Happened
Denver got the quick strike to open the game in the 6th minute. The Pioneers drove the ball into the CU box and the Buffs couldn't clear it out allowing Kaitlyn Glover to notch the early goal.
The Buffs' offense was sparked by Hopcroft early and often in the opening stanza. She was credited with three shots, putting two on net in the first 45 minutes. She nearly got the Buffs back to even in the 14th minute, flicking a header just wide of the right post.
"I just had a good feeling about today," Hopcroft said. "Even though we went one down, I just felt like we could pull it back. It was early enough to pull it back [to even]. One of my goals today was to stay in control of my emotions and stay positive and I felt like I did that."
Hopcroft didn't get the equalizer but her run down the left of the field in the 22nd minute began the process. She played the ball to Tessa Barton, who looked primed to shoot but had the ball play off to Rosen on the right side of the penalty box. She played one touch to the center of the box and fired a shot past Nerea Arrzzola to get back to even.
Six minutes later it was Hopcroft who finally got to reap the benefits of her efforts. She got taken to the ground inside the 18 yard-line, earning the Buffs' first penalty chance of the season. She left no doubt on her strike, giving Colorado the 2-1 lead.
"I have to score," Hopcroft explained on her penalty. "I try not to think about it or feel the pressure too much. I just did it."
The Buffs had the lone corner of the first and outshot DU 7-6 in the period.
Shots evened out in the second half with each team getting three a side. CU's lone shot on goal in the second found the back of the net. Hopcroft yet again worked hard in the box to set up Amaya Gonzalez. Hopcroft held the ball along the endline and centered it back into the middle of the field finding Gonzalez for the air-borne volley off the DU defender and in.
"We just stayed positive and worked for each other," Hopcroft added. "You could really see and feel it on the field. I think that's what the difference was."
Denver scored late in the 89th minute but was offside, waving off the goal.
Dani Hansen needed to make just one save on the day.
The Buffs open Pac-12 play on the road next Saturday (Sept. 25), traveling to California. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. MT on Pac-12 Insider.
Notes: Third career goal + assist game for Hopcroft (second this season)…her four points mark her career-high at CU (had a six-point game against Colorado Christian while playing at UCCS)…Hopcroft now leads the team with 8 points (2 G, 4 A)…Rosen's goal was her second of the season…Gonzalez's goal was the first of her career and her first point since her assist in CU's 6-0 win over Northern Colorado in the 2019 NCAA Tournament…Gonzalez became the 14th different player to record a point for CU this season and the team's 10th different goal scorer…Freshman Holly Hunter returned to the Colorado bench on Sunday, having missed the last five games.