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Buffs Open Pac-12 Play in the Golden State

Sep 24, 2021

BERKELEY, Calif. – Colorado soccer jets off to California for a quick one-match road trip. The Buffaloes will open Pac-12 Conference play taking on the Bears (2 p.m. MT) on Saturday. 

Colorado (5-3-0) enters the 11-game Pac-12 gauntlet, fresh off its 3-1 win over Denver last Sunday. 

"It's a single game weekend that allows us to focus on one team," head coach Danny Sanchez explained. "Cal is very well-coached. They have a ton of talent. But I like where we're at as well. We're excited to get there and start this journey of 11 Pac-12 games that can go either way. We're playing really good teams every single week. We're excited about the opportunity."

The Buffs have had a burst of offense this season, after having to scratch and fight for goals in the 2020* season. Colorado has totaled 49 points through the first eight matches this season, having totaled just 50 in 17 games last season. The team's been able to spread the love this season too. CU has 10 different goal scorers, compared to its seven in the spring season. 

"I think it's still a work in progress, to be honest," Sanchez noted. "It is nice to get the contributions from a lot of different people. You can look at it in two ways. We're getting contributions from a lot of different people, but we're not seeing that one or two people stepping up and taking ahold of it. We're pleased to have some options. I think we still have some players that have undersold themselves a little bit and can produce more."

One player who made a case for stepping up last week was super senior Shanade Hopcroft. The second-year Buff played the best game of her CU career, totaling a career-high four points against Denver. Hopcroft had a hand in all three Colorado goals, scoring one and registering assists on the other two. 

"Shanade is highly motivated," Sanchez commented. "She's super skilled. She's a great young woman who will be very successful going forward."

CU has had success against the Golden Bears of late. The Buffs upset No. 10 Cal (2-1) last season in Berkeley. Colorado owns a 4-1-1 record on the road against Cal and a 5-4-2 overall record. 

Cal (4-2-1) boasts the top recruiting class in the nation from a year ago. The Golden Bears have 14 freshmen on the roster this season with first-year forward Karlie Lema leading the team in goals (3) and points (6). 

Saturday's match will be streamed on Pac-12 Insider. You can find Pac-12 Insider on Samsung TV Plus, Roku, Redbox and Vizio among other on-demand options.