Buffs Close Out Huskies
BOULDER – Colorado senior Shanade Hopcroft continued her offensive tear on Thursday. She tallied a goal and an assist, helping the Buffaloes preserve a 2-1 win over Washington.
Hopcroft's goal in the 31st minute proved to be the game-winner. She has totaled nine points (3 G, 3 A) over CU's last three games and has four goals in her last five matches.
"If you are going to be a premier Division I player you have to get it done in Pac-12 play," head coach Danny Sanchez said about Hopcroft's play. "So far she has. It's not so much about the goals, but her movement and energy. She can play 90 more minutes right now and not miss a beat. We're going to need her to move around a lot. I thought she was a little quiet in the second half, but in the first half she was all over the place."
Colorado (6-3-1, 1-0-1 Pac-12) got on the board first with a header from senior Hannah Sharts. Washington would get back to even near the midway point of the opening half, but a costly mistake led to Hopcroft's crucial penalty goal.
Washington pushed the Buffs in the final moments, creating drama inside the final two minutes. Both teams got yellow cards in the final minute of play, following a disallowed Husky goal in the 88th minute.
"I thought we started well," Sanchez noted. "A little disappointed to give up the goal. Like I told the team, I was really pleased with how we played in the first 30-35 minutes of the second half. I thought our movement was very good. [Washington's] Summer Yates is a first-team All-American. I thought we dealt with her well. They are an experienced, quality squad. The last 10 minutes was a little frantic but for the most part, I thought we defended well and really limited their opportunities"
The Buffs took advantage of its set-piece opportunities, earning seven corners on the day. Colorado got five corner chances in the second half and limited Washington to just two chances throughout the match.
Washington (2-4-2, 0-1-1 Pac-12) got its goal from Vanessa Millsaps and goalkeeper Olivia Sekany made two saves.
How it Happened
The Buffs got out on the offensive from the opening kickoff and wasted little time finding the back of the net.
CU scored inside the first 10 minutes for the second consecutive match. Senior Kayleigh Webb put a shot towards net that was blocked by a Washington defender, leading to CU's first corner kick of the day in the 7th minute. Hopcroft sent the ball in from the left corner and Sharts put had a clean line-drive header into the back of the net, for her second goal of the season.
"She's [Sharts] a hundred percent an asset for us [on corner kicks]," Hopcroft explained. "She's taller than everyone. So that's a plus for us. I usually aim for her."
Washington got the equalizer in the 19th minute with Ameera Hussen dropping off to Millsaps atop the penalty arc, beating Dani Hansen.
The Buffs got the advantage back in the 31st minute. Senior Gabbi Chapa centered the ball into the box from the right side of the field. Webb and a Husky defender battled for the ball and Peyton McGee got called for a handball inside the box, awarding CU the penalty.
Hopcroft buried her second penalty kick of the season, notching her second game-winning goal of the season.
"I'm trying to play more confident," Hopcroft explained. "I've had some help from the coaches. I come out and train in the morning before our team training. They've definitely helped me be more confident. One of my main goals is just to stay positive and I think if I do that, I usually become confident."
Colorado had chances off the feet off Jade Babcock-Chi, Tessa Barton and Hannah Duguid in the second half, but couldn't get that elusive third goal.
Instead, it was Washington that would notch the next score in the 88th minute. Or so they thought. There was some indecision between the referee and his assistant on the far sideline and after some discussion the offside flag went up, disallowing what looked to have been the tying goal.
"We held on," Hopcroft said relieved. "It was a little bit scary, but we were strong back there and we made it."
Colorado closes out the quick homestand against Washington State on Sunday (Noon, Pac-12 Networks). The Cougars (7-1-1, 1-0-0 Pac-12) are at Utah Thursday night.
Colorado improves to 5-3-4 all-time against Washington…CU now has eight goals this season off of set pieces…Both of Sharts' goals this season have been on set pieces…Hopcroft's four goals this season are the most she's had since 13 in her final year at UCCS (2019)…She now has a career-high (DI) 13 points (4 G, 5 A)…Hansen picked up her first win against her former team, going 0-1-1 last year against Washington…former Buff Kyla Ferry (2019-20) played 14 minutes for the Huskies.