Buffs Celebrate on Senior Day
BOULDER— Sophomore Shyra James scored two goals, including the walk-off overtime winner to cap off a 3-2 victory over Oregon State at Prentup Field on Sunday's Senior Day.
Colorado (7-6-3, 2-3-3 Pac-12) needed to go to overtime for the fourth consecutive match to earn its first win in of October. The Buffs opened the scoring with a Shanade Hopcroft blast in the first half, before needing two goals from James to prevail two minutes into the extra frame and send CU's four departing seniors home with a smile.
"They [the seniors] mean a lot to me," James said after the game. "A lot of them are really big leaders to a lot of people, especially me. I look up a lot to all of them. Giving them a win is like a big gift that I could give them, especially when it's their last home game with us."
The Buffaloes were the better team outside of a four-minute span in the second half. CU outshot Oregon State 19-10 on the day and held an 11-5 advantage in the second half. Colorado attempted seven corner kicks, while not allowing a corner chance to OSU.
"It was a huge win for us," head coach Danny Sanchez explained. "I thought we played really well today, but you expect that on Senior Day. I thought we had the run of play for the most part. I was a little disappointed to kind of let them back in the game, but I was pleased with the response."
Oregon State (11-5-0, 3-5-0 Pac-12) got both its goals off the foot of McKenna Martinez. She led OSU with six shots in the contest.
The win for Colorado keeps the Buffs' NCAA Tournament hopes within reach. CU has three matches remaining in the 2021 season and began the weekend with a 58 RPI.
"Our focus is all on rest and recovery right now and to get ready for Arizona State on Thursday," Sanchez added. "We're going to have to play well. It's tough to go on the road and get results, as we've seen. But we have everything to play for on Thursday. We're excited to get there."
How it Happen
The Buffs out-chanced the Beavers early in the first half, outshooting OSU 4-1 in the first 21 minutes. Hopcroft nearly got the scoring started in the 15th minute when she took a free-kick positioned just off the end line. Her cross began to bend in on net, forcing OSU keeper Bridgette Skiba to adjust to keep it from hooking around the post. Six minutes later Jade Babcock-Chi and Kayleigh Webb combined for a chance just outside the goal area, but Webb's attempt flew high over the net.
The Buffs kept the pressure on the Beavers and the work paid off in the 29th minute. Hannah Sharts sent a long ball into the OSU defensive zone and the closest OSU defender slipped and fell, allowing Hopcroft to run free to the ball. She met it perfectly in stride and blasted a right-footed shot into the lower-left corner of the net for her sixth goal of the season.
CU took the 1-0 lead into the half for the second consecutive game, but Oregon State's Martinez struck early in the second half to even the score at 1-1.
It took CU just 19 seconds to get the lead back when Haileigh Adams set up James' first of the day.
Almost two minutes later the Martinez struck again for the Beaver's slipping a shot through Dani Hansen to tie up the game again in the 56th minute.
"We responded well [after the first OSU goal]," Sanchez noted. "I challenged Haileigh Adams a little bit and she gets a nice assist to Shyra. It was a little unfortunate on their [OSU] second goal, but over the 92 minutes I thought we had more of the pressure and more of it going forward."
Oregon State almost jumped in front of the Buffs in the 63rd minute, with Martinez sniffing for her third goal of the game. Martinez broke free alone at the top of the six-yard box and one-times a shot to her left. Hansen stuck out her right leg, denying her shot on an otherwise wide-open chance.
"I think people are going to forget about that [save]," Sanchez said. "She's [Hansen] probably a little disappointed in the second goal, but it could easily have been 3-2 them with us chasing at the end. It was a great save. That's what you look for in experienced players. If you make a mistake you have to battle back and she bounced back big time for us."
Colorado had the last nine shots in regulation but couldn't get the winner before the end of 90 minutes.
Martinez started the overtime with the first scoring chance. She put her shot high over the CU net right at the start of the period. The Buffs countered back the other way with Babcock-Chi running down the right side. She got down to the final third and centered the ball for James, who headed it in for the win in the 92nd minute.
"Jade was running down and I didn't know if I should go in front of her or go behind to the back post," James recalled of the game-winner. "She beat the girl so as soon as I saw that, I started screaming 45! I didn't know if she was going to play it in the air or on the ground. I was going up and down and then she played it in and I just headed it back post and it went it."
CU closes out the regular season with three road matches. The team heads off to Arizona next week to battle the Sun Devils (Thursday) and the Wildcats (Sunday).
James is the first CU player to score at least two goals in the same game since Taylor Kornieck scored two in CU's 2-1 OT win at Arizona (Sept. 27, 2019)…Hopcroft now leads the team with 20 points (6 G, 8 A) this season, becoming the first CU player to hit the 20-point mark since Taylor Kornieck's 30 points in 2019…James now has four career game-winning goals…The Buffs are now 2-1-2 in overtime this season…CU is now 5-0-2 when leading at the half and 6-1-2 when scoring first…Adams' assist was her first of the season, giving her three points this year…Babcock-Chi now has four points this season (1 G, 2 A)…CU didn't give up a corner chance for the second match this season (Stony Brook)…The last time CU did not allow a corner chance to multiple opponents in the same season was in 2018 (Air Force and Marquette).