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Buffs Tie in Regular-Season Finale

Nov 5, 2021
Shyra James competes for a ball in the air

SALT LAKE CITY-- Colorado played to a 1-1 draw in its regular-season finale against Utah at the Ute Soccer Field on Friday afternoon. 

Utah (6-10-4, 1-7-3 Pac-12) broke the scoreless tie in the 9th minute thanks to a header from Kylee Geis. Colorado (8-7-4, 3-4-4 Pac-12) responded with a goal of its own in the 37th minute off the foot of Shyra James, with  Phoenix Miranda playing the ball in for the assist. 

"It wasn't the start we wanted but I really like how we responded," head coach Danny Sanchez said. "Phoenix [Miranda] wins the ball in the midfield and Shyra [James] bangs in a great goal. I thought we pressed them well and I thought everyone - especially the players off the bench - really brought a spark to us."

Colorado had the edge in shots 17-10 and had seven corners compared to just one for Utah. Dani Hansen had three saves for the Buffs. 

The draw puts the Buffs' NCAA Tournament hopes on the ropes. If this indeed is the last game for Sanchez's seniors, he is proud of the work they have put in. 

"It's tough to play college soccer," explained Sanchez after the match. "It's tough to play for four years. Every single one of these players has been in college for five years - in Shanade [Hopcroft]'s case, six years. It's tough. It's mentally tough, physically tough and emotionally tough, and all four of these seniors left it all on the line."

How it Happened
The Utes got on the offensive early and got the payoff in the 9th minute when Geis got on the end of a back-door cross and headed it past Colorado's Hansen.

The Buffs responded and leveled things up in the 37th minute. Miranda headed a ball to the feet of James who turned and split a pair of Ute defenders before burying a shot into the top left corner of the net. 

James' goal was her ninth of the year and improved her scoring streak to four consecutive matches. Miranda's assist was her first-career point. 

Utah held a slight shot advantage at the half 4-3 and the match was tied 1-1. 

James had the best chance for the Buffs early in the second half, getting denied by Utah's goalkeeper Chelsea Peterson on a shot from just outside the six-yard box and then missing the follow-up wide.

Utah's Avery Brady had the most dangerous look for the home side on a well-hit shot from 25 yards out that was saved by Hansen. 

Neither team could break through in regulation, and the match went into overtime. 

Kayleigh Webb nearly won the game for the Buffs in the first overtime with a driven shot from 30 yards out that went off the post and then off the Peterson before trickling wide of the net.

Colorado put the pressure on in the second overtime period and got three corners but was unable to capitalize. 

"We left it all out there," said Sanchez. "We were pushing. We knew we had to get a win. The players were committed to it. I don't know how many times we had the ball in their defensive half - pretty much the whole overtime - but it's tough to score in the Pac-12."

Up Next 
Attention is now turned to the NCAA Selection Show on Monday at 2:30 p.m. MT which will be streamed on NCAA.com.

Notes
James became the first CU player to score in four consecutive games since Nikki Marshall did it in 2007...CU's four draws this season are the most since the 2017 season (4)...James tied Nikki Marshall (2007) for the most goals by a sophomore...The four draws all came in Pac-12 play marking the most draws in a conference season for the Buffs.