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Strong Spring Builds Excitement for Fall

Apr 29, 2022

BOULDER—Colorado soccer completed its spring season last weekend by returning the Colorado Cup to Boulder. The Buffs put together wins against Northern Colorado, Denver and Air Force, in penalty kicks, to end the season with an exclamation mark.

CU finished the spring with a 3-1 record in traditional matches, dispatching UCCS, Nebraska and Wyoming. The Buffs' lone loss came in a highly completive contest against 2021 national runner-up BYU.

"I think it was a very productive spring season," head coach Danny Sanchez commented. "We played some very competitive matches. To finish with the Colorado Cup and to have something to play for and win in the spring just added some extra value. I think it gives us a lot of momentum heading into the summer."

The Buffs will open fall camp in August with a veteran-heavy roster. 21 of the team's 25 players from the 2021 roster will be back at Prentup Field, complimented by Top Drawer Soccer's No. 8 recruiting class in the nation.

"We're excited about the players we have coming back," Sanchez continued. "We feel a lot of them really developed and improved [in the spring]. We also have what we feel are some fantastic freshmen coming in that really have the potential to help us both short and long term.

"The work the team does over the summer will really set the plate for August. We know they're highly motivated to help us get back to the NCAA Tournament where we belong."

Shyra James, who found the net in abundance in the spring, goes into the fall as the team's top returning scorer from a year ago. She led the Buffs with nine goals in the fall and was second behind graduated senior Shanade Hopcroft with 20 total points. Allie Palangi (8), Hannah Sharts (8) and Rachel Rosen (7) round out the team's top returning point-getters.

"We feel we have a lot of depth with the returning players," Sanchez added. "When you add these seven freshmen to the mix, that all come with great soccer pedigrees—I think it'll add even more to our depth and really push our players that are in-house. That competition will breed more success."

Two of the team's top performers in the spring, combining points awarded in training, were Buff Cup winners Kayleigh Webb and Bella Grust. Webb is a repeat winner, while Grust earned the most points ever by a keeper.

"Kayleigh won it last time and had a fantastic spring," Sanchez noted. "She had her best spring [to date]. I think she's going to have a breakout year next fall. For Bella, sometimes they [keepers] don't get as much access to points as the field players but she was great all spring and really competed well. She gives us the benefit of having two Pac-12 level goalkeepers."

Colorado's 2022 schedule is in the final stages of completion.

The team will host its inaugural Soccer Ball on August 20. The black-tie event will include a dinner, silent auction and paddle raise. All proceeds will be used for facility and equipment improvements and to enhance experiences for the team's student-athletes.