Buffs Open 2022 Campaign on Thursday
BOULDER—Colorado head coach Danny Sanchez and the Colorado Buffaloes will get the 2022 season underway, hosting Weber State (4 p.m. MT) on Thursday.
Sanchez who will start his 11th season in Boulder has an arsenal at his disposal this season. The Buffs have fifth-year players Hannah Sharts, Kayleigh Webb and Hannah Cardenas back in action in 2022, along with the team's leading goal scorer from last season in Shyra James.
Matching the Buffs' returning firepower is an impressive group of newcomers to the squad. Colorado brought in the No. 8 recruiting class in the nation according to Top Drawer Soccer and they will look to contribute from the opening kick. Transfer Civana Kuhlmann choose to her home state with two NCAA championships at Stanford under her belt. Emerson Layne, Leila Lister, Josie Master and Sophia Petrov add to the depth up top this season, while Juliauna Hayward, Coco Thistle and Mallory Allen all enter the fold in the midfield. Transfer Lindsey Smith also joins the goalkeeping corps.
"We feel our depth will be key during this early stretch of the season," Sanchez explained. "There is still plenty of healthy competition within the squad and many roles are still to be defined."
CU's potential is known around the league with the Pac-12 coaches selecting the Buffaloes fifth in the standings, matching the team's highest preseason selection. The Buffs, who finished 8-7-4 last season, will be looking to make a return trop to the NCAA Tournament after falling short in 2021.
'It has been a great preseason camp," Sanchez added. "The squad has really bonded on and off the field and are very excited for our opener against Weber State. There are always growing pains once we start playing for real, but we feel we have quality all over the field to adapt."
Sanchez could hit a milestone early on this season. He finished last season with 112 career wins at CU, just two shy of tying Bill Hempen for the most in Colorado history. The Buffs are 8-0-2 in season-openers under Sanchez.
Colorado and Weber State have only played in recent history. The Wildcats came to Boulder in the 2020 season but played at Kittredge Field due to the spring season weather. Sharts scored the lone goal of the game late in the first half and Dani Hansen made six saves in the shutout victory.
The Buffs will follow the opener with the inaugural Soccer Ball fundraiser held on Saturday night and then will close opening weekend against San Diego on Sunday (4 p.m. MT).
Both matches will be on the Pac-12 Network with Thad Anderson on the call.