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Colorado Earns Hard Fought Result at No. 9 BYU

Aug 29, 2022

PROVO - The No. 25 Colorado soccer team played to a 2-2 tie with the No. 9 BYU Cougars in hot and dry conditions at South Field Monday afternoon. 

The Buffaloes found themselves down 1-0 and 2-1 and fought back to earn their first-ever result in Provo and keep their early unbeaten record intact. 

"You can see why BYU rarely drops points at home," explained Colorado head coach Danny Sanchez. "They threw everything at us. But I was really proud of how we responded twice after going down a goal. I think it says a lot about the character of the group and it's a good result on the road and hopefully gives us more momentum as we get more into the season."

Junior forward Shyra James had the final equalizer in the 81st minute to make the score 2-2 as she secured her fifth goal of the year. The goal also extends James' scoring streak to eight games dating back to the 2021 season.  

"The streak is on my mind every game day," said James after the match. "After I scored, I just yelled, 'eight games, eight games!' It's always on my mind and it's always a goal to keep the streak going." 

Sophomore midfielder Jenny Beyer also got on the score sheet for the Buffs when she curled in a right-footed shot directly off a corner kick into the near post and past Cougar goalkeeper Savanna Mason for her second goal of the 2022 season.

Bella Grust was solid all afternoon, recording a career-high six saves off BYU's 31 shots.

"Bella has been fantastic," said Sanchez. "We've always said that we have confidence in all of our goalkeepers and I thought she really stepped up today. There was never really a moment for her to rest and relax and she kept us in the game early. We're super proud of her effort and what she did today."

Olivia Wade and Jamie Shepherd were the goal scorers for BYU while Mason had one save for the Cougars.

How it happened
The Cougars had the Buffs on their heels early. BYU had thirteen first-half shots and earned four corners compared to just two shots and two corners for the Buffs. 

The stout BYU back line did not allow CU forwards James and Civana Kuhlmann to have any room and held them at bay early.

Despite having thirteen shots, only one was on target and the Buffs forced them to some uncomfortable looks.

In the second half, the Cougars came out hot and put immense pressure on Colorado's back line. The home side was knocking at the door for the opening moments of the half before finally breaking through in the 64th minute.

The Buffs responded, though, and just six minutes later, the score was level at 1-1. Beyer lined up on the left side for a corner kick and bent a beautiful ball into the back of the net directly off the set piece to stun the home crowd and get Colorado back into the match. 

"She's fantastic on set pieces," Sanchez said. "Her goal really gave us some momentum to push through to the end of the game."

The pressure continued for the Cougars, and just two minutes later, Shepherd turned a Colorado defender off a throw in and lined up a powerful shot from 25 yards out that went directly into the left-side netting.

Colorado was faced with its second deficit of the afternoon with fatigue starting to wane. But the veteran group continued to fight and in the 81st minute, they equalized things again. After winning the ball in the Cougars' attacking third, Juliauna Hayward played a direct ball through to James behind the BYU defense. James got on the end of it and took a few touches before burying the ball into the bottom right corner of the net to help the Buffs escape Provo with an impressive draw.

"I was anticipating the ball before Juliauna kicked it," James said. "I was hoping that she would kick it and I'm glad she did. I saw the ball was going over so I just started sprinting toward it. I saw the defender running on my right side so instead of cutting in I stayed out wide and kicked it across the goal and it went in." 

What it means
Colorado earned a result against a top-10 opponent and the national-runner up on the road which will surely boost the Buffs' postseason tournament resume.

James' goal ties her with Fran Munnelly (Sept. 23-Oct. 16, 2005) for the longest consecutive point streak (eight games) in CU history...New to the NCAA this year is the elimination of overtime after 90 minutes in regular season play.

Up Next
The Buffs will return to Prentup Field Thursday, September 1st where they will host Texas A&M-Commerce at 4 p.m.