Colorado Ready for Pac-12 Challenges
BOULDER — The 2022 Pac-12 soccer season gets underway for head coach Danny Sanchez and his Colorado Buffaloes when Arizona State comes to Prentup Field on Friday (4 p.m. MT).
The Buffs start the conference slate with a 6-1-2 record and have already matched last season's scoring output with 31 goals. Colorado starts the weekend ranked fourth in scoring offense with 3.44 goals per game, but knows that scoring chances will have to be earned in the remainder of the year.
"I think we've had some really good tests over the last few weeks," Sanchez explained. "Especially with BYU, Michigan, Michigan State and Denver. I think we faced four teams with qualities that we're going to see in the Pac-12. I think it prepared us well as we start Pac-12 play on Friday."
Arizona State comes to Boulder with an unbeaten record of 4-0-2. The Sun Devils missed two games early on this season due to COVID but recovered by outscoring their last two opponents 10-0. Nicole Douglas, the NCAA's leading scoring in 2021, already has nine goals in six games this season.
"Obviously [ASU] has the returning leading scorer in the country, Nicole Douglas," Sanchez added. "She's a challenge for everybody in our league. They are an experienced team with a lot of for and five-year starters. They will provide a big challenge for us with their experience and their quality of play. I think it will be a great opening match for both teams."
The Buffs look to counter ASU's experience with their depth. 20 of the team's 23 field players have more than 100 minutes played this, with younger players getting the chance to fill in for some of CU's veterans who have been out of the lineup at points this season.
"We've had some players out of the last few weeks and I think some other players have really stepped up and shown what they can do," Sanchez noted. "We feel really good about where we are at right now."
Early and often the CU offense has run through Shyra James. She has scored in all but one match this season and 12 of her last 13. Her 10 goals are second in the NCAA and her 21 points are already a career-high. Civana Kuhlmann is second on the team with six goals in her eight games. Fifth-year forward Kayleigh Webb has scored in back-to-back contests and has four goals on the season.
"I think we're in a good place," Sanchez stated. "We know our ultimate fate of how our season is going to be lies in these next 11 matches."
Friday's game will be streamed online at CUBuffs.com/WatchSoc. Free Gold Rush t-shirts for Saturday's football games, will be handed out to students while supplies last.
Traffic Advisory: The intersection of 30th St. and Colorado Ave., is closed from Sept. 10-23. Prentup Field is now only accessible by turning onto Colorado Ave. from Foothills Parkway.