Buffs Settle for Draw at No. 15 Washington State
PULLMAN, Wash. — The Colorado Buffaloes walked off the Lower Soccer Field with its first point of the Pac-12 season Thursday night, following the 1-1 draw against No. 15 Washington State.
Colorado (6-2-3, 0-1-1) got the first goal of the night from Civana Kuhlmann, but WSU added the equalizer in the 78th minute. Neither team would be able to break the tie in down the final stretch.
Washington State (7-1-2, 1-0-1) heavily outshot Colorado, 39-8. The 39 shots allowed are the most by an opponent this season and the most shots the Buffs have faced since 39 at UMass in 1997. Colorado goalkeeper Dani Hansen was credited with eight saves on the night.
"I told the team after the game I was proud of how they competed for 90 minutes," head coach Danny Sanchez said after the match. "We defended great. Washington State had a lot of shots but not a lot of clear looks. When they did, Dani [Hansen] dealt with them. Looking forward, we still have to be able to create more on the road against a tough environment, but it's still a great point against a top 15 team in tough conditions."
The Cougars were relentless in the second half, firing off 22 shots, but struggled to get clear attempts on Hansen. The CU defense held its ground in the soggy conditions, helping keep the aggressors at bay.
"Washington State is very dangerous," Sanchez added. "They have a lot of great attacking players. Hannah Cardenas, Phoenix Miranda, Rachel Rosen, Lawson Willis and Jayden Newkirk were all fantastic in the back. Hannah Sharts and Jade Babcock-Chi gave some minutes back there as well, but I especially want to give praise to Phoenix and Hannah [Cardenas]. I thought they really competed for 90 minutes and gave us a chance to get a result on the road."
The game got contentious after the WSU goal. Bridget Rieken, the Cougars' goal scorer, clearly contacted Hansen in the process of trying to make a play on the ball. Moments later Kuhlmann had a collision of her own with the WSU keeper, much to the ire of the Cougars.
How it happened
The Buffs wasted little time getting on the board, scoring in the 11th minute. Kayleigh Webb handed out her second assist of the season, heading the ball to Kuhlmann at the top of the penalty box. Kuhlman made a turn to her left and shook off her defender, striking a hard left foot into the far right side of the net.
The score held at 1-0 for the rest of the half, despite CU getting outshot 17-5. Hansen did most of her work in the first 45 minutes with five saves, including a diving stop in the final minutes, to keep the lead intact.
"It was a tough environment with it raining the whole match and the slick grass," Sanchez explained. "It's difficult for goalkeepers and she dealt with everything she needed to deal with."
The Buffs withstood WSU's aggressive attack for most of the second half, maintaining the 1-0 lead into the 77th minute.
Rieken got the equalizer in the 78th minute, putting the ball into the net with Hansen flat on the ground after the collision.
"The goal was a collision with their forward that kind of squirted in a bit," Sanchez commented. "It was unlucky, but to be fair, Washington State was putting pressure on us. I was pleased with how we responded after that, especially during the last five minutes of the game. I think we were playing on the front foot and at least created some half-chances to kind of kill the game off."
Juliauna Hayward had a one-on-one chance and had her defender beat at midfield, before getting pulled to the ground. The head official whistled the play but ruled a handball occurred before the pulldown, reversing the field and giving the ball back to WSU late in the contest.
"We had to get a result tonight and we got one," Sanchez concluded. "It doesn't get any easier on Sunday. Washington knocked off Utah tonight, they're at home on Sunday. We just have to take these next days to rest, recover and start to focus on them and hopefully get three points on Sunday."
The Buffs will close the trip in Seattle on Sunday. Kickoff against the Huskies is set for 2 p.m. MT.
CU is now 2-3-1 all-time in Pullman…Kuhlmann's goal was her eighth of the season and the most since she scored nine as a freshman at Stanford in 2017…She also has 20 points on the season (8 G, 4 A), also the most since her 2017 season…Webb's assist was the sixth of her career and her 23rd career point…Hansen now has 192 saves in her three seasons at CU and 209 total.