Buffs Take to Desert to Face Wildcats
TUCSON – The Colorado Buffaloes take to the road for a lone matchup against Arizona on Friday, marking the team's midway point of the Pac-12 Conference season.
Colorado (8-3-3, 2-2-1 Pac-12) is on the upward trend after a sweep of the Oregon schools last week and moving into the middle of the conference standings. CU is tied with Washington State with seven points in the conference season and six matches left to play.
CU's final stretch starts with an Arizona squad that is coming off a 1-0 win over then No. 8 Southern California and a tightly contested 1-0 loss to No. UCLA. Colorado's final stretch includes No. 1 UCLA, No. 18 USC, No. 19 California, No. 9 Stanford and Utah.
"Our focus is obviously on Arizona," head coach Danny Sanchez commented. "They had a great weekend last week with a top-10 win over USC and played the undefeated No. 1 ranked team in the country to a 1-0 even match. We know the challenge that Friday presents for us and we're going to have to be very good if we want to get a result."
The Buffs have fared well in Tucson, claiming a 4-1-1 overall record on the Wildcats' home turf. The Buffs visited Tucson last Halloween and walked away with a 1-0 win. CU holds the all-time series lead, 5-1-5.
"I think last year's game was kind of how they've all been," Sanchez added. "We scored late. Lawson [Willis] made a great run and Shyra [James] scored in the 1-0 game. I don't expect anything different on Friday. We need to start getting results on the road though, hopefully, it starts on Friday."
A key part of the Buffs' weekend success against Oregon State and Oregon was the play of transfer Civana Kuhlmann. She had five points across the two games (2 G, 1), including the game-winning goal in CU's 1-0 win over Oregon. Kuhlmann has been fueling CU's offensive efforts through Pac-12 play, having a point in her last nine contests. She's been on fire since the start of September, posting 20 points (7 G, 6 A).
"She's been fantastic," Sanchez said. "Especially once we started Pac-12 play. I think she leads by example on our front line and the good thing is we have other options as well. Shyra, Emerson [Layne], Juliauna [Hayward], Jenny [Beyer] and so forth. She's leading by example and having a very good season."
The second part of CU's recent triumphs has been its ability to play lockdown defense. The Buffs did not allow Oregon to record a shot on goal, marking the first time a CU opponent hasn't put a ball on target in two seasons.
"We've talked about how our success is probably going to be based on how we do defensively in Pac-12 play," Sanchez explained. "You have to get shutouts. You can't expect to score two or three goals. I think Sunday [against Oregon] was an example. You get the goal and you have to be able to defend it and win a windmill match."
Arizona (4-6-2, 2-3-1 Pac-12) hasn't gotten one up on the Buffs since the 2013 season. CU has either won or tied the Wildcats in the last eight meetings. UofA hasn't been able to find the net this season. The Wildcats are last in the conference in total goals (9) and total points (33).
Friday's game is set for an 8 p.m. MT kickoff and will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.