LARAMIE, Wyo. -- During the non-conference portion of its schedule, the Colorado soccer team has discovered a nice formula for success.
Get a lead. Play great defense. Walk away with a win.
On Friday, the Buffs got first-half goals from Madison Krauser and Anne Stuller and held off Wyoming 2-0 at Madrid Complex.
"We're figuring that out," goalkeeper Annie Brunner said of the formula.
The Buffs (5-1-2) have already topped their win total from 2011, when they were 4-13-2. Perhaps more impressive, they are now 5-0 when scoring first.
"I think that's huge for us to go up early because we're pretty good at defending leads," said Brunner, who notched her fourth shutout of the season. "Getting those two goals solidified a good win."
Colorado jumped out on top with a solid display of teamwork in the first half. That led to its first goal, in the 16th minute.
From the middle of the field, Olivia Pappalardo passed the ball to her left and found Krauser sprinting down the field. After a quick dribble, Krauser made a nice move on her defender and took a shot, slipping the ball past Wyoming keeper Carmen McDermott.
"I just was sprinting down the field hoping to get it and I kept out wide like (head coach Danny Sanchez) told me to," said Krauser, a freshman who has two goals on the season. "Olivia saw me out there and played me the ball. I just had wide open space and just took it and shot it."
In the 32nd minute, the Buffs doubled their lead on Stuller's team-leading seventh goal of the season. From 25 yards out, Stuller booted a high shot that hit off a Wyoming defender and floated toward the net. The ball was too high for McDermott and it dropped in for a 2-0 Buffs lead.
"The key was we came out and we played well in the first half," Sanchez said. "Really, from the middle of the first half on, I thought we were very good in the attack, we were very solid in back. We really minimized their opportunities."
Wyoming (6-3) didn't have any shots on goal in the first half. The Cowgirls had four in the second, but CU's defense buckled down.
"Second half, they were throwing a lot of numbers forward and we were defending well," Sanchez said.
Brunner will get statistical credit for the shutout, but she got plenty of help from her teammates. Carly Bolyard and Quinn Krier both made great defensive plays in front of the net down the stretch to preserve the shutout. Amy Barczuk made another great play when she prevented a breakaway chance for Wyoming.
"I gave Amy a big hug after the game," Brunner said.
There were a lot of hugs to be had, as the Buffs hit a bit of a milestone with their fifth win. After last year's disappointing season, surpassing that win total is a nice feeling.
"It marks us with five wins, so we're doing better this year than we did last year, which is really exciting," Brunner said.
This one was perhaps the Buffs' most impressive win, as they knocked off a solid team on the road.
"I felt like we played really well as a team and we were really connecting out there today," Krauser said. "It's really great to get a win. It was definitely one of our better days with our team chemistry on the field."
The win certainly left Sanchez satisfied. He coached Wyoming from 2008-11.
"It's a unique setting and just a tough place to get results," he said. "I'm pleased with how we battled and got the win on the road."
CU improved to 9-2-1 all-time against Wyoming, including 4-1 in Laramie. ... The Buffs are now 3-0 when holding the lead at halftime. ... Stuller and Krauser have nine goals between them. The rest of the team has a combined two goals (plus two own goals). ... Brunner notched her 11th career shutout, fourth-most in team history. ... CU wraps up non-conference play on Sunday at home against Air Force. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. at Prentup Field.
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Colorado 3, Wyoming 0 At Madrid Complex, Laramie, Wyo. Colorado (5-1-2) 2 0 -- 2
Wyoming (6-3) 0 0 -- 0
Goals (assists) -- CU: Madison Krauser (Olivia Pappalardo), 15:38; CU: Anne Stuller (unassisted), 31:52.
Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) -- CU: Annie Brunner (90-0-4); WYO: Carmen McDermott (45-2-0), Courtney Merkle (45-0-2).