Football has been a struggle for Colorado this year.
Futbol season, on the other hand, is going quite well.
On Sunday, the Buffs' soccer team wrapped up nonconference play with a 2-0 win against visiting Air Force at Prentup Field.
Darcy Jerman scored her first goal of the season and Hayley Hughes scored her second as the Buffs (6-1-2) completed their best nonconference mark since going 7-1-1 in 2008.
"It's always nice to keep winning and we just want to keep this going," freshman Olivia Pappalardo said.
Colorado has its fourth-best mark ever through nine games and will take a three-game win streak into Pac-12 Conference play, which begins Friday at Oregon.
"I think it was important for the team
So far, the Buffs are proving to be solid on defense and opportunistic on offense.
Already, CU goalkeeper Annie Brunner has five shutouts, tying her career high from 2010. The Buffs limited Air Force to just eight shots (four on net). The Falcons were averaging 16.8 shots (8.3 on net) per game. Leah Bratt, who came in with a team-best 20 shots for Air Force, had just one.
Offensively, it took a while for CU to get going against the Falcons (4-2-3), who were enjoying their best start since 1995.
"They had a lot of people in the middle, so it was hard for us to get it and switch it, which is what we do," Pappalardo said. "And our last passes they kept getting a toe on it, so it was tough for us to get the ball through."
CU still managed to tally 17 shots and post six corner kicks to just one for Air Force. One of those corners led to CU's first goal.
In the 60th minute, Quinn Krier booted the ball from the corner and it soared over the pack of players in front of the net and went directly to Jerman, who put a head on the ball and got CU on the board.
"It was a great ball from Quinn," said Jerman, a sophomore who had two goals in 2011. "I just didn't have a mark (defender) on me; good timing, good placement. I just got up and won it. I'm really excited because it's my first goal of the season."
About 21 minutes later, Hughes found the net. Air Force keeper Kelly Stambaugh charged out to stop Hughes, who delivered a shot. The ball hit off Stambaugh and then off Hughes and got behind Stambaugh. Hughes fought her way past the Falcons' keeper and booted the ball into an open net.
"I wanted it so bad," Hughes said. "I'm a forward and I know I need to score and I've only had one goal, so I was thirsting for it."
Hughes said it is "not very often" that she gets that good of a look at an open net, so, "it's a chance you have to put away and I'm glad I did."
Sanchez said the opportunity, with CU nursing a 1-0 lead, was perfect for Hughes. Air Force was pushing hard to get the equalizer when Hughes buried her goal.
"Once they are pressing for that goal, there is space to be had and they have to start taking some chances and I think that's where Hayley can shine a little bit," Sanchez said.
As a team, the Buffs have shined throughout non-conference play. Aside from a 4-1 loss to Denver on Sept. 7, CU has been competitive in every game and will take a measure of confidence into Pac-12 play.
"It's good stuff, but as we know, the next 11 games are going to be tough," Sanchez said. "They are going to be battles and we need to continue to move the program forward. If we're going to do that we need to get some wins in conference play."
The Buffs were 3-4-1 in non-conference play a year ago and 4-13-2 overall. ... Brunner has 12 career shutouts, tying Kara Linder (2006-09) for third-most in Buffs history. Brunner is also fourth in wins (17), just three behind Linder for third. ... Hughes has eight career goals. ... CU's next home games are Sept. 28 vs. Washington and Sept. 30 vs. Washington State. : ]Follow Brian on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.