This fall has been quite a challenge for Colorado women's golf coach Anne Kelly.

In the spring, the Buffs had a team loaded with experience and they advanced to the NCAA nationals for the first time ever. Three of the top five players from that team graduated or transferred, however.

Colorado has been led by juniors Jenny Coleman and Kristin Coleman during the fall season, but it is a quartet of freshmen that Kelly will lean on going forward.

"We're a little bit in the rebuilding mold, but I think we have the players in place to get back to where we were," Kelly said.

Jamie Oleksiew (77.17), Alexis Keating (77.25), Allie Zech (77.67) and Megan Haase (78.83) have struggled at times, but Kelly said they've taken some lumps with CU's difficult schedule.

"It's just a big jump from high school and junior golf, especially with the schedule that we're playing this year, coming into some pretty difficult courses against some of the best competition in the country," Kelly said. "It's been a big learning curve for them, to be honest."

Kelly said she hopes to see the freshmen scoring averages drop by a couple strokes or more in the spring and feels the talent is there to get that done.

"They're quite talented," Kelly said. "They've gained some great experience and it's been tough, but I think they're learning a lot and their short games are definitely getting better and the decisions they're making on the course are getting better. We still have a ways to go, but definitely making progress."


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Men's golf team shows improvement

The men's golf team recently completed a great fall season, which included three top-two team finishes.

The Buffs' top three players in the fall -- Jason Burstyn, Derek Fribbs and David Oraee -- all saw their scoring averages drop from last year. Burstyn averaged 71.65 in the fall (down from 73.79 during the 2011-12 season), Fribbs averaged 72.64 (down from 73.71) and Oraee averaged 72.76 (down from 74.50).

Beau Schoolcraft saw a slight jump in his average, from 73.47 to 73.88, but he posted three top-20 finishes in six tournaments.

More wins on the way?

On Sunday, the soccer team got its first Pac-12 win, 1-0 against Southern Cal, but don't be surprised if more are coming.

Prior to Sunday, the Buffs (7-7-3, 1-6-1 Pac-12) had lost five one-goal games. That included losses to No. 2 -- and defending national champ -- Stanford, in which CU led until 12 minutes to play; No. 3 UCLA, in which CU played right with the Bruins; and No. 25 California, when CU led 2-0 and fell in overtime.

"We've been knocking on the door," head coach Danny Sanchez said.

The Buffs appear to have the toughest part of the schedule out of the way. They have road games left against 11th-place Arizona, sixth-place Arizona State and a home date with seventh-place Utah.

"Everyone in this conference is so good, so it's hard to say that we got the best teams out of the way," senior captain Amy Barczuk said. "(Beating USC) will give us momentum going forward, but by no means will these be easy games for us. I think we just need to continue doing what we've been doing so far this season and I think the results will come."

Notable

The cross country team will compete at the Pac-12 championships on Saturday in Santa Clarita, Calif. The men are ranked No. 2 nationally, and are the top-ranked Pac-12 team, just ahead of No. 3 Stanford. The women are ranked No. 21 nationally, fifth among Pac-12 schools. ... CU's volleyball team hosts a pair of matches this weekend. No. 3 Oregon visits Coors Events Center on Friday, while Oregon State visits on Sunday.

Follow Brian on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.