Women's soccer: CU Buffs' Kayla Millar shines in draw with Utah
Reserve senior goalkeeper makes two sensational saves in second half
11/02/2012 07:27:56 PM MDT
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Being honored with the rest of her senior teammates figured to be the highlight of the day for Colorado's Kayla Millar.
As it turned out, that was just the start of a special day for the Buffaloes' senior goalkeeper.
The Legacy High School graduate came off the bench and played a pivotal role in CU's 1-1 tie against Utah on Friday at Prentup Field.
"(Head coach Danny Sanchez) always tells us during the season that we're all going to have a moment, and it's hard to have a moment when you're on the sidelines," Millar said. "This was definitely my moment."
Finishing in a tie on senior day was somewhat bittersweet, but the Buffaloes (8-8-4, 2-7-2) did finish at .500 for the first time in four years. They could not have done it without Millar.
Starting goalkeeper Annie Brunner collided with the goalpost in the 35th minute, a play on which Utah's Harley Spier tied the game at 1-1. Brunner appeared to hit her head on the post, and she came out of the game. Millar, who had seen just 26 minutes of action all year, played the final 75 minutes, 43 seconds and was brilliant on several second-half saves.
Millar made two sensational saves about 45 seconds apart late in the second half.
"The first one, I was on the ground already and I just got across as fast as I could and I think somebody missed it and luckily I got down and cleared it," she said. "The other one, she was open right in front of the goal and I just had to lay out. It was honestly like a faith dive because I just had to cover as much ground as I could because she had the whole goal to shoot at. It was a lucky save, but a great save and I was glad I was able to keep my team in it."
So was Sanchez, who didn't want to see his seniors go out with a loss.
"I'm just real proud of her, because she didn't get a lot of time this year, but she put it in every day and you never know when your time is," he said.
Millar wasn't the only senior to relish the moment. Shaye Marshall, a two-year starter from Skyline High School, notched her first -- and only -- goal of her senior year just 1:55 into the game.
"It felt great to finally score," said Marshall, who finished her career with six goals and four assists. "I feel like I've been trying to score all year and it finally came for me."
Unfortunately for the Buffs, they couldn't get another one. Anne Stuller and Madison Krauser, who assisted on Marshall's goal, both had two shots on net, but Utah keeper Lindsey Luke buckled down and kept the Buffs off the board in the final 108 minutes.
The end result epitomized CU's season. The Buffs didn't have a sparkling Pac-12 record, but made great strides from a year ago and played well in just about every game. In 11 conference games, they went to overtime six times and suffered six one-goal losses (three of those in overtime).
"Now that we've played 11 of them, you know what, we were in every game," Sanchez said. "We laid it all on the field today. We pushed everyone forward and we went for the win, just like we did against (Arizona State on Sunday). I think it's one of those days where I think maybe a tie is a fair result."
Maybe not the result they wanted, but for the six seniors, it wasn't a bad way to finish their careers.
"Senior day, it's such a weird feeling," Marshall said. "These four years have just gone by so fast. It's been an amazing ride. It's hard to come out with a tie, but I think we played our hardest and it was a good game overall."
Marshall's goal was the seventh-quickest goal at the start of a game in CU history. ... CU came in having lost nine straight conference home games, while Utah had lost nine straight conference road games. Both streaks came to an end. ... CU still has never won a Pac-12 game at home, going 0-9-2 over the past two years. ... Freshman defender Heather Ward got her first career start for the Buffs. ... Stuller finished the season with a team-high eight goals, but had just one in Pac-12 play and was shut out in the last seven games. ... CU played in eight overtime games this year, one shy of the school record of nine in 2010. The Buffs played in a school-record six double-overtime games.
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Colorado 1, Utah 1
At Prentup Field
Utah 1 0 0 0 -- 1
Colorado 1 0 0 0 -- 1
Goals (assists) -- CU: Shaye Marshall (Madison Krauser), 2:01; Utah: Harley Spier (Katie Taylor), 34:17.
Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) -- CU: Annie Brunner (34:17-1-0), Kayla Millar (75:43-0-4). Utah: Lindsey Luke (110-1-5).