Hayley Hughes lit a spark for the University of Colorado soccer team, pushing the Buffs past the Oregon Ducks 1-0 at Prentup Field on Sunday.
After a scoreless first half, the Buffs and Ducks fought to gain the upper hand. Having guarded one of Oregon's best players, Bri Pugh, the majority of the game, Hughes shined both on defense and the attack.
With freshman standout Brie Hooks, who has tied for a team high seven goals this season, out of the lineup, Hughes helped pick up the pace on the offensive side of the ball.
Hughes led the team with four shots, all on goal. In the 63rd minute, Hughes got the ball from 40 yards out, and didn't waste any time blasting the ball toward the net and into the right corner for her first goal of the season.
"Hayley spent half of the season last year as a striker so we know she's dangerous going forward," CU head coach Danny Sanchez said. "It was just a great shot, their goal keeper Abby Steele is a great goal keeper. I feel she's one of the top goal keepers in the league and to beat her today, we needed something special and that was a special shot from Hayley."
With continued defensive pressure, the Buffs' 1-0 lead would hold through regulation to give the Buffs their 10th win of the season. The win was the Buffs' first over the Ducks in four meetings. The Buffs (10-2 overall, 1-1 Pac-12 Conference) have recorded back-to-back conference wins for the second time since joining the Pac-12, with the previous consecutive wins coming at USC and Arizona last season.
Oregon falls to 2-6-3, 0-2-1 Pac-12, with all of their defeats being determined by a single goal.
The game was also a battle of two outstanding goal keepers, who combined for a total of 12 saves. Oregon's Abby Steele leads the conference in saves and ranks in Oregon's all-time top four in shutouts, wins and saves. Annie Brunner continues to have the best season of her career at Colorado. She currently ranks in the conference's top five in shutouts and goals-against average.
With Sunday's victory, Brunner becomes one of just four CU keepers to record at least 10 wins in a single season. For the second straight season, Brunner has shutout at least seven opponents (joining 2003 Big 12 Championship team member Jessica Keller as the only Buffs to have had back-to-back seasons with at least seven shutouts each year).