Colorado didn't play perfect soccer on the opening weekend of the season, but the Buffaloes came away with what mattered most: a perfect record.
Darcy Jerman scored her first goal of the season Sunday, lifting the Buffaloes to a 1-0 victory against Northern Colorado at Prentup Field.
"We won the games and that's always the most important thing," CU head coach Danny Sanchez said after his team improved to 2-0. "You have to take the positives from that."
CU improved to 8-0 all-time against the Bears (1-1), outscoring them 20-0. The Buffs also improved to 2-0 in the fourth annual Colorado Cup.
This was the closest game in the series with UNC, and it was nearly too close. With CU leading 1-0 in the final minutes, UNC's Essence Ortiz-Laneir got a one-on-one opportunity against CU goalkeeper Kate Scheele, but smacked the crossbar with her shot.
"My heart dropped a little bit (on that play), but sometimes you get a bit of luck," Jerman said. "We got the ball back and we won and I think we deserved to win."
The Buffs out-shot the Bears 14-6, including an 8-3 advantage in shots on goal.
It took a while for CU to get on the board, though.
On a corner kick in the 61st minute, Kahlia Hogg launched the ball toward the UNC net. Bears keeper Kaitlin Ruff got a hand on it, but deflected it off the cross bar and directly to Jerman, who knocked it in for a goal.
"It was a great ball by Kahlia," Jerman said. "It was just a back-post ball and it was a tap-in, but even goals like that are important."
Up to that point, the Buffs didn't play with a lot of energy, and that didn't change much after Jerman's goal.
"For whatever reason, the energy and the focus wasn't there enough. I put that on the coaching staff; (the players) weren't ready to go today for whatever reason," said Sanchez, who thought UNC was the better team in the last 30 minutes. "You could see it in the warm-ups. We need to be better."
While it wasn't CU's greatest performance, it was good enough to get a win, and it put the Buffs in the drivers' seat to win the Colorado Cup.
The Cup is an annual event that features all six of the state's Division I teams. Each team will play three games in the Cup, which doesn't wrap up until an Oct. 31 contest between Colorado College and Air Force.
With five of the nine games of the Colorado Cup in the books, CU is 2-0. Colorado College, Denver and Northern Colorado are both 1-1, while Air Force and Colorado State are 0-1. CU's final game in the Cup will be Sept. 12 against Denver.
So, while CU didn't play its best soccer this weekend, the Buffs will take the perfect mark and look forward.
"It's really important for us," Jerman said. "It's the beginning of the season and we just want to build off of that. Two wins is exactly what we want and we're just going to keep going up from here."