Taylor Kornieck is generating headlines as one of the top freshmen in the nation in NCAA women's soccer, and rightfully so.
However, the surging Colorado Buffaloes also have leaned heavily on another emerging star in goalie Jalen Tompkins.
They did so again Friday as the redshirt freshman turned in another highlight-reel finish for the Buffs, twice making successive saves in rapid-fire fashion to preserve CU's lead in a 2-1 Pac-12 Conference victory against Washington at Prentup Field.
Senior Danica Evans provided the offense with a pair of first-half goals as the No. 23-ranked Buffs posted their 10th consecutive victory. CU (12-3, 6-0) will retain an unblemished mark atop the league standings heading into the most difficult portion of the regular-season schedule.
"Obviously she made a couple great saves, and really second-saves right after making the initial save," CU coach Danny Sanchez said. "But, having said that, she could have played better. But two, three huge saves in the second half when we were under pressure. If we give up a goal, obviously we're in trouble.
"We weren't playing our best soccer at the other end. I thought the first half we played very well. At the end of the day, a gusty performance and some great individual performances from Danica and JJ, and our back four."
With Washington ramping up the pressure as the second half went on, Tompkins almost single-handedly kept the Huskies from picking up the tying goal.
In the 75th minute, Tompkins was able to get her outstretched fingertips on a high line drive belted by Washington's Shannon Simon off a free kick. Tompkins' deflection caromed off the bottom of the crossbar, and she was able to bat away the rebound chance before Washington could react.
Incredibly, Tompkins was even more impressive in the 88th minute, again thwarting a line drive off the foot of Simon and, while still on the ground, smothering Washington's rebound chance.
Tompkins, who entered the match with the top save percentage in the Pac-12, finished with six saves.
"I think I credit that to the goalkeeping practices we have," Tompkins said. "We work a lot on reaction saves. I have to credit that. We have high-intensity practices, if not higher intensity because everybody is competing for positions, so I have to make a lot of quick reaction saves there. So I have to credit the practices and the training."
Evans scored her first goal in the 32nd minute, but Washington answered a little more than three minutes later to tie the match on a goal by Kimberly Keever. Evans turned in her own highlight moments later, getting to a pass from Stephanie Zuniga ahead of Washington goalie Sarah Shimer and touching a shot into the vacated net to regain the lead for the Buffs.
Kornieck was credited with an assist on both goals, and Evans became the third different CU player (after Kornieck and Emily Bruder) to post a two-goal game this season.
The Buffs again played without starting defenders Joss Orejel and Kahlia Hogg and suffered another injury setback when freshman Camilla Shymka was helped off the field in the 58th minute with an apparent right knee injury. It will be a good weekend for the Buffs to play just one game with a run of upcoming opponents — Stanford, Cal, UCLA, and USC — that are ranked within the top 14 in the nation.
That stretch begins next Thursday at No. 3 Stanford.
"It gives us seven days until our next one, so we're going to work really hard at training," Evans said. "When we get to California we're going to work as hard as we can and hopefully get some more wins."
Colorado 2, Washington 1
At Prentup FieldWashington (6-8-1, 1-5-0) 1 0 — 1 Colorado (12-3, 6-0) 2 0 — 2
Goals (assists) — Colorado: Evans (Shymka, Kornieck), 32nd minute; Washington: Keever (Serwold), 35th minute; Colorado: Evans (Zuniga, Kornieck), 40th minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Washington: Shimer (45-2-1), Smith (45-0-0) Colorado: Tompkins (90-1-6).