PALO ALTO, Calif. — If there was any question remaining about the abrupt and dramatic turnaround put together this season by the Colorado soccer team, it was whether the Buffaloes could stand up to the elite competition in the Pac-12 Conference.
While the Buffs took the first 6-0 league mark in the program's history on the road this weekend, Thursday night's battle at No. 3 Stanford marked the beginning of a four-game stretch that also includes dates against Cal, UCLA, and USC — all of which are ranked among the top 12 in the nation.
Nothing occurred Thursday at Stanford's Cagan Stadium to dissuade the Buffs from believing they still can complete the improbable worst-to-first jump in the league standings in one season. However, Stanford also served notice the Pac-12 race is far from over.
The Cardinal broke a scoreless halftime tie with two goals in quick succession early in the second half, ending the No. 22-ranked Buffs' 10-game win streak with a 2-0 decision.
"(Stanford) doesn't give away a lot of chances, and really their defense is predicated on their offense and keeping the ball," CU head coach Danny Sanchez said. "The first half, I thought we did well. At the end of the day you're not going to get more than a couple (chances) against a team like this. Zero-zero at half, and the danger was the first 15 minutes of the second half."
Stanford controlled the run of play for most of the match, but CU had a golden opportunity to tally the game's first goal with about 15 minutes remaining in the first half. Freshman Taylor Kornieck worked free near the left end line and dropped a perfect pass to Megan Massey in the middle of the penalty box. Massey, though, was turned away by Stanford goalie Alison Jahansouz.
The Buffs never truly threatened again, finishing with just three shots on goal the entire match. The only Colorado native on Stanford's roster, Chatfield graduate Jordan DiBiasi, put the Cardinal on the board in the 49th minute. It took only 11 minutes, 27 seconds for Stanford to essentially put the game away on a goal by Averie Collins.
Despite surrendering the two goals it was another stellar performance by CU goalie Jalen Tompkins, who made several highlight-reel stops in the first half before finishing with seven saves. Tompkins now has 67 saves on the season, breaking the CU single-season record for saves by a freshman previously set by current assistant coach Annie Brunner in 2010.
"There's nothing she was going to be able to do on those two goals," Sanchez said. "She kept us in the game and gave us a chance for sure. I'm sure she feels she could've or should've done better, but when you look at the big picture it was the other end of the field where just didn't create enough over 90 minutes."
The Buffs will attend Saturday's CU football game at Stanford before attempting to start a new winning streak Sunday at No. 10 Cal.
No. 3 Stanford 2, No. 22 Colorado 0
At Cagan StadiumColorado (12-4, 6-1) 0 0 — 0
Goals (assists) — Stanford: DiBiasi (McGrady), 49th minute; Stanford: Collins (Xiao, Davidson), 60th minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Colorado: Tompkins (90-2-7); Stanford: Jahansouz (90-0-2).