TCU at Colorado soccer
WHEN: 4:30 p.m., Friday, Prentup Field.
RECORDS: TCU 2-0-0; CU 1-0-1.
BROADCAST: Pac-12 Mountain.
NOTABLE: The Buffs continue their homestand on Sunday against UC-Riverside (1 p.m.)...TCU routed two opponents at home last week, defeating Louisiana-Monroe and Texas-San Antonio by identical 5-0 scores...This is the first game between CU and TCU.
What is unique about the friendship between goalies Jalen Tompkins and Scout Watson isn't how they are able to leave their rivalry on the field. Good teammates do that.
What sets them apart is the impression their competitive drive has left on their teammates with the Colorado women's soccer team. Even though one of the netminders inevitably will always be watching while the other plays, Tompkins and Watson nonetheless were voted co-captains for the 2017 season by their teammates.
Coach Danny Sanchez says he has veto power over the captain vote, but the overwhelming support for Tompkins and Watson made the unusual two-goalies-as-captains setup a no-brainer. So far the duo has rewarded their teammates' faith, as the Buffs have yet to allow a goal through two games heading into Friday's battle against Texas Christian at Prentup Field.
"It's probably one of the best problems you're going to have, to have two Pac-12-level goalkeepers in the same program," Sanchez said. "Two players that the team voted captains, so they see their value on and off the field to the team. And they're both underclassmen, so I think that says a lot about them as people as well. Like I've said all along, if you're going to have an NBA or NFL draft, or a NWSL draft on our team, they'd be top five or six picks on our own team. But unfortunately it's a position typically one player will play.
"I think it's really going to be a game-by-game decision. Someone will start Friday and we'll see how it goes. But the competition will go all the way until the end of the year. They realize that. They're up for the challenge. Somebody's going to be disappointed when they don't play, but they're going to be professional. They're leaders, they're captains, and the team knows no matter what we're going to have great goalkeeping."
Watson, a fourth-year junior, was the Buffs' backup in 2015 and began the 2016 season splitting time with Tompkins. But when an injury slowed Watson, Tompkins made the most of the opportunity.
Tompkins was named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman team and posted a 15-5-1 record while making 20 starts. Not only did Tompkins record a save percentage of .855 that was just fractions short of CU's single-season record, but even as a redshirt freshman she displayed a knack for turning away certain goals with highlight-reel plays. Along the way Tompkins broke the program's record for consecutive shutout minutes, going 480 minutes, 43 seconds without allowing a goal.
Despite that performance Sanchez refused to anoint Tompkins as the certain starter in 2017 with a player of Watson's caliber also on the roster. While Tompkins has started each of the first two games, Watson has taken over at halftime while handling overtime duties in both contests — a season-opening scoreless draw at Colorado State, and a 1-0 win against Colorado College in double overtime.
With a veteran group of defenders operating ahead of them, Tompkins has recorded two saves in 90 minutes while Watson has made four saves in just over 121 minutes. Combined, CU's first two opponents haven't found the net in over 211 minutes.
"Every day in practice we never take an off day. We're always really competitive with each other," said Watson, who also is roommates with Tompkins. "It's very civil. We're never against each other or anything, so it pushes us to be better overall. Together we always push the team, and every day in practice it's always good competition and everyone rises up even more."