The scoreless draw wasn't a huge surprise. Colorado soccer coach Danny Sanchez warned this week that Cal State-Northridge is a club that takes immense pride in its defense, and his own club still has yet to allow a goal this season.
However, the lack of urgency he believes the Buffs displayed Saturday afternoon at Prentup Field in a very winnable game left a bad taste. It was the second time this season CU has played to a 0-0 tie, though the No. 21-ranked Buffaloes still emerged with their unbeaten record and shutout streak intact.
It just didn't occur in the manner anyone on the team would have preferred.
"There needs to be somebody who takes the game by the neck and says, 'I'm going to win the game,'" Sanchez said. "It can't be from the bench. It can't be from the coaching staff. It has to be from the field. And I think that's the one piece that's disappointing to me. We give up one chance in the whole game, really, and that's a half-chance at best with JJ (Tompkins). But going forward, I felt a little bit more composure in the moment to make a better decision was lacking."
The Buffs recorded a 6-2 advantage in shots on goal and dictated the tempo throughout much of the match. CU enjoyed plenty of opportunities to put the visiting Matadors on their heels early, taking six corner kicks over the first 22 minutes and getting a shot from freshman Hannah Cardenas that deflected off the crossbar in the eighth minute.
However, the Buffs were unable to push any chances past Cal State-Northridge goalie Jovani McCaskill, who recorded six saves. The last of those saves occurred in the second overtime, when CU's Taylor Kornieck nearly earned the game-winner on a header off a cross from Erin Greening. Moments later Tompkins turned aside a shot from the Matadors' Cynthia Sanchez to keep the shutout intact.
"They packed in pretty tight, and their midfield connected with their back line, so it was really hard to play through them," Kornieck said. "We didn't create enough chances. Corners are really dangerous for us because we have a lot of height in our attack. Those should've been goals for sure."
Fortunately for the Buffs the lockdown defense they have played throughout the season remained intact. CU matched a school record by posting its fifth consecutive shutout, while that scoreless streak has reached a total time of 517 minutes, 58 seconds. That mark, which dates back to the final match of the 2016 season, is the second-longest in the program's history.
Over the past three matches, including an extra 20 minutes of overtime play Saturday, CU's stingy defense has allowed just four shots on goal. When the Buffs complete a run of five consecutive home matches against Brigham Young on Monday (1 p.m.) they need to keep the Cougars scoreless for 33:56 in order to match the program record.
"This game we really worked on pressure cover. Always having somebody pressuring the ball and covering for each other," Tompkins said. "Again the defense was lights-out. Two shots on goal, and the shots they gave up were manageable. Overall it's a frustrating game. However, our defense splayed well. It's just got to be better from the start for all of us."
Colorado 0, Cal State-Northridge 0
At Prentup FieldCSU-Northridge (2-0-4) 0 0 0 0—0
Colorado (3-0-2) 0 0 0 0—0
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — CSU-Northridge: McCaskill (110-0-6); CU: Tompkins (110-0-2).