Colorado soccer at Washington State

WHEN: Thursday, 6:30 p.m. MDT, Pullman, Wash.

RECORDS: CU: 6-2-2, 0-1-0 Pac-12; WSU 5-2-2, 0-1-0.

BROADCAST: Pac-12 Network.

LEADERS: CU — Goals: Taylor Korniek 5; Assists: Becca Rasumussen, Joss Orejel, Megan Massey 4; Goalie: Jalen Tompkins 0.55 goals-against average, .818 save percentage. WSU — Goals: Maddy Haro, Morgan Weaver 4; Assists: Haro 3; Goalie: Ella Dederick 0.63 goals-against average, .786 save percentage.

NOTES: Last year's win at WSU ended CU's five-game losing streak against the Cougars...WSU opened the Pac-12 schedule with a 2-1 loss at home against No. 2 Stanford...The Buffs complete the road trip Sunday at the University of Washington (1 p.m. MDT).

When the Colorado women's soccer team last visited Washington State, the Buffaloes were uncertain what sort of club they had.

It was a year ago this week the Buffs opened the Pac-12 Conference portion of the 2016 schedule with a trip to WSU. At that point CU owned a four-game winning streak and had put together a solid 6-3 mark in nonconference play. Yet the Buffs also were fresh off a 2015 campaign that ended with a last-place finish within the league.

With one telling strike late in that match in Pullman, Wash., the stage was set for the Buffs' eventual return to the NCAA Tournament. Taylor Kornieck, then still a freshman and playing her first Pac-12 match, connected on the winning goal with 1 minute, 19 seconds remaining. Less than two months later CU finished in a tie for second in the Pac-12 and Kornieck was named the league's Freshman of the Year.


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The Buffs will be seeking a similar spark Thursday night in a rematch against the Cougars.

"That gave us some confidence, going on the road against a very good team and getting a result," CU coach Danny Sanchez said. "It was a good precursor and it gave us some confidence."

The dramatic win at WSU last year marked the halfway point of what became a 10-game winning streak for the Buffs. If CU puts together a similar run beginning with Thursday night's match, it will be done against perhaps the most challenging portion of the 2017 schedule.

The Buffs are coming off a 2-0 loss at home against top-ranked UCLA in their league opener, and this weekend's dates at WSU as well as Washington offers CU an opportunity pick up points on the road ahead of a demanding turn in the schedule. CU returns home to host No. 2 Stanford and No. 11 Cal next week, followed by a visit to defending national champion USC, which is ranked seventh.

"It's a tough stretch," Sanchez said. "I don't know if there is an easy stretch in the Pac-12, but we've got two tough teams on the road, come home to Cal and Stanford, then back out for USC, the national champs. We knew this was going to be a tough stretch of our schedule. I think Washington State and Washington are both NCAA Tournament-quality teams, as we are.

"They're important matches not only to get some momentum going in Pac-12 play, but also you look down the road at tournament bids and so forth. We have to play well, and if we play well I like our chances."

Pat Rooney: rooneyp@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/prooney07