No. 20 Cal at Colorado soccer

WHEN: Thursday, 3:30 p.m., Prentup Field.

RECORDS: Cal 8-2-1, 1-1-1 Pac-12 Conference; CU 7-2-3, 1-1-1.

BROADCAST: Live stream available at Pac-12 Plus.

LEADERS: Cal — Goals: Abi Kim 5; Assists: Caroline Clark 3; Goalie: Emily Boyd 0.53 goals-against average, .818 save percentage. CU — Goals: Taylor Kornieck and Marty Puketapu 5; Assists: Becca Rasmussen 5; Goalie: Jalen Tompkins 0.42 goals-against average, .871 save percentage.

NOTES: The Buffs begin the week in a four-way tie for fifth place in the Pac-12 with four points. Cal also is in that group...The Golden Bears were ranked 11th a week ago but dropped after going 0-1-1 at home, tying Arizona State and losing 1-0 against Arizona...The Buffs rank 42 in this week's RPI. Cal is 29...CU hosts No. 2 Stanford on Sunday.

Rarely, if ever, is there a weekend that can be labeled as easy in the Pac-12 Conference.

The Colorado soccer team just survived a demanding weekend on the road, returning home from the state of Washington with a win, a tie, and three critical points in the league standings. The Buffaloes have a chance to make an even bigger impact on the Pac-12 race at home this weekend, which just may prove to be the team's most challenging two-game set the entire season.


On Thursday, the Buffs welcome No. 20 Cal to Prentup Field, followed by a visit Sunday afternoon from No. 2 Stanford. At the moment, Cal and Stanford are the final ranked opponents set to visit Prentup, though the Buffs play at No. 6 USC next week.

"It's great to get two highly-ranked teams at Prentup and the weather looks good," CU coach Danny Sanchez said.

The Buffs bounced back from a league-opening loss against No. 1 UCLA with their solid trip through Washington, winning 2-0 at Washington State and escaping the University of Washington with a scoreless draw. After allowing just four goals (three in one game) over nine nonconference games, CU's stingy defense reverted to a more familiar look following the 2-0 loss against UCLA, going without a goal allowed over 200 minutes last weekend.

The Buffs' defense ranks 13th in the nation with a goals-against average of .469. With two shutouts last weekend, CU goalie Jalen Tompkins now has five solo shutouts this season and 12 in her career. Still just a redshirt sophomore, Tompkins needs just one shutout to move into a tie for the fifth-most in the program's history. Tompkins owns 20 career wins and needs one more to move into a tie for fourth all-time with former teammate Kate Scheele.

"For us, as always, we have to be rock-solid in the back," Sanchez said. "In goal, we feel pretty good about how we're playing there. The challenge is going to be that (Cal) has allowed just six goals in (11) games. Chances are going to be at a premium for both teams. We're going to have to be very efficient as we go forward, and we really need to take advantage of our set pieces and opportunities off dead-ball situations to maybe try and get something off that."

Pat Rooney: or