Arizona State at Colorado soccer
WHEN: Thursday, 3 p.m., Prentup Field.
BROADCAST: Pac-12 Network.
RECORDS: Arizona State 4-8-2, 1-4-1 Pac-12 Conference; CU 7-5-3, 1-4-1.
LEADERS: ASU — Goals: Jemma Purfield 4; Assists: Jazmarie Mader 4; Goalie: Nikki Panas 1.43 goals-against average, .758 save percentage. CU — Goals: Taylor Kornieck, Marty Puketapu 5; Assists: Becca Rasmussen 5; Goalie: Jalen Tompkins 0.74 goals-against average, .824 save percentage.
NOTES: CU has been shut out in its past four matches and has scored just one goal (not including benefitting from an own-goal) over 470 minutes in Pac-12 play...Arizona State has lost four consecutive games, including losses against top-10 league foes Stanford, UCLA, and USC by a combined score of 11-1. By comparison, CU lost to those three teams by a total of 7-0...The Buffs are just 2-5-1 all-time against ASU, but they have posted those two wins over the past three meetings...CU hosts Arizona in its final regular-season home game on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Courtney Fedor has diligently put in the hard work for the Colorado women's soccer team for four years.
She never has been a star for the Buffaloes, yet she always has contributed dependable minutes whenever called upon by head coach Danny Sanchez. Her workload has increased steadily throughout her time at CU, and she has enjoyed her most meaningful and abundant amount of playing time this fall during her senior season.
It is almost difficult to believe that season almost is at an end.
This weekend the Buffs' four seniors — Fedor and fellow four-year Buff Joss Orejel, in addition to transfers Becca Rasmussen and Hannah Scheid — will play their final regular-season home games at Prentup Field, with the Buffs hosting Arizona State on Thursday afternoon followed by the home finale Sunday afternoon against Arizona.
The season will be far from over after the weekend, as the Buffs still face three road games with the possibility of an NCAA Tournament date still in the mix. Yet for the seniors, particularly fellow defenders Fedor and Orejel, the emotions of their final matches at Prentup are starting to hit home.
"My role definitely has increased this year, which I'm really happy about," Fedor said. "I've always been the type of person that whatever the coaches need me to do, I'm there to do it. I always put in the hard work so I'm ready for the opportunities they give me. It's been a really good experience this year."
Fedor has expanded her role each year, playing in just five games as a freshman and nine as a sophomore before appearing in 17 last year. The native of Bellevue, Wash., has played in all 15 matches so far this year with a career-most four starts.
Orejel, on the other hand, has been a key performer along the defensive line her entire career. She missed the season opener at Colorado State while attending a family funeral but has started all 14 games since, giving her 50 starts and 62 appearances in her career. She has matched a career-high with four assists this year and has posted two goals and 13 assists in her career — impressive totals for a defender.
"I thought it was cool watching our team grow," Orejel said. "My freshman year we did really well and got third in the Pac-12, but the next year we went downhill. But my junior year, last year, we got second in the Pac-12, so we're hoping this year we end well in the Pac-12."
Though the Buffs are mired in a prolonged scoring drought — they have scored just one goal (in addition to an own-goal) in six league games — CU remains well-positioned to make a run at a postseason berth. All five of the Buffs' losses, including the past three games in a row, have occurred against teams currently ranked among the top 16 clubs in the nation. CU faces a much more favorable schedule over its final five games, and since the Buffs began the week at No. 42 in the RPI rankings, taking care of business against a stretch run of less-formidable opponents would likely vault CU into its fourth NCAA Tournament in five seasons.
"We still have a ton to play for, and they're smart enough to realize that we've played some really good teams over the past few stretches and it's tough to get results," Sanchez said. "Unfortunately we didn't get results, especially when we could've or maybe should've. But it's the Pac-12. Eventually everyone plays the same 11 teams and it all evens out. We have an opportunity our last home regular season weekend to get some results."