The Colorado women's soccer team was grateful to greet a favorable turn in the schedule this week, but the Buffaloes did so while mired in a long and frustrating scoring drought.
The Buffs ended those frustrations in a hurry against Arizona State.
Playing an unranked foe for just the third time in seven Pac-12 Conference games, CU scored three goals within the first 30 minutes and coasted to a 3-0 win Thursday at Prentup Field.
"You have to believe what you're saying, and we believe in what we're saying," CU coach Danny Sanchez said. "We believe we're a good team. There's no shame in not getting results in those games (recently). Just like there would have been no shame if we didn't get it today. But obviously you say that a lot, at some point you have to have some reward for your work. Getting three goals, getting a shutout, and playing well defensively was needed."
The Buffs entered the match having been shut out in their previous four games and owned a scoring drought of 418 minutes, 26 seconds dating back to an own-goal scored by Washington State in a Sept. 28 road win for CU — and 440:44 since a Buffs player had scored, which was a Marty Puketapu strike earlier in the match at WSU.
After surviving an early scare when goalie Jalen Tompkins managed to tip an ASU shot off the goalpost in the third minute, it was all CU.
Puketapu ended the scoring drought at the 4:01 mark, giving the Buffs a quick 1-0 lead off a rebound of a Megan Massey shot. Massey recorded her second goal of the season just 9:28 later, and Puketapu capped the first-half scoring with her second goal of the game, one-touching a cross out of the air from Taylor Kornieck in the 30th minute.
It was the first career game with a goal and an assist for Massey, who earned some redemption after missing an early chance that would have given CU an early lead in last week's loss at No. 6 USC.
"Today we were on it. Everybody was playing for each other and we all just really, really wanted to win this game," Massey said. "We knew we needed to win these games coming up. Obviously last week I was super upset with that miss. But this definitely helps my confidence, especially going forward, too."
All five of the Buffs' defeats this season, including in the previous three matches before Thursday, occurred against teams currently ranked among the top 16 in the nation. CU does not face another ranked team over its final five games, a stretch run that began with Thursday's victory and continues Sunday afternoon in the final regular-season home game against Arizona.
"We feel very confident and we know it's not going to come easy," Puketapu said. "We know we had the very top teams first and we still have such quality teams to come. We know we can't slack off from now. We just have to keep working harder if anything and hopefully it will go our way."
Colorado 3, Arizona State 0
At Prentup FieldArizona State (4-9-2, 1-5-1) 0 0 — 0
Goals (assists) —Colorado: Puketapu (Massey), 5th minute; Colorado: Massey (Kornieck, Rasmussen); Colorado: Puketapu (Kornieck, Greening), 30th minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — ASU: Panas (90-3-6); Colorado: Tompkins (45-0-4), Watson (45-0-2).