The Colorado women's soccer team lost a defensive battle 1-0 to No. 1 seed North Carolina in the second round of the NCAA tournament Friday night. With the loss, the Buffaloes finish the season at 12-6-4.
"I'm disappointed we didn't get the result, but when you look at it, I'm proud, and I'm not just saying I'm really proud of the effort because the season is over," said Colorado head coach Danny Sanchez. "If you look at the course of the game, credit to North Carolina, they did more on the night for sure. I'm really proud of the effort of the group. We needed something to fall our way and it didn't so there's no shame in that. But we laid it all on the line so I'm proud of that."
The Tar Heels scored in the first half and made it stand up, as Bridgette Andrzejewski knocked in a rebound from a shot by Sydney Spruill.
"It was just a really unfortunate situation. JJ (goalkeeper Jalen Tompkins) really had a good save, but we just weren't prepared for the follow-up," said sophomore midfielder Taylor Kornieck. Tompkins would finish with seven saves on the night.
"I thought we defended great. Kelsey Aaknes, Hannah Cardenas, Alex Vidger, and Joss Orejel were fantastic," Sanchez said.
That was the only goal North Carolina would manage, but a great defensive effort by the Buffs wasn't quite enough. Colorado's offense was held in check all game and managed just three shots on goal. Their best chance came in the third minute, as freshman forward Marty Puketapu sent a shot from the left wing toward the far post, but the North Carolina keeper made a diving save.
"I thought Marty had a good chance early in the game. We had a lot of half-chances. We needed just a little more in the final third," said Sanchez.
"I think our corners were really dangerous. If we just finish one of them, I feel like it would be a completely different game," added Kornieck.
Despite the tough loss, Sanchez feels that this was an important learning experience for his squad and is already excited for next season.
"I thought we were more comfortable tonight than we were last year against South Carolina in the second round. You can't win these games if you don't get in them and sometimes you have to lose them for a bit. We're really chomping at the bit to get going in 2018," he said.