In one of the biggest matches so far in the Pac-12 Conference, it was the Colorado Buffaloes who quickly took control.
The No. 20-ranked CU women's soccer team continued its 2018 habit of scoring quickly in their toughest challenge so far this season, netting two goals within the first 12 minutes before holding off No. 7 Washington State for a 3-1 victory Thursday afternoon at Prentup Field.
Taylor Kornieck headed home one of the quickest goals in the history of the CU program to give the Buffaloes an almost immediate edge, and a Jorian Baucom goal 10 minutes later gave the Buffs enough of a cushion to fend off the Cougars' second-half charge.
"I feel like this game in particular we just had a different mentality," Kornieck said. "This was our first real test in Pac-12 play and we passed. I just think as a team we do really well when we score early. Because then we get in that mindset that we're just going to keep scoring."
Kornieck put the Buffs on the board shortly after the opening kickoff, heading in her fourth goal of the season off a corner kick from senior Erin Greening to give CU as 1-0 lead just 91 seconds into the contest. It was the third-fastest opening goal in CU soccer history, trailing only early tallies from Nikki Marshall (23 seconds vs. St. Mary's in 2009) and Michaela DeJesus (52 seconds vs. Utah in 2007).
It also was the fourth time in 13 games the Buffs have scored within the first four minutes of a contest and the fifth time they have found the back of the net within the first six minutes. That penchant for quick strikes is a big reason why CU has transformed from a club that went scoreless 10 times in 22 games a year ago to one that, with 37 goals, is well the way to toppling the team record of 45 goals set in 2004.
Washington State didn't go away, launching 15 of its 25 overall shots in the second half while forcing CU goalie JJ Tompkins to make nine saves, seven of them coming in after halftime. The Cougars got within a goal on a Morgan Weaver goal in the 58th minute, but CU senior Megan Massey iced the win with her second goal of the season with 8 minutes, 18 seconds remaining.
"Any coach wants to get off to a good start and I think our focus through the week, because we knew this was going to be a huge game with Washington State, sometimes with the attention to detail you come out a little sharper," CU coach Danny Sanchez said. "We started well, but I think the last 15 to 20 minutes of the first half we probably were fortunate to get out to halftime 2-0. I thought we defended well in there. They have really dangerous attackers, Morgan Weaver especially. A top Pac-12 striker."
Starting defender Kelsey Aaknes missed her second consecutive game due to an illness, and she is expected to remain sidelined when the Buffs host Washington on Sunday (2 p.m., Pac-12 Network)...CU sophomore Marty Puketapu, last year's leading goal-scorer and the owner of two goals and two assists this season, exited in the 37th minute due to a left leg injury suffered on a hard tackle by WSU senior Maegan O'Neill. O'Neill was issued a yellow card on the play...After recording just one assist in the first 65 games of her career, Greening has earned an assist in each of the past two games...CU needs wins or ties in the next two games to match the program record 15-game unbeaten streak set in 2003.
No. 20 Colorado 3, No. 7 Washington State 1
At Prentup FieldWashington State (10-1, 3-1) 0 1 — 1
Colorado (10-0-3, 2-0-2) 2 1 — 3
Goals (assists) — CU: Kornieck (Greening), 2nd minute; CU: Baucom (Barton), 12th minute; WSU: Weaver (Haro), 58th minute; CU: Massey, 82nd minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — WSU: Thompson (90-3-3); CU: Tompkins (90-1-9).