Colorado’s soccer team fell behind early and could not recover as the Buffs’ season ended with a 2-0 loss to Utah in Salt Lake City on Friday afternoon.
“Today was kind of how it’s been going for us recently,” head coach Danny Sanchez said. “I thought we played OK. We gave up the goal early but we played well after that. The second goal was just a result of us pushing people forward trying to tie it.”
CU played catch-up for most of the game after allowing a goal in the 11th minute when Baylee Nielsen deflected a long free kick in for a score.
After the shaky start, the Buffs came alive. Brie Hooks had several scoring chances, including a shot that forced a diving save in the 23rd minute. Madi Krauser ripped a shot on goal from the top of the box in the 27th minute, but it was pushed over the crossbar by Utah goalkeeper Lindsey Luke.
“The first 20 minutes was all Utah,” Sanchez said. “I felt after that we settled down, although we got a little impatient in the final third. Generally I was pleased with how we played in the last 15-20 minutes of the first half.”
The Buffs came out strong in the second half, keeping the ball in the Utah half for most of the first 10 minutes. Kate Scheele made an excellent save in the 60th minute, stopping a point-blank shot from the 6-yard box on Utah’s first scoring chance of the half.
In the 85th minute, Scheele stopped a breakaway by Natalie Vukic, but Paola van der Veen was trailing the play and had an easy tap-in for the score off the rebound.
The Buffs concluded the season with a 7-10-3 record, including 1-8-2 in the Pac-12. The Utes improved to 7-10-3 and 4-7-0 in Pac-12 play.
Colorado will say goodbye to seven seniors. Krauser wraps up her career in a CU uniform ranked third all-time in school history in assists with 16, while Scheele finishes her career ranked in the top five in goals-against average, wins and shutouts. In addition to those two, the Buffs will graduate Ashley Love,Nikki Machalek, Olivia Pappalardo, Emily Paxton and Heather Ward.
“This is obviously disappointing for (the seniors) because you want your senior year to be your best year,” Sanchez said. “Like I tell them, you never know when your best season is going to happen so you should cherish the moments throughout your career. They will be disappointed over this year, but it doesn’t take away from what they accomplished with over 40 wins and making the postseason a couple times.”
The group of seven players combined for 24 goals and notched 43 wins, reaching the NCAA Tournament in 2013 and 2014 for the first time since 2008.
Utah 2, Colorado 0
Colorado (7-10-3, 1-8-2)……….0 0 — 0
Utah (7-10-3, 4-7-0)……………..1 1 — 2
Goals (assists): Utah: Baylee Nielsen (Paola van der Veen), Van der Veen (Natalie Vukic).
Goalies (Min-goals allowed-saves): CU: Kate Scheele (90-2-6). Utah: Lindsey Luke (90-0-5).