Offense lacking as CU soccer opens season with scoreless draw at CSU

FORT COLLINS — Colorado women’s soccer coach Danny Sanchez understood the new forwards assimilating into an otherwise familiar Buffaloes lineup would make his team’s offense a work in progress.

That’s why the Buffs will go into their second game of the season still seeking their first goal of 2017.

Despite generally controlling the possession, CU was unable to generate meaningful pressure on Colorado State’s goalkeepers, as the teams finished their season-opening rivalry battle in a scoreless draw on the Rams’ new home turf.

It was the second straight trip to Fort Collins that ended in a tie for the Buffs against the program’s former leader, CSU coach Bill Hempen.

“We had enough pressure, but at the end of the day we didn’t have enough quality in the final third,” Sanchez said. “It’s easier to destroy than create, and we probably needed to get one early to get the game to open up a little bit. As the game went on I think we started to press a little bit. Credit to CSU. Once we started to get control of the game they’d make a little run at us and we’d get back on our heels a little bit.”

As promised, Sanchez utilized a number of players at forward and midfield. Sophomore Taylor Kornieck started at a forward slot alongside freshman Libby Geraghty, though Sanchez substituted liberally while shuttling players between midfield and forward positions. CU owned a 10-3 advantage in shots on goal but few of those chances could be described as dangerous. One notable exception was a high line drive from Geraghty in the 81st minute that CSU goalie Hunter Peifer just barely tipped over the crossbar.

A freshman from Cherry Creek High School, Geraghty was given a starting nod in her first collegiate game but suffered what appeared to be a significant knee injury early in the first overtime. Geraghty will be reevaluated before Sunday’s home match against Colorado College, with Sanchez saying only, “It didn’t look good.”

Kornieck, who won the Pac-12 Conference Freshman of the Year in 2016 as an attacking midfielder, clearly was the focus of CSU’s defense.

“We’re at that point that we can keep up with anybody, but if anyone has a special player that has a special moment, anything can happen,” Hempen said. “(Kornieck) is a special player. We could not allow her to have a special moment.”

Defensively the Buffs featured a stable quartet throughout the match, with veterans Erin Greening, Alex Vidger, and Kelsey Aaknes lining up alongside freshman Hannah Cardenas. CU played without its most experienced defender, senior Joss Orejel, who was out of town attending her grandfather’s funeral. Sanchez said Orejel could be back in the mix for Sunday’s home opener against CC (3:30 p.m., Prentup Field).

Jalen Tompkins and Scout Watson split time at goalie, with Tompkins handling the first half and Watson anchoring the defense the rest of the way.

“I would say it’s just new players playing together. We’ve just got to find a rhythm,” Kornieck said. “We haven’t spent much time trying to connect up top. I feel like we start working on it more at practice it will definitely improve.”

Pat Rooney: or

Colorado 0, Colorado State 0

At Colorado State

Colorado (0-0-1) 0000 — 0

Colorado State (0-0-1) 0000 — 0

Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — CU: Tompkins (45-0-1), Watson (65-0-2); CSU: Brandt (45-0-5), Peifer (65-0-5).