Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
It’s certainly far too early for any of the Colorado soccer team’s offensive players to hit the panic button.
Still, head coach Danny Sanchez certainly can be excused if he starts wondering when his work-in-progress attack will finally take off.
Unlike the season opener on Friday, the Buffaloes survived another uneven offensive effort when Tatum Barton delivered a pass to Taylor Kornieck for the winning goal 1 minute, 13 seconds into the second overtime for a 1-0 victory against Colorado College on Sunday at Prentup Field.
Kornieck’s tally ended a season-opening scoring drought of just over 211 minutes for CU.
“A lot of credit to Colorado College. They came in with a good game plan, low-pressure with 11 players behind the ball. It was tough,” Sanchez said. “I thought we made an adjustment at halftime, and we had a lot more pressure in the second half. And then overtime it was coming. It was just a matter if we had enough time to get it done.
“Five-nothing, one-nothing, we’ll take it. It was a much-needed win for the confidence of the team. Because things are only going to get tougher from here.”
Barton was a late addition to the Buffs’ roster after she opted to transfer back to her native Colorado following just one season at Texas Tech. Barton still is learning her way around campus, let alone trying to find cohesion with her new Buffs teammates on the attack.
Yet the sophomore forward made a patient play on the winning goal, dropping a pass back to Kornieck, whose blast put the Buffs in the win column for the first time in 2017.
“It was huge for us. It’s such a big confidence-booster for the forwards and our whole team,” said Barton, a native of Littleton and a graduate of Columbine High School. “I love Colorado, and I’m happy to be home and happy to be part of this team.
“This is a great school and a great soccer program.”
While the Barton-to-Kornieck tally sparked a joyous celebration at the end of a Colorado Cup tripleheader at Prentup, CU still is attempting to fit the right pieces into an offense that graduated its top two forwards from 2016.
The Buffs created chances that were better and more plentiful than during their scoreless draw that opened the season Friday at Colorado State — most notably a blast from Cassie Phillips that ricocheted off the crossbar and a Kornieck header that CC goalie Jade Odom was just able to tip aside early in the first overtime — yet finding offensive cohesion remains a challenge heading into next weekend’s home dates against Texas Christian and UC-Riverside.
At the other end of the field the Buffs’ defense again was superb, limiting the Tigers to just four shots on goal. CU’s defense has allowed just seven shots on goal through two games, which includes an extra 31-plus minutes of overtime action.
Sanchez rotated his goalies the same way he did at Colorado State, with Jalen Tompkins getting the start and Scout Watson taking over after halftime.
“There was a block of six — two holding mids and four in the back — who really stayed home. It was tough for us to break down,” Sanchez said. “I thought the first half, once again we were impatient. I thought the second half we changed things up, created some space for our players, but the game started to get a little stretched. I thought we started to lose the midfield a little bit.
“So in the overtime we went back to the original plan, and I thought in the first overtime we had two or three really good chances and obviously a very good goal at the end.”
In the earlier games of Sunday’s tripleheader, Denver posted a 1-0 overtime victory against Colorado State, and Northern Colorado earned a 2-0 shutout against Air Force.
Colorado 1, Colorado College 0
At Prentup Field
Colorado College (0-2-0)0000—0
Goals (assists) — CU: Kornieck (Barton), 102nd minute.
Goaiies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — CC: Odom (102-1-3); CU: Tompkins (45-0-1), Watson (57-0-2).