Early indications are the Colorado women’s soccer team probably isn’t going to be an offensive juggernaut.
That might be OK, though. If the Buffaloes keep playing defense as dominantly as they have through the season’s first three games, CU will survive just fine even with a minimum of goals.
The Buffs kept their perfect defensive ledger intact on Friday, posting their third consecutive shutout in a 1-0 victory against Texas Christian at Prentup Field.
“TCU is a good team and we knew they had 10 goals in their first two games,” CU goalie Jalen Tompkins said. “We knew this was going to test our defense. We knew they make a lot of diagonal runs, so we really wanted to watch that and I think communication is a big part of that. Our defense, I’m really proud of them. From the first half to the second half our defense was just a step ahead of everything.”
While TCU loaded up on hyphenated opponents for its opening weekend — the club routed Louisiana-Monroe and Texas-San Antonio by identical 5-0 scores last week — the Horned Frogs did what they were supposed to against outmatched opponents by launching a total of 29 shots on goal over the two games.
Against the Buffs, TCU didn’t record a single shot on goal. The most dicey of the Horned Frogs’ scant scoring chances occurred in the 75th minute, but senior backup defender Courtney Fedor made the defensive play of the game by breaking up the opportunity.
Overall, the Buffs (2-0-1) have started the season by posting a total scoreless streak of 301 minutes, 13 seconds. Although there have been only minor alterations, Friday’s starting quartet on defense — Kelsey Aaknes, Joss Orejel, Hannah Cardenas, and Erin Greening — was the third different pairing in as many games.
“Obviously the key to the match was our back four, and I’d include Courtney Fedor in that. I thought she was fantastic off the bench,” CU coach Danny Sanchez said. “There was some chances but no clear-cut chances. No shots on goal but a lot of half-chances that they dealt with. I thought (Tompkins’) communication was key for a lot of that.”
CU received all the offense it required in the 33rd minute when Orejel launched a crossing pass from the left wing. Sophomore midfielder Taylor Kornieck used every inch of her 6-foot-1 frame to direct a header past TCU goalkeeper Katie Lund.
Kornieck owns both CU goals on the young season, having delivered a winner in double-overtime last week against Colorado College, and her tally on Friday counted as one of just two shots on goal by the Buffs against TCU. Yet it was more than enough for a defense that is making opposing scoring chances as rare as this week’s solar eclipse.
It was the first time the Buffs have held an opponent without a shot on goal since a win against Stony Brook on Sept. 20, 2013.
“Our main goal was to have another shutout weekend, and that’s still our goal obviously. We’re halfway there with another game on Sunday (against UC-Riverside),” Orejel said. “It’s just kind of blocking shots, making sure nothing gets behind us or reaches J.J.
“Everyone, I feel like, is the goal for the season is to have a shutout season. Which is really hard, obviously. But we’re going strong so far. Hopefully we can keep it up. Regardless of the score in the next game, we’re going to be aiming for the same thing.”
Pat Rooney: email@example.com or twitter.com/prooney07
Colorado 1, TCU 0
At Prentup Field
TCU (2-1-0) 0 0 — 0
Goals (assists) — Colorado: Kornieck (Orejel, Aaknes), 33rd minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — TCU: Lund (90-1-1); Colorado: Tompkins (90-0-0).