Never before has the Colorado women’s soccer team traveled this deeply into a season without suffering a loss.
It is an even more commendable feat given how injuries have piled up early for the Buffaloes.
Once again utilizing a lineup marked by youngsters filling in for veterans, the Buffs remained unbeaten with a 3-0 victory Thursday against Utah Valley. Senior Jorian Baucom scored a pair of goals and junior Tatum Barton continued her scoring spree with a goal and an assist as CU improved to 7-0-1 going into the team’s nonconference finale Sunday at home against the University of Denver (1 p.m., Pac-12 Network).
Utah Valley fell to 1-7-1, but the Wolverines have played a very difficult nonconference schedule and are expected to compete for a second consecutive Western Athletic Conference tournament championship.
“This is a team that most likely will be in the NCAA Tournament,” CU coach Danny Sanchez said. “They’re well-coached. We scored the (first) goal but they had two chances before that. That easily could have been 1-0 Utah Valley.”
Most notable among CU’s absences on Thursday was junior midfielder Taylor Kornieck, who missed her third consecutive game due to a lower right leg injury. Kornieck collected two goals and six assists through the first five games, and she is expected to remain sidelined when the Buffs begin Pac-12 Conference play next week at Oregon State.
Kornieck’s injury occurred on the heels of a pair of early-season injuries that shuffled the Buffs’ defense. Hannah Cardenas, a central defender who started all 22 games as a true freshman last year, played in only three games before suffering a season-ending torn ACL. Senior defender Erin Greening has been sidelined since suffering a knee injury in the second game of the season against Colorado State. And things worsened at least momentarily on Thursday as Jesse Loren, a freshman defender who has started every game, played just 21 minutes before retreating to the bench with an ice pack.
For the fifth consecutive game since Cardenas suffered her injury, Sanchez went with a defensive lineup that included three freshmen, though senior Nancy Best replaced Loren to start the second half. The unit surrendered several good chances to Utah Valley, but CU goalies JJ Tompkins and Scout Watson made two saves apiece to post the Buffs’ sixth shutout of the season.
Cardenas is expected to redshirt and retain this season of eligibility. Like Kornieck, Greening is expected to remain sidelined as the Buffs begin conference play.
The injury situation hasn’t deterred the Buffs, who have an opportunity to finish nonconference play without a loss for the first time in program history. Baucom opened the scoring for CU Thursday, converting off a pass from Barton in the 25th minute. Barton, who began the week tied for third in the nation in goals, scored her ninth of the season a little less than 10 minutes later and Baucom capped the scoring in the 82nd minute.
“You can tell from the results and the way we’re playing that me and Tatum are really clicking,” Baucom said. “A lot of players are stepping up in place of Taylor. Everyone has been proving themselves really well and we’re getting the results that we need.”
Colorado Rapids and US National Team goalie Tim Howard attended the game…Redshirt freshman Libby Geraghty recorded an assist on Barton’s goal for the first point of her career…Tompkins was credited with the 31st win of her career, moving into a tie for third all-time at CU…Emily Groark recorded her fifth assist, becoming just the fourth CU freshman to reach that total…Former Rapids player and Colorado native Seth Trembly is an assistant coach at Utah Valley.
Colorado 3, Utah Valley 0
At Prentup Field
Utah Valley (1-7-1) 0 0 — 0
Goals (assists) — Colorado: Baucom (Barton), 25th minute; Colorado: Barton (Geraghty), 35th minute. Colorado: Baucom (Groark), 82nd minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Utah Valley: Nielsen (90-3-6); Colorado: Tompkins (45-0-2), Watson (45-0-2).