Danny Sanchez was about to be a coach in transition the one time he was able to watch Nikki Marshall play in person.
It was the fall of 2007, and Sanchez was on the verge of leaving Metro State for Wyoming, where he coached four seasons before taking over the women’s soccer program at the University of Colorado. When Metro State’s season ended, he was recruited to provide color commentary for the telecast of the Buffs’ NCAA Tournament date against Portland.
Marshall, like the rest of the Buffs, was held off the scoreboard that day. Yet by the time Marshall completed her four-year career at CU she had established career records that, while maybe not untouchable, certainly were beyond the reach of all but the most accomplished and consistent of players.
That description applies to CU’s Taylor Kornieck, whose four-year run of top-tier production has pulled the senior midfielder into a tie with Marshall for the Buffs’ all-time points lead at 93. Kornieck will have an opportunity to become the sole owner of that prestigious record in front of the home fans when the Buffs host Oregon Thursday afternoon at Prentup Field.
“(Marshall) was a special player and a special person,” said Sanchez, who had Marshall on his staff for one year as a volunteer assistant in 2016. “That was great for the team (to be on staff) and she’s still a huge supporter of the program. She’s been awesome.”
Kornieck matched Marshall while leading the Buffs’ to a 2-1 double-overtime win last week in the Pac-12 Conference opener at Arizona, scoring both CU goals. Despite a recent run in which Kornieck has posted three two-goal games over the past four contests, what may be most interesting about Kornieck’s ownership of the all-time points mark is that she doesn’t yet own the Buffs’ career record for either goals or assists.
Kornieck’s 35 goals ranks second all-time and trails Marshall’s total of 42. Kornieck has tallied eight goals at the halfway mark of the season, and if she matches that production during a second-half schedule in the Pac-12 that includes five ranked teams, it will be a well-earned record.
Fran Munnelly, who had been No. 2 on the points list with 84, remains the all-time leader in assists with 24, though Kornieck is on the cusp of taking over with 23. Kornieck is on pace to own three of the top eight single-season point totals in program history. Marshall is on that list just once with her school-record 37 points in 2006.
“I think that’s just a play-maker, right?” Sanchez said. “She’s not just a goal-scorer. She does do a lot of work defensively for us. She sets up players as well. She’s on the verge of passing another Mount Rushmore of CU players in Fran Munnelly for the assists. A lot of it is her, but a lot of it also of it is the success of the team. She wouldn’t have had a lot of those opportunities if not for the team, and I think she’d say the same thing. But you don’t get a lot of double-digit goals and assists players every year.”
Oregon Ducks at No. 17 CU Buffs soccer
GAME TIME: Thursday, 3:30 p.m., Prentup Field.
BROADCAST: Pac-12 Plus live stream.
RECORDS: Oregon 4-2-3, 0-1-0 Pac-12 Conference; Colorado 9-1, 1-0-0.
LEADERS: Oregon — Goals: F Jordan Wormdahl, So., 6; Assists: MF Sakura Yoshida, Fr., 6; Goalie: Katelyn Carter, Sr., .571 save percentage, 1.66 goals-against average. Colorado — Goals: MF Taylor Kornieck, Sr., 8; Assists: Kornieck 5; Goalie: JJ Tompkins, Sr., .846 save percentage, 0.58 goals-against average.
NOTES: The Buffs will play the rest of the season without starting defender Jesse Loren, who underwent surgery this week to repair a broken fibula suffered during last week’s win at Arizona. The loss might open the door for a return to the rotation by defender Sofia Weiner, who played in every game last season but has been sidelined all year by an injury…Freshman Roo Yarnell-Williams remains sidelined by an ankle injury suffered Sept. 12 at Florida State…Though the bulk of a very tough Pac-12 schedule remains, CU hits the midway point of the season at No. 20 in the RPI…CU senior forward Tatum Barton, who scored 11 goals last year and six the previous season, still is seeking her first goal of 2019…The Ducks opened league play with a 2-1 loss at Washington…CU hosts Oregon State on Sunday (2 p.m., Pac-12 Networks).