Final regular season homestand will be emotional one for standout CU soccer seniors

Buffs host No. 2 Stanford Thursday, Cal Sunday

Cliff Grassmick/Staff photographer
Colorado’s Taylor Kornieck is set to play her last two homes games this weekend.

There could be more than a few tears shed this weekend at Prentup Field.

Maybe some from Taylor Kornieck and JJ Tompkins who, along with their fellow seniors on the Colorado soccer team, will be playing their final games on their home turf. Quite likely a few from their family members, who have watched both players put together record-setting careers for the Buffaloes. And certainly from head coach Danny Sanchez and his staff, whose lives have been a little less stressful for four straight seasons by inking Korneick and Tompkins into the lineup nearly every game.

While Senior Day will be celebrated Sunday against Cal in the regular season home finale, the Buffs’ seniors will have an opportunity to create a lasting Prentup moment Thursday afternoon when they host No. 2 Stanford.

“We’ve talked a lot about them,” Sanchez said. “The fact that Taylor has already broken the all-time scoring record as a midfielder at the University of Colorado, I think the conversation of all-time great Buffs field players probably starts and ends with her and Nikki Marshall at the top. That’s no disrespect to Amy Barczuk and Fran Munnelly and a lot of other players. Michelle Wenino. She’ll be sorely missed, but we’re going to enjoy the last few games with her.

“And I think JJ, once again no disrespect to other goalkeepers we’ve had, is the greatest goalkeeper in the history of Colorado soccer. Not just because of the saves record, but from what she brings on the leadership side. Three-year captain and everything else she does. I think the Senior Day (on Sunday), get there early. They’ll be crying, the parents will be crying, and then me, Jason (Green) and Dave (Morgan) will be crying even more.”

Before that emotional home finale on Sunday, the Buff

Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
Colorado goalie JJ Tompkins recently set the all-time saves record at Colorado.

s have a chance to create a reason to perhaps cry tears of joy Thursday against the Cardinal. Stanford blasted CU 7-0 in California last year, the first defeat in a four-game losing streak to close the season that kept the Buffs out of the NCAA Tournament.

An upset would provide a huge boost to the Buffs’ NCAA Tournament credentials, as CU began the week at No. 35 in the RPI. A return to form by Kornieck and Tompkins certainly will be needed. Kornieck topped Marshall’s all-time points record with a goal against Oregon Oct. 3 but has been held without a point the past four games. Tompkins recently set the all-time saves record and owns three of the top four single-season save percentage marks in CU history, all of which were at least .851 or better. That number has dipped to .778 this season.

“Hopefully we’ll make a run here and have another game or two in the NCAA Tournament we can host,” Sanchez said. “But we have a lot of work to do before we get there. But they (Kornieck and Tompkins) are super special young women. Great ambassadors for the department. And the type of players that we need more of if we’re going to continue to build our program to where we want to get it to.”
No. 2 Stanford Cardinal at CU Buffs soccer

GAME TIME: Thursday, 3 p.m., Prentup Field.

BROADCAST: TV — Pac-12 Networks.

RECORDS: Stanford 13-1, 6-0 Pac-12 Conference; Colorado 10-4-1, 2-3-1.

LEADERS: Stanford — Goals: F Catarina Macario, Jr., 18; Assists: Macario 10; Goalie: Katie Meyer, R-Fr., 0.87 goals-against average; .857 save percentage. Colorado — Goals: MF Taylor Kornieck, Sr., 9; Assists: Kornieck 5; Goalie: JJ Tompkins, Sr., 1.03 goals-against average, .778 save percentage.

NOTES: CU coach Danny Sanchez confirmed this week that senior Tatum Barton will not play again due to an undisclosed personal matter, reiterating that she remains part of the team and will take part in Sunday’s Senior Day ceremony. The senior forward from Littleton had not scored a goal in 10 games but recorded 17 over the previous two seasons after transferring to CU from Texas Tech. “She’s done a lot for the program,” Sanchez said. “I broke my leg with 10 games to go my senior year and it was just over. Sometimes you don’t get to go out on the parade. Sometimes your career just ends.”…Barton’s younger sister, freshman Tessa Barton, ranks second on the team with five goals…Stanford’s Macario begins the week leading the nation in goals and ranks fifth in assists. Macario scored two goals in Stanford’s 7-0 rout of CU last year…The Cardinal leads the nation in scoring with 3.64 goals per game…Stanford leads the Pac-12 by three points over Washington. The Buffs are tied for seventh with Arizona.