Game preview: CU Buffs soccer hosts Northern Colorado in NCAA Tournament match

Buffs topped Bears during regular season

Northern Colorado at CU Buffs soccer

GAME TIME: NCAA Tournament first round match, Saturday, noon, Prentup Field.

BROADCAST: TV — Pac-12 Networks.

RECORDS: Northern Colorado 9-10-4, 4-2-3 Big Sky Conference; Colorado 11-7-2, 3-6-2 Pac-12 Conference.

LEADERS: Northern Colorado — Goals: MF/F Taylor Bray, Jr., 6; Assists: F Kaitlyn Meeder, Jr., 4; Goalie: Ashley Franza, So., .756 save percentage, 1.13 goals-against average. Colorado — Goals: MF Taylor Kornieck, Sr., 11; Assists: Kornieck 5; Goalie: JJ Tompkins, Sr., .778 save percentage, 1.25 goals-against average.

NOTES: The Buffs are in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in seven seasons and the 11th time overall…UNC earned an automatic NCAA tourney berth by winning three games in five days as the No. 4 seed to capture the Big Sky Conference tournament championship…The Buffs are 9-0 all-time against UNC, but this is the teams’ first postseason matchup…Tompkins is on pace to become the first CU goalie in program history to play every minute of an entire season…Among current Buffs players only Kornieck (one goal, one assist) and senior defender Kesley Aaknes (one assist) have registered points for CU in NCAA tourney play…CU topped the Bears 4-0 at home on Sept. 19. Kornieck led the win with two goals and an assist. “When you look at our match earlier this year, it’s not coach-speak but you really can’t count it,” CU coach Danny Sanchez said. “It was their third straight Power 5 game on the road. It was their second stretch of three games in five days. Four of those six were on the road. (UNC coach Tim Barrera) really beefed up his nonconference schedule to get ready for things like the Big Sky tournament, where you had to win three games in five days. And they did.” As far as seeing a team for the second time in a season, Sanchez added, “They’re never the same games. They’re always different results. We know it’s going to be a tough matchup.”…The winner advances into a second-round date against either Belmont or North Carolina, one of the four No. 1 seeds in the 64-team field.