Gabbi Chapa’s soccer journey has been somewhat circuitous, but it is a familiar one within the Colorado program.
After graduating from Doherty High School in Colorado Springs, Chapa figured it would be prudent to branch out her horizons, opting to continue her career at the University of Illinois. Yet Chapa soon returned to Colorado and found a home with the Buffaloes, charting a similar career path as recent Buffs (and Colorado natives) like Becca Rasmussen, Megan Massey, and Tatum Barton.
Unlike those former Buffs, however, Chapa is uncertain just how her senior year will unfold. Last week’s announcement by the Pac-12 Conference postponing all athletic competition until at least Jan. 1 took the wind out of the sails of a CU soccer program that has reached the NCAA Tournament in five of the past seven seasons.
“It’s a little change-up. Our dynamic is kind of split into two groups as of now,” Chapa said. “I think that’s been the most challenging thing, being a team unit but in two separate groups. You don’t really see half of the group. I think that’s hard for the team chemistry. It was kind of unfortunate to hear that news. But we’re here, we’re going to train, and that’s all we can look forward to right now — just being together and potentially have an opportunity to play in the spring.”
If the Buffs do get a chance to play in the spring, Chapa will be one of the few veterans on an otherwise young team. The Buffs have just four seniors and only one of them, Katie Joella, has been a four-year player at CU. Regardless of how the possible spring schedule plays out, that small group of seniors will have an opportunity to return for the 2021 season, as on Friday the NCAA approved eligibility relief for all fall sports athletes, much like what occurred this past spring.
“I think we’re still trying to figure out who is going to be in that leadership role and who wants to take on that task,” said Chapa, a defender who started all 22 games last year. “Just with all of this COVID craziness happening right now, people are trying to understand their role and trying to understand how they’re going to be the person who represents the team the best outside of practice, in practice. I think everybody is battling with it in different ways.”
Like Chapa, Jenna Ewert from the CU volleyball team has been expecting to move into a bigger leadership role in 2020 after serving as the Buffs’ primary setter the past two years. In the past few weeks, those leadership duties have been focused on turning the disappointment of a postponed season into a reason to focus with a possible season looming in January.
“A lot of the girls, we were trying to guess what was going to happen. There wasn’t a lot of information. Nobody really knew what was going on,” Ewert said. “Some of us were optimistic and were like, ‘They’ll figure it out and we’ll have a season.’ But in the end when they canceled it, a lot of the girls were really sad. A lot were kind of devastated, especially some sophomores coming into their second season.
“But I think a lot of us were…I don’t want to say relieved, but having our season not canceled but just pushed back to January. Even having an opportunity to have a season this year, a lot of us are optimistic about that.”
The fifth annual CU Golf Day, the primary fundraising event for the men’s golf program, will be held Aug. 31 at Boulder Country Club. For more information contact head coach Roy Edwards at email@example.com or visit CUBuffs.com/events.