At some point, if the Colorado women’s soccer team hopes to claw its way into the NCAA Tournament picture, the Buffaloes need to find a way to put a few shots into the back of the net.
It didn’t happen on Friday, and now the Buffs’ path to a potential postseason berth just became a little more difficult.
It wasn’t a completely disastrous result for CU at Prentup Field, as the Buffs and visiting Arizona played to a scoreless draw through two overtimes. But with only two games remaining in the regular season, the Buffs essentially are in a must-win situation the rest of the way if they hope to crack the 48-team field for the spring version of the NCAA Tournament.
Since posting a 3-2 win in double overtime against USC on March 14, the Buffs have managed to score just two goals over the past five games. That stretch includes the 20 minutes of overtime on Friday and seven minutes of extra time in a 1-0 overtime loss against Washington State on March 27.
“I’m generally pleased with how we played today. I thought we created a lot more opportunities today than we probably did in our last two or three games combined,” CU head coach Danny Sanchez said. “We’ll take the positives from that. I thought we did a really good job of dealing with Arizona’s dangerous attacking players.
“We had a couple good opportunities to win the game. It’s small margins, and unfortunately the ball just wouldn’t go in for us today.”
CU enjoyed several opportunities to post a goal in the second half but was repeatedly turned away.
In the 59th minute, a corner kick from freshman Lawson Willis led to a header chance for Hannah Sharts that ticked off the crossbar. An ensuing rebound opportunity for Shyra James was cleared off the goal line by the Arizona defense.
James figured in another scoring chance in the 82nd minute when a slick move along the right wing led to an open crossing pass that narrowly evaded a header attempt from CU sophomore Kyla Ferry. Ferry did get her head on a shot attempt minutes later, but Arizona goalie Hope Hisey tipped the potential go-ahead goal over the net.
At the defensive end, CU goalie Dani Hansen made a pair of stops in one sequence late in the second overtime to preserve the tie. Hansen finished with 11 saves while posting her sixth shutout of the season.
CU (7-5-2, 3-4-2 Pac-12) has two regular season games remaining, beginning Sunday at home against Arizona State.
“With two games remaining in the regular season, I think we kind of are who we are at this point,” Sanchez said. “We changed things up a little bit during the game, we changed things up a little bit in overtime to try to get our dangerous players on the ball. There’s that extra moment of composure, that extra moment of quality, that just wasn’t quite there today.
“But I have to look at it with a bigger lens, and the bigger lens is we did create more opportunities today.”
Arizona 0, Colorado 0 (2 OT)
Arizona 0 0 0 0 — 0
Colorado 0 0 0 0 — 0
Saves: Arizona — Hisey 7; Colorado — Hansen 11.