The Colorado Buffaloes played a tight first half, but it was the Washington State Cougars that broke free in the second half at Prentup Field on Sunday. WSU scored two goals in the final 45 minutes to net its seventh consecutive win, 2-0.
The two sides played a scoreless first half. The Buffs had a 6-4 advantage in corner kicks through the first period but couldn’t get their set-piece magic to work.
WSU (9-1-1, 3-0-0 Pac-12) got the opening goal in the 58th minute from Elyse Bennett and a second tally from Alyssa Gray to notch WSU’s third straight win over the Buffs. WSU keeper Nadia Cooper made three saves in the first half to keep the game even. She finished with five saves on the afternoon.
“I thought we played well in the first half,” head coach Danny Sanchez said after the loss. “It’s just disappointing to give up that first goal that really came from nothing. Having said that, it was still a game that we could get something out of. Obviously, the second goal was a backbreaker, but over the 90 minutes we didn’t do enough to deserve a result.”
Colorado (6-4-2, 1-1-1 Pac-12) was led by Shyra James and her four shots. Kayleigh Webb accounted for two of CU’s five shots on net. Dani Hansen made six saves on WSU’s eight shots on net.
Controversy surrounded WSU’s second goal in the 72nd minute. Hansen’s goal kick was won by the Cougars and played back on the offense by Elaily Hernandez-Repreza. The ball looked to have been played well offside, but the flag never went up. Gray avoided the lone defender charging back and beat Hansen to the lower right corner.
The CU bench picked up a yellow card immediately following WSU’s second goal. From there the game got a little chippy with WSU getting yellow cards of its own in the 72nd and 87th minute.
The Buffs are off to Los Angeles next week for a pair of matches. CU will take on No. 21 Sothern California on Thursday (5 p.m. MT) and No. 3 UCLA on Sunday (1 p.m. MT).