NCAA tourney dreams for CU Buffs soccer pushed to brink after tie against Oregon

Early goal by Kayleigh Webb not enough for Buffs

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The Colorado women’s soccer team managed to avoid a defeat on Thursday.

Yet settling for a tie against Oregon likely put a huge dent in the Buffaloes’ goal of reaching a third consecutive NCAA Tournament.

Despite finding the back of the net relatively early against the Ducks, the visitors were able to draw even before halftime and that’s how things remained as CU played to a 1-1 draw in a Pac-12 Conference battle at Prentup Field.

The result kept the Buffs winless over their past five matches (0-3-2) and essentially puts a must-win onus on the club for each of the final four regular season games of the year, beginning with Sunday’s final home game against Oregon State (noon).

“We challenged them at halftime to play with more urgency, to play on the front foot, and I think for the most part we did,” CU head coach Danny Sanchez said. “Just that last pass, that last cross, that last touch in the box just wasn’t clean enough. Credit to Oregon. It’s tough to go on the road and get a result here.

“In overtime I think both teams had chances to win it. But like I told the team — some draws feel like wins, and some draws feel like losses. We knew we had to get a result today. So we got a result, it was not the result we wanted. So know we have everything to play for on Sunday for Senior Day.”

CU appeared on track for a big day after taking an early lead, as midfielder Kayleigh Webb collected a loose ball off a corner kick chance to blast a line drive past Oregon goalkeeper Leah Freeman. It was Webb’s second goal of the season and the fourth of her career.

However the lead, and the momentum, was short-lived for the Buffs. A defensive breakdown allowed Oregon’s Ally Cook to even the match on a header in the 31st minute off an assist from Jordan Wormdahl.

Although the Buffs dictated much of the action the rest of the way, a second goal proved elusive. CU goalie Dani Hansen made a diving save midway through the first overtime to preserve the tie and did so again early in the second overtime, but the Buffs couldn’t come up with a winner.

CU entered the match ranked 58th in the RPI and might need wins the rest of the way in order to return to the NCAA Tournament.

“You never know what’s going to go on around, and fortunately our nonconference strength of schedule was so strong it’s keeping us in the conversation for sure,” Sanchez said. “But yeah, we’re at the point now where draws aren’t going to get it done.”

Notable

CU’s Shanade Hopcroft had posted points in six of the previous seven games but was held scoreless by the Ducks… Buffs forward Tessa Barton suffered an apparent lower leg injury in the waning seconds of the match and afterward needed a cart ride to get back to the locker room…Despite the draw CU remains unbeaten (4-0-2) in its past six matches against the Ducks.

Colorado 1, Oregon 1 (2OT)

Oregon (8-2-5, 3-2-2)     1 0 0 0 — 0

Colorado (6-6-3, 1-3-3)  1 0 0 0 — 0

Goals — Colorado: Webb, 14th minute; Oregon: Cook (Wormdahl), 31st minute.

Goalies (Min.-goals allowed-saves) — Oregon: Freeman (110-1-6); Colorado: Hansen (110-1-4).