Boulder - In a blink of the eye, the University of Colorado soccer team tied up their Pac-12 Conference home opener against Washington. And in another blink in overtime, the Buffs fell 2-1 to the Huskies.
CU freshman Emily Paxton tied the game at 1-1 with just over eight minutes left in regulation. Just over 30 seconds into overtime, Washington claimed their first Pac-12 win of the season.
"I thought we played with a lot of heart, and it felt so good to get that goal, but then I thought all the emotion after we scored caused us to let down a little bit," Paxton said.
Colorado outshot Washington 18-15, but the Huskies had twice as many corner kicks (eight to four). With 11 shutouts between the two teams this season, defense was key.
CU's stellar goalkeeper Annie Brunner had four saves in the loss. The Buffs couldn't find the answer to netting balls against the Pac-12's leading saver Kari Davidson, who had five saves in Friday's game.
The Buffs had a hard time reaching the net in the first half, but came back strong after the break, making Davidson earn all her saves in the second half.
In just their second loss of the season, the Buffs fall to 6-2-3 overall (0-1-1 Pac-12). Washington improves to 8-2-1 (1-1).
Washington and Colorado fought for possession throughout the first half, with the Huskies grabbing the upper hand in the 20th minute.
With 30 minutes remaining, Hayley Hughes crossed the ball to Anne Stuller who was blocked, something the UW defense would do multiple times before halftime.
Just minutes later, from midfield, Quinn Krier found Hughes open near the net, but once again Washington's defense stopped the Buffs.
The Huskies began to dominate on offense, culminating in a goal at the 19:05 mark. Allie Beahan shot one into the far post too fast for Brunner to get the stop.
Washington kept attacking, and with less than 16 remaining took another shot. Christina Archer hit one high, and Brunner tipped it away, grabbing her first save of the game.
Stuller took five shots in the first half alone (eight total in the game), but had another blocked with 13 minutes remaining in the half. Davidson struggled to keep control of the ball, but no Buffs were able to capitalize.
UW took a pair of corners in the closing minutes, but the Buffs defense kept the game at 1-0 going into the break.
The Buffs came out hot after halftime. Less than two minutes in, Madison Krauser rushed to the net and sent one just wide. Minutes later, Stuller faced the same fate.
"We played well in the second half, I thought," head coach Danny Sanchez said. "In the first half we came out kind of tentative. But, in the second half I'm not sure if they [Washington] had a lot of quality looks at the goal and we had about two or three, and we scored on one of them."
Stuller showed her strength in free kicks, getting one right at the goal, and forcing Davidson's first save of the game.
The Huskies took five corners in the second half, but Brunner and the CU defense were quick on saves and blocks. With less than 25 minutes remaining in the half, Beahan tried to get her second goal of the game, but was shut down by freshman Heather Ward.
CU picked up momentum in the final 20 minutes of regulation. A couple free kicks for the Buffs helped catch Davidson off guard in the following plays. There were 13 minutes on the clock when Darcy Jerman got it to Krauser who made Davidson work hard for another save. A minute later, Jerman took a shot of her own.
This helped the Buffs build up necessary steam, and at the 81:22 mark, they tied things up. Colorado worked the pitch, with Jerman crossing the ball to captain Amy Barczuk. Barczuk sent one at the keeper, and while Davidson was still recovering, Emily Paxton took advantage of the situation to score her first goal as a Buff.
"I saw that it was a great ball," Paxton said. "Amy (Barczuk) came into the box real aggressive. I thought she was going to score at first but then I saw the rebound, and I was right in front of the goal. So, I took a shot."
The game stayed tight in the closing minutes of regulation, but it wasn't until overtime that the Huskies proved dominant. Just 32 seconds into extra time, UW's leading scorer Lindsay Elston won the game. With Washington rapidly attacking, the Buffs couldn't stop the Huskies and Elston got one past Brunner on the right edge of the net.
"I think what it was the service came in, and a player kind of whiffed at it," Sanchez said. "I think everyone was ready for that shot and didn't expect the ball to kind of trickle to the far post. A player was there, so I think at the end of the day it was more of, they put the ball in a dangerous spot and when you do that, things happen for you."
Despite the home field loss, Sanchez said his team has to move forward and keep games tight against Pac-12 opponents.
"Every game is going to be competitive, hopefully," Sanchez said. "Washington State, last Thursday, tied UCLA. UCLA is one of the top two or three programs in the country. So, we can't feel sorry for ourselves right now. We have to get back at it tomorrow, talk about Washington State, and come out strong on Sunday."
To finish up the weekend the Buffs will face Washington State on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Be sure to stick around after Sunday's game for a special autograph session with the team! Remember general admission and parking are FREE for CU Soccer games.