QUICKLY: After taking down ranked teams in back-to-back games, the University of Colorado soccer team will continue its record-breaking season with a trip to the Sweet 16. The Buffaloes were one of two teams to defeat a seeded team in the first round of NCAA play and were the first to advance to the third round. CU hopes to keep upsetting the competition as it faces No. 3 ranked and No. 1 seeded Florida State on Saturday, Nov. 22 at noon ET (10 a.m. MT).
INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES: For those members of the media wishing to interview the women’s soccer team during the season, please contact Graduate Assistant Sports Information Director/Soccer Contact Marlee Horn at (303) 492-7525 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
COLORADO VS. FLORIDA STATE: This will be the teams’ first ever meeting. CU holds a 3-7 record against Atlantic Coast Conference schools. The Buffs’ most recent game against an ACC opponent was in 2007, when the squad fell 4-0 to No. 10 Virginia. CU has wins over Clemson, Pitt and Wake Forest with a combined score of 8-2. Six of the Buffs’ seven losses have been to ACC teams ranked in the top 20. No. 1 ranked Notre Dame knocked the Buffs out of the 2006 Sweet 16, ending their historic run.
SCOUTING THE SEMINOLES: Florida State is by far one of the most intimidating teams the Buffs have faced this season. FSU holds a 20-1-3 record this season, falling only to ACC foe and No. 1 ranked Virginia. The ACC Tournament Champions have made their 12th Sweet 16 appearance (in 14 consecutive NCAAs), first defeating South Alabama 5-0 and then beating No. 22 Ole Miss 3-1. The Seminoles are unbeaten through their last 33 games at Seminole Soccer Complex. FSU is 29-1-0 at home in the NCAAs, outscoring its opponents 88-16, with the Noles’ only loss happening in the 2009 Elite Eight. Junior Dagny Brynjarsdottir leads 13 goal scorers with 12 goals, three assists and six game-winners. Redshirt-freshman Berglind Thorvaldsdottir and junior Marta Bakowska-Mathews have each netted seven and six goals, respectively. Junior Megan Campbell is an assisting machine, helping her teammates to 10 points. In the net, redshirt-senior goalkeeper Kelsey Wys has allowed just 13 goals while grabbing 60 saves. She holds a 0.52 goals-against average while shutting out 13 opponents. The Noles, who boast an impressive eight international players on their roster, have defeated 10 teams ranked in the top 25, including five in the top 10. FSU ranks in the top 50 nationally in GAA, shutout percentage, save percentage, assists, scoring offense and points.
GAMEDAY CENTRAL: Can’t make it to Tallahassee? Find everything you need to know for Saturday’s game and view live stats at buffs.me/1i01HsO. Get coach Sanchez’s thoughts on the Sweet 16 match-up at http://ow.ly/r6jKf. Stay up to the minute by following @CUBuffsSoccer on Twitter.
UPSET ALERT: For the second consecutive game, the Buffs beat a ranked team. On Thursday evening, CU knocked off No. 19 BYU 2-1, putting an end to the Cougar’s eight game unbeaten streak and season. Though the Cougars edged the Buffs in shots (17 to 11) and shots on goal (seven to five), CU netted the shots that mattered most, and keeper Annie Brunner grabbed six saves. Though the Cougars entered the game holding the nation’s 19th best goals-against average and 29th best shutout percentage, the CU attack was too much for West Coast Conference Goalkeeper of the Year Erica Owens. Goals by Emily Paxton and Carly Bolyard helped lead the Buffs to just their second Sweet 16 in school history.
LAST WEEK: CU seniors got their first ever taste of victory over No. 15 and fourth-seeded Denver on Saturday in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. The Buffs’ backline held DU’s two leading scorers and record-breaking seniors Kristen Hamilton and Nicholette DiaGiacomo (who helped Denver become one of just 16 Division I teams with multiple double-digit scorers) to just three shots combined, with none on goal. In the 84th minute, Brie Hooks was fouled just outside the left corner of the box, setting up the free kick that would give the Buffs the game. Anne Stuller bent her shot over the wall of defenders, getting the ball to deflect and reach the far post for her ninth goal of the season. CU handed Denver just its second loss of the season as the Buffs got revenge on the Pioneers after DU’s 3-0 win earlier in the season put an end to the Buffs’ record-setting start of six wins to begin the 2013 campaign.
SUPER SWEET 16: The Buffs have matched their program-best NCAA performance with a trip to the Sweet 16. The Buffs made six consecutive tournaments from 2003-08, posting a 4-6-1 record. After advancing to the Round of 32 for the first time since 2007, CU dances all the way to the Sweet 16 - where they ended their season in 2006.
IN THE RANKS: The Buffs received votes in 10 of the final 11 regular season NSCAA/Continental Tire Women’s Polls. FSU finished third in the final regular season poll, sitting behind only Virginia and UCLA. The Buffs have faced stiff competition this season and hold a 2-3-1 record against ranked opponents. CU is no stranger to shining as an underdog, beating ranked opponents for the first time since 2010, when the Buffs beat No. 12 UCLA and No. 6 Texas A&M in back-to-back games. The No. 6 Aggies are the highest ranked team the Buffs have ever defeated.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A COACH MAKES: Second year head coach Danny Sanchez has been outstanding at the helm of CU. This season, Sanchez recorded his 20th win with the program, exactly 10 wins faster than his most recent predecessor. In former coach Bill Hempen’s final season in 2010, the Buffs only won four games, and lost a record 13. In just two seasons, Sanchez has drastically turned that around, posting eight wins in his first year and 14 in 2013.
NOT-SO-COMMON GROUND: With a win over BYU in Tallahassee, the Buffs improved to a perfect 4-0 in neutral site games. Earlier this season, CU defeated Northern Colorado (in the Colorado Cup) and Alabama and UT Martin (in the DU Invitational) all in the not-so unfriendly site of Denver.
SHATTERING EXPECTATIONS (AND RECORDS): The Buffs have broken numerous records this season. First they marked program firsts by shutting out their first five opponents and beating their first six. The Buffs set another record by completing the non-conference portion of the season with eight wins. Two games into the postseason, the Buffs have extended that record to 10. After back-to-back 11th place finishes in their first two seasons in the Pac-12 Conference, the Buffs were chosen to finish 10th in the 2013 Pac-12 Women’s Soccer Coaches Poll. During conference play, the Buffs got their first ever wins over Oregon State and Oregon (also their first Pac-12 home wins) and Washington. The Buffs broke expectations this season, finishing tied for sixth in conference play, though at one point in the season, they were tied for second place. Colorado continued to prove its strength, becoming one of six Pac-12 members to make the NCAA Tournament. Along with UCLA and Stanford, CU was one of three teams to advance to the second round of play. This is also just the fifth season that the Buffs have won at least 14 games (also done in 2003, ‘04, ‘06 and ‘08 - all years the Buffs made a trip to the NCAAs). Several Buffs are primed to join the elite group of players to have started 23 games in a single season.
SUCCESS ON AND OFF THE PITCH: Three members of the CU soccer team earned spots on All-Pac-12 Conference teams. Seniors Anne Stuller and Lizzy Herzl were named second-team and honorable mention, respectively, while newcomer Brie Hooks was selected to the Freshman Team. This is the first all-conference honor for each. For the second straight year, Stuller and Herzl were also honored as College Sports Madness All-Pac-12 Conference Second Team selections. Senior co-captain Hayley Hughes received her fifth and sixth academic honors, earning Capital One CoSIDA Academic All-District VII Second Team and first-team Pac-12 All-Academic honors. Nine Buffs were selected as Pac-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention: Carly Bolyard (Jr., speech, language and hearing sciences), Annie Brunner (Sr., management), Lizzy Herzl (Sr., communication), Darcy Jerman (Jr., communication), Bianca Jones (Jr., management and finance), Madison Krauser (So., studio art), Olivia Pappalardo (So., psychology and sociology), Anne Stuller (Sr., philosophy) and Heather Ward (So., sociology). Dating back to their time in the Big 12, the Buffs have placed at least eight student-athletes to conference all-academic teams in each of the last three years. The team has also earned the NSCAA Team Academic Award for the 2012-13 academic year for posting a team grade point average of 3.0 or higher. The Buffs posted a team GPA of 3.36. Head coach Danny Sanchez has led his teams to six NSCAA Team Academic Awards.
PAX-ING IN GOALS: Emily Paxton netted her second goal of the season on Thursday to give the Buffs a 1-0 lead against BYU. Paxton got to the ball following a Stuller corner kick, shooting to the far post to send the ball off a Cougar defender in the 21st minute. Paxton has scored two goals in each of the last two seasons, ranking second among sophomores.
CARLY GOES YARD: Carly Bolyard hit the determining goal to help the Buffs to victory over BYU. In the 34th minute, from 18 yards out, Bolyard took a beautiful shot that reached BYU keeper Erica Owens, who wasn’t able to hold onto the ball and could only watch as the ball slid into the net. The goal was Bolyard’s first since she netted the game-winning goal and contributed an assist in the Buffs’ 5-0 win over Colorado College in the 2011 Colorado Cup.
MAD ABOUT MADI: Madison Krauser assisted the Buffs’ game-winning goal against BYU. Krauser has now contributed six assists this season, which ties for sixth best in a single season at CU.
SHOOT 'EM UP ANNE: Anne Stuller continues to shine in what has been the best season of her already impressive four-year career. With a goal and an assist in the Buffs’ first two NCAA games, Stuller remains a key part of the CU attack. Stuller continues to extend the single season records she’s set as a senior for shots (91) and shots on goal (52). With 36 shots on goal last season, Stuller is the only Buff to rank in the top six of that category twice. With 26 points, off nine goals and eight assists, this season, she ranks second in a single season at CU and is just three shy of her total from her first three seasons combined. Stuller is the first Buff to net at least nine goals since Gianna DeSaverio netted nine in 2008. Stuller and Kathryn Grandinetti (2003) are the only Buffs to have eight assists in a single season - setting the mark at CU. Stuller holds the all-time top spot for points, assists and shots by a senior at CU and is tied for first in goals by a senior. Stuller also ranks in the top five in the CU career record books in points, goals, game-winning goals, shots and shots on goal (with 117 SOG, she’s just four shy of tying the all-time record). She also ties for sixth most career assists (with eight of her 11 assists coming in her final season).
BRUNNER’S BEST: Senior goalkeeper and co-captain Annie Brunner has had her best season to date, further solidifying her place as one of CU’s best. Last Saturday, she recorded her ninth shutout of the season, the first time the Buffs have done so since 2008. She and Jessica Keller are the only Buffs to have at least nine shutouts in a single season and record at least seven in back-to-back seasons. Brunner is now the second-winningest keeper in program history with 32 in her career. Brunner has contributed to 24 total shutouts, and in 2013 has posted career-best season totals of 84 saves, a 3.82 save percentage and 0.98 goals-against average. With over 6,800 minutes played in her career, Brunner ranks sixth all-time at CU and ninth among the nation’s active goalkeepers.