BOULDER – Though the University of Colorado soccer team ended its historic season in November with a run to the NCAA Sweet 16, it continues to receive national attention.
The Buffaloes, who finished the 2013 campaign with a 14-7-2 overall, 4-5-2 Pac-12 Conference record, were one of three Pac-12 teams to earn a spot on the Top Drawer Soccer Postseason Top 25. CU rounded out the group at the 25th spot, while two teams the Buffs defeated during the season, BYU and Colorado College, finished in the top 23.
The Buffs also received votes in the final postseason NSCAA/Continental Tire Women’s Poll. The team received votes in 10 of the final 11 regular season NSCAA polls, including being one vote shy of cracking into the top 25 in the 10th Poll.
Colorado excelled in the NCAA RPI rankings throughout the season. Their performance and strength of schedule helped them to the 22nd spot in the final rankings. CU was one of four Pac-12 teams in the top 25, and as with the Top Drawer Soccer rankings, CU grabbed two wins over teams in the top 25.
Beyond their success on the pitch, the team also had great success in the classroom. Colorado earned the NSCAA Team Academic Award for the 2012-13 academic year for posting a team grade-point average of 3.0 or higher.
Lizzy Herzl, a defender from Littleton, Colo., was recently named to the NSCAA Women’s Scholar All-America Third Team. Herzl, who holds a 3.47 GPA, is the first Buff to receive NSCAA Scholar All-America honors and one of seven Pac-12 student-athletes to earn a spot on this year’s first, second or third teams.
In her senior season, Herzl started all 23 games and played a team-high 2,115 minutes (which also ranks ninth-best all-time in a single season at CU). Herzl’s strong defensive presence earned her a spot on the Omni Hotels Colorado Women’s Soccer Classic All-Tournament Team during the non-conference portion of the season and the NSCAA/Continental Tire All-Pacific Region and the College Sports Madness All-Pac-12 Second Teams and an All-Pac-12 honorable mention honor in the postseason.
Ten soccer Buffs were named to Pac-12 Conference All-Academics teams.
Hayley Hughes, the senior defender and co-captain from Highlands Ranch, Colo., was selected as first-team Pac-12 All-Academic for the third consecutive year. Hughes, who majors in finance in the CU Leeds School of Business, with a minor in economics and certificate in quantitative finance, holds a 3.93 cumulative GPA. She was also named second-team Capital One CoSIDA Academic All-District VII. On the pitch, Hughes was part of the Buffs’ strong backline, and also scored the game-winning goal against Oregon to help the Buffs to their first ever back-to-back Pac-12 home wins.
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).
Seniors Anne Stuller and Annie Brunner truly stood out both on the team and in the national rankings.
Stuller, a forward from Boulder, ranked 57th in the nation with eight assists. She also ranked in the top 100 with 26 points.
In 2013, Stuller set single season records at CU with 93 shots and 53 shots on goal. With 36 shots on goal last season, Stuller is the only Buff to rank in the top six of that category twice. In her senior season, she racked up just three fewer points than she did in her first three seasons combined.
Her assist total ties the CU single season record, while her point total ranks second and her nine goals tie for fifth. She also holds the all-time records for points, assists and shots by a senior at CU, and ties for first in goals by a senior. Stuller concluded the regular season ranking in the Pac-12’s top seven in shots, points, assists and goals. Stuller was an integral part of the Buffs’ run to the NCAA Sweet 16, netting the game-winning goal against No. 15 Denver in the first round, and contributing an assist in the Round of 32 against No. 19 BYU. Stuller was rewarded for her record-breaking season with spots on the All-Pac-12, the NSCAA/Continental Tire All-Pacific Region and College Sports Madness All-Pac-12 Second Teams.
Brunner, the 2013 co-captain and a goalkeeper from Arvada, Colo., finished the season ranked in the nation’s top 100 in saves (87) and helped the team to the 82nd best shutout percentage (.409). Brunner had the best season of her four-year career in 2013, posting career-best figures in saves, saves per game (3.78), wins (14) and shutouts (nine) – which all rank in CU’s single season top nine. Her 1.11 goals-against average also ranks 11th. Brunner earned her second Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week title when she and the Buffs’ defense held No. 9 California (who at the time had only fallen once) scoreless for over 89 minutes before the squads tied 1-1 through two overtimes.
Brunner and 2003 Big 12 Championship team member 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 also one of just three CU keepers to record at least 14 wins in a single season. Brunner’s hard work also ranks her second all-time at CU in saves, wins, ties and shutouts. Her GAA and minutes played rank fifth, while her games started and played also rank in CU’s top 15 all-time. With 6,957 minutes spent in the net, Brunner played the fifth most minutes of any active keeper in the nation.
CU seniors weren’t the only ones to earn conference and national attention. From her first collegiate game, freshman forward Brie Hooks, a Maple Valley, Wash. native, had already made a name for herself. In the season opener, Hooks helped the Buffs to a 3-0 shutout of Northern Colorado behind a two-goal performance. Hooks is the first Buff in program history to score multiple goals in her CU debut. An important part of the Buffs’ attack throughout the season, her strengths continued to shine in postseason play. In the first round of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship, Hooks drew the foul that set up the game-winning goal and helped the Buffs to a 1-0 upset over host No. 15 Denver.
In CU’s freshman offensive record books, Hooks concluded the season ranked third with eight goals and fourth with 18 points. Her 42 shots tie for eighth. Her eight goals also tie for eighth most in a single season at CU. Her four game-winning goals tie for fourth best in a single season at CU and tie for fourth best in regular season conference play.
After the Buffs’ season ended in the Sweet 16, Hooks was called into the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team training camp. Hooks joins the likes of CU greats Amy Barczuk and Nikki Marshall as the only Buffs to get the call to a National Team camp. Hooks was also selected to the All-Pac-12 Freshman team and was Top Drawer Soccer’s 74th ranked freshman in the nation this season.
Fellow freshman Alex Huynh, a defender from Sadleir, New South Wales, Australia, also earned national attention from TDS. The site selected Huynh for the 86th spot on their Freshman Top 100. Huynh was the only CU freshman to start all 23 games, totaling 1,814 minutes. In that time, she contributed three assists, which ranks in the top nine all-time among CU freshmen.