LAS VEGAS – The University of Colorado soccer team dropped its first match of the season 1-0 to Kent State on Sunday in the final game of the UNLV Nike Invitational.
The Buffs (3-1-0) created scoring chances throughout the entire match, but were unable to find the back of the net thanks to Kent State’s strong defense, which included a handful of nice saves by the Golden Flashes’ goalkeeper Stephanie Senn.
Midway through the first half, the Buffs put the pressure on Kent State, reeling off a series of shots. In the 20th minute, junior Kahlia Hogg took a shot that went wide right and a few minutes later senior Carly Bolyard, launched the ball toward Kent State’s goalkeeper, forcing Senn to make a diving save.
Although both teams combined for 11 shots through the first 45 minutes of the match, the game remained scoreless at halftime.
The Buffs continued their aggressive play in the second period. Only a minute into the frame, freshman forward Brittney Stark had an opportunity with ball just inside the Kent State goal box. Stark launched the ball toward the net and it landed in the hands of the Golden Flashes’ goalkeeper.
After a back-and-fourth battle, the turning point in the match came with less than five minutes remaining when Kent State picked off a Colorado pass. In a two-on-two situation, Kent State’s Karli Paracca drove the ball down the center of the field and found teammate Jenna Hellstrom. Hellstrom made a move around a CU defender inside the goal box. Colorado goalkeeper Kate Scheele came running out in an attempt to break up the play and saved the initial shot by Hellstrom. The ball bounced back into play and Paracca had an empty net in front of her, burying her shot in the top right corner and giving Kent State the 1-0 lead.
It was the first goal CU has allowed this season.
“I think all the credit goes to Kent State,” said head coach Danny Sanchez. “We had a spurt in the middle of the first half and a spurt right before they scored where we were creating some good chances, but they defended well and they got the goal they needed on the counter attack to win it. I give them a lot of credit for the victory.”
Kent State improves to 3-1-0, while the Buffs fall to 3-1-0 overall.
Colorado finished in second place, behind champion Kent State in the UNLV Nike Invitational, going 1-1 in two matches. Senior Carly Bolyard, senior Tori Cooper, sophomore Brie Hooks and senior Darcy Jerman were named to the UNLV Nike Invitational All-Tournament Team for their impressive play over the weekend.
Bolyard was also named the tournament’s Outstanding Offensive Player after scoring two goals and recording three shots in the Buffs 3-0 victory over UNLV on Friday.
The Buffaloes return home to Prentup Field on Friday, Sept. 5 to face the Kansas Jayhawks. It will be the first meeting between the two teams since Colorado left the Big 12 Conference. Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m.