Quickly: The University of Colorado women's soccer team begins its season with the second annual Colorado Cup. The Buffs took home the trophy last season with decisive wins against Colorado College (5-0) and Northern Colorado (3-0). This year's tournament begins Friday in Greeley with a match-up between Denver and Colorado College at 5 p.m. The Buffs take on Northern Colorado at 7:30 p.m. On Sunday, play moves to Colorado Springs with Denver facing Northern Colorado at 1 p.m. CU vs. Colorado College will follow.
Colorado vs. Northern Colorado: The Buffs look to remain undefeated against the Bears. In their five previous meetings, including last season's 5-0 shutout, Colorado has never allowed a goal against Northern Colorado.
Scouting the Bears: The Bears won a share of their first Big Sky championship last season after posting a school-best 4-1-2 conference record. Midfeilder JJ Wykstra returns for her senior season after netting five goals, having one assist and earning all-conference first team honors in her junior campaign.
Colorado vs. Colorado College: The Buffs hold a 6-2 record against the Tigers. CU dropped the teams' first two games, but has won the last six meetings, five of which have been shutouts, including a 5-0 win last season.
scouting the Tigers: The Tigers' strong offensive presence helped them to an 8-2-1 Conference USA record. Leading scorers Kaeli Vandersluis (five goals, four aassists), Brittney Lyman (five goals, one assist) and Jessie Ayers (four goals, one assist) all return for the 2012 season.
Last week: Colorado took to Prentup Field on August 11 to challenge a group of soccer alumni. The game ended in a 2-2 tie, with goals coming from freshman Carly Manso (assisted by senior Amy Barczuk) and sophomore Carly Bolyard (assisted by senior Shaye Marshall and sophomore Darcy Jerman).
PAC-12 COACHES POLL: Colorado was picked to finish 11th in this year's Pac-12 Coaches Poll. Stanford, the reigning NCAA Champion, received nine out of 11 possible first-place votes. UCLA, Cal, Oregon State and Washington rounded out the top five. Arizona State and USC followed, with Utah and Washington State tied for eighth. Oregon and Arizona were chosen as 10th and 12th.
WHO'S RETURNING: The Buffs return 14 players, including nine starters. Five returning players competed in all 19 games in 2011 (Anne Stuller, Amy Barczuk, Carly Bolyard, Shaye Marshall and Lauren Shaner). Seniors Barczuk, Marshall, Shaner, Quinn Krier, Erin Bricker and Kayla Millar hope to end their CU careers on a high note. Four of the team's top five scorers also return. Stuller, Barczuk, Hayley Hughes and Darcy Jerman contributed 12 of the team's 21 goals last season.
WHO'S NEW: Colorado welcomes aboard 13 newcomers, 12 of whom are freshmen. Nikola Machalek and Heather Ward remain in their home state of Colorado. Madison Krauser, Ashley Love, Amanda Simkins, Taylor Thurmond and former CU Gold club player Betsy Builder all hail from California. Jenna Glad and Emily Paxton both come to Colorado via Arizona, while Courtney Dudley and Elise Romano came from New Mexico and New Jersey, respectively. Former Chicago-area club teammates Olivia Pappalardo and Carly Manso round out the new crew.
Head Coach Danny Sanchez: Sanchez begins his journey with the Colorado Buffaloes this season after spending the last four with the University of Wyoming. He takes over the reins from Bill Hempen, and is joined by assistant coaches Jason Green and Don Trentham, who coached with Sanchez at Wyoming, and volunteer assistant coach Rebekah Patrick.
In his 17 years of coaching, Sanchez has built a stellar 267-60-23 record, including a pair of Division II National Championships at Metro State.
In his second year with the Cowgirls, he coached the team to its first winning season in four years, going 9-8-3. Last year, in what would be his final season, the Cowgirls posted a 12-6-4 record, its best in school history, ranking the team third in the Mountain West Conference during regular season play.
In his six seasons at Metro State, he posted an impressive 128-11-7 record. In addition to the national titles in 2004 and 2006, he helped the team to the Elite Eight five times, the Final Four in 2002 and five Midwest Region Championships.
During his tenure, the Roadrunners set Division II history with a 59-game unbeaten streak (58-0-1) and 61 consecutive home wins. He also won numerous coaching awards at Metro. He was named the 2004 NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year and the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference's All-Time Top Coach.
Prior to coming to the Centennial State, Sanchez served as the head coach for both men's and women's teams at Mesa (Ariz.) Community College from 1995-2002. He led the teams to a combined 199-51-12 record, with the women winning four National Junior College Athletic Association Region I Championships and five Arizona Community College Athletic Conference Championships.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Senior Amy Barczuk: Barczuk's teammates chose her as their 2012 team captain. In 2011, the electrifying midfielder started all 19 games, ranking just behind Kate Russell for most minutes played. She had a career season-high three goals and seven points. Two of her goals came in back-to-back games against Auburn (2-2) and CSU Bakersfield (2-1, off a penalty kick). That week's performance earned her CU Athlete of the Week honors. She also contributed an assist in CU's 5-0 shutout of Colorado College in last season's Colorado Cup. For her superb 2011 outing, Barczuk was an All-Pac-12 honorable mention selection. She was also chosen for the U.S. U-23 National Team Pool.
Junior Anne Stuller: Stuller kicked it up a notch during her sophomore season. She earned a spot as one of CU's top performers in her 18 starts and 19 total games. She led returning players with four goals, for nine total points. Her four goals tied her for eighth on CU's all-time list for sophomores, while her 49 shots landed her at fourth. Her goals would prove essential for the team, as she became the only Buff in 2011 to score more than once in a game, notching the team's two goals in a 2-2 tie against Arizona.
Junior Hayley Hughes: Hughes tied her 2010 season totals of three goals and 26 shots in her sophomore campaign. She opened the season with two goals in last year's Colorado Cup, earning her CU Athlete of the Week honors. Her third goal was the decisive one in CU's first conference win, a 1-0 game against then-ranked No. 15 California. It was not only the first Pac-12 win for the soccer team, but for all CU Division I programs as well. Hughes was one of two Buffaloes to become a 2011 Pac-12 All-Academic First Team selection.
THE SEASON: The University of Colorado women's soccer team will play nine non-conference teams and all 11 conference opponents in their sophomore season in the Pac-12.
After starting the season with the Colorado Cup, the Buffs begin play at Prentup with the Omni Hotels Colorado Women's Soccer Classic. In addition to host CU, the tournament features LIU Brooklyn, Denver and Wright State. CU takes on the Blackbirds on Aug. 24 and the Rebels on Aug. 26. It will be the Buffs' first meeting with both teams.
CU then begins a four-game road trip against some new faces and some very familiar ones. The Buffs travel to the Prairie State for their first meeting with Northwestern on Sept. 2. They return to Colorado for matches against Denver and Cincinnati in the DU Invitational from Sept. 7-9. The Buffs finish their road trip in Wyoming on Sept. 14 with a homecoming for Danny Sanchez and his coaching staff.
Colorado completes non-conference matches with a home game against Air Force on Sept. 16.
September marks the beginning of conference play for the Buffs, with the team searching for their first wins against Oregon (Sept. 21) and Washington (Sept. 28). The match-up with the Huskies begins a five-game homestand for CU. A game against Washington State concludes the month.
October is packed with Pac-12 play, with visits from three more conference opponents. The Buffs hope to strike gold once more against California after defeating the Golden Bears 1-0 in their first meeting last season. Colorado is hungry for its first wins against the reigning NCAA Champion Stanford (Oct. 7) and against Oregon State (Oct. 13).
The Buffs finish the month on a four-game road trip out West. CU heads to Los Angeles to face UCLA on Oct. 19 and Southern California on Oct. 21. The Buffs have just one win against the Bruins in four meetings, and dropped their first meeting against USC last season. Colorado searches for their first wins in Arizona against Arizona (Oct. 26) and Arizona State (Oct. 28).
CU once again closes its season against Utah, with a home match on November 2. Colorado holds a 6-2 lead against the Utes, with its two losses coming in the teams' first and most recent meetings.