BOULDER - The University of Colorado
soccer team said farewell to six seniors in the final game of the regular
season, as the Buffaloes tied the Utah Utes.
After two overtimes, CU and rival Utah tied 1-1 to end their second year in the Pac-12 Conference. The Buffs conclude the season with an 8-8-4 overall, 2-7-2 Pac-12 record, showing amazing improvement under first year head coach Danny Sanchez. Utah rounds out 2012 with an 8-8-3, 3-7-1 record.
Senior midfielder Shaye Marshall scored her first goal of the season in the second minute of the game. Both teams came out quick on the attack, with the Buffs' grabbing the upper hand early. Madison Krauser hit one on goal, and Marshall was ready for the rebound, tapping the ball in from the left side while goalkeeper Lindsey Luke was still down. The goal came at the 1:55 mark, the quickest the Buffs have scored all season, and the seventh fastest in CU history.
"It felt great to finally score," Marshall said. "I've been trying to score all year, and it finally came to me."
While it wasn't until the final game of the season that Marshall scored, she's been contributing all season for the Buffs, adding three assists. Marshall ends her career at CU with six total goals and four assists.
Utah responded in the 35th minute, creating a tie that would hold for the remainder of the game. A corner kick for the Utes set the ball at the left side of the net. Katie Taylor was heavily guarded, but sent the ball to the left post, where Annie Brunner took a hard dive. Just seconds later, while Brunner was still recovering, Harley Spier hit in her fifth goal of the season. Brunner stayed down after hitting the post sliding for the save, and would remain on the sideline for the remainder of the game.
"Brunner hit the post and we put Kayla (Millar) in," coach Sanchez said. "We have confidence in her. She's done it in training all year. It's Senior Day, and with all the emotions that go into that, she just got it done. She's worked so hard and I'm glad she got this moment."
Millar had a stellar performance in her final game. She played a season-high 76 minutes, grabbing four major saves in the tie. Millar has a total of 35 saves in her career, ranking 10th all-time for the Buffs.
"Danny (Sanchez) always tells us that we are going to have a moment," Millar said. "This was definitely my moment. There was no way I was going to give it anything other than 110 percent. Everyone has worked so hard this season. It was very exciting to get playing time on Senior Day. It was a really exciting day."
Two other seniors also saw playing time in their final game. Captain Amy Barczuk was strong in the backfield, helping keep the game a tie, while also taking one shot. Barczuk is one of just four players (joining Fran and Laura Munnelly and Melissa Cartmell) to have played in all of her team's games spanning a four-year career. She holds down the ninth and 12th spots in the CU record books with 76 games started of 78 games played. She also ranks sixth in minutes.
"It's meant everything," Barczuk said about being a Buff. "Obviously I'm from Colorado. I grew up watching the Buffs and all that stuff. Just to represent the school has really meant a lot to me. Sometimes people take for granted putting on that Colorado uniform, but you know, just this last year in particular really showed me just how much this program really does mean to me. It's been amazing. It's been a great experience."
Quinn Krier played 36 minutes in the finale, continuing her role as a go-to for corner and free kicks. Krier had five assists this season, tying Katie Griffin (2006) for third most assists by a senior. She is one of 16 players in CU history to have five or more assists in a single season.
Erin Bricker rounds out the graduating group, ending her career with three goals and four assists.
"Senior Day has been such a weird feeling," Marshall said. "These years have gone by so fast. It's been an amazing ride. It's hard to come out with a tie but I think we played our hardest."
The Buffs played with high energy, taking 13 shots in the game, including three in overtime. Though Utah came out with a fury in the opening minute, the Buffs grabbed the upper-hand in the second minute. Krauser had her third assist of the season, as her attack helped Marshall score at 1:55.
In the 16th minute, Marshall was at it again, this time with the help of Anne Stuller. Heather Ward struck the ball into Utah territory. Stuller then rushed the right side and crossed back to Marshall who hit a short ball that Luke narrowly saved without losing possession. Less than 10 minutes later, the tandem set up another great shot, with Stuller actually netting the ball, but an offsides call left the Buffs up 1-0.
With under 15 minutes remaining before halftime, Krier took a long free kick, sending the ball to a group of Buffs who headed the it towards the net. Utah quickly responded, as Taylor helped Spier even the score while Brunner was recovering from a hard save. The Utes picked up their intensity as Millar stepped into the net. Utah kept pressing, but the Buffs limited shots on goal with blocks and speedy saves.
Utah outshot Colorado nine to five in the second half, but couldn't break the 1-1 tie. In the 53rd minute, Kaycee Buckley worked off a fast break, sending one just left. Minutes later, Buckley had a shot off a corner kick blocked. The Utes got two more corner kicks, but couldn't get any shots past the Buffs.
With 26 minutes remaining in regulation, Krauser showcased her speed, dribbling from midfield to the box, and getting the ball to Stuller. Stuller kept the ball away from defenders near the net, and crossed to Marshall on the left side who hit the side of the net in a one-on-one look. Four minutes later, CU set up two shots from corner kicks, but couldn't score.
Utah's Jenny Hutton tested Millar, but she stopped the ball at the net and tracked it down to reject a rebound opportunity. Utah responded again to a Buffalo attack, but Millar denied them once more.
Another CU attack saw the ball move all over the pitch, as Marshall and Krasuer got the final touches on the flanks. Krauser rushed to the net again, but Luke saved the ball with 12 minutes remaining.
The Utes kept pressing for another goal, but Millar continued to come up big, racking up three saves in the second half.
CU had a few more looks in the final five
minutes, but couldn't end the game in regulation.
The Buffs outshot the Utes three to one in their eighth overtime of the season. In the first minute, Marshall hit one high. CU then won a header at midfield in the 96th minute. Barczuk turned down the middle to get the ball to Marshall. Stuller then hustled up the left side, shooting at the near post.
Things got physical in the final minutes of the first overtime, as a clash between Ward and Utah's Katie Taylor stopped the clock. Taylor stayed down in extreme leg pain and had to be carried off the pitch. The Buffs got plenty of touches with different opponents in the game, but couldn't sneak anything past the Utah defense.
The game headed for a second overtime, the Buffs' sixth of 2012, four of which have ended in ties. Though both teams edged the nets, neither could get a shot off to end the game.
"You really don't know how to feel," Sanchez said. "You're sad because the season is over, and for the seniors, your career is over. It's not a loss, but it's not a win. We were close but we just didn't quite get over the hump. It was one of those days where I think a tie was a fair result."