Boulder - The first half was promising for the University of Colorado
soccer team, but a quick California goal in overtime kept the Buffaloes
searching for their first Pac-12 win of the season. CU scored two goals in the
first 15 minutes against the Golden Bears, the only division foe they beat last
season, but late momentum by Cal ended the game in a 3-2 loss on the frigid
"It's very disappointing," captain Amy Barczuk said. "We just can't seem to catch a break. I thought we had really great moments in this game. I thought we had some of the best soccer we've played, just keeping the ball and possessing. As a team within the last three years we've gone through this, so it's just how you react from here."
At the 8:59 mark, Barczuk headed one in off a Quinn Krier corner kick. Fewer than five minutes later, junior Anne Stuller put the Buffs up 2-0. Cal's Ifeoma Onumonu scored a goal in each half, and the Bears sealed the deal off a fast-break strike from Lauren Battung in the 92nd minute.
Even in defeat, Anne Stuller continued to move up in the Colorado record books. After scoring her eighth goal of the season in the 14th minute, Stuller tied Nikki Marshall (2008) for fourth most goals by a junior. She also holds down sixth place on the junior list for most points. She has 17 points this season, putting her just one behind Melissa Cartmell (1999).
The Buffs are still fighting for a win in the conference, falling to 6-4-3 overall (0-3-1 Pac-12). California, who received votes in the most recent NSCAA poll, improved to 9-3-0 (2-1).
"The big picture is that as a program, we can't win all of them," head coach Danny Sanchez said. "That's why they're overtime. They're tight games. But we need to get some results out of it. I think this one's maybe even a little bit more disappointing than last weekend (against Washington) because this is highly ranked team. We had a two to nothing lead, and we just didn't get it done."
Colorado came out to one of their strongest starts of the season. In the opening 10 minutes, Madison Krauser found Stuller at the baseline who rushed toward the net and set up a corner kick. At 8:59, Krier hit her corner at a pack of Buffs, and Barczuk was ready, heading in her second goal of the season.
"It was one of the best balls from Quinn (Krier) I have seen or hit," Barczuk said. "I give her a lot of credit for that. I thought it was a great, great cross, and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time and put it away. It's about time I finished one."
Just minutes later, the Buffs offensive kept up its heat. Krauser and Stuller proved they make a dynamic duo, setting up CU's second goal. Stuller nutmegged an opponent and drew a foul. She faced a strong wall of defenders on her free kick, but sent the ball past them and netted a goal before Cal's Emily Kruger could react.
The Buffs grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first 15 minutes, but Cal came back with a vengeance to dominate scoring in the remainder of the game.
"Every player knows a 2-0 lead is the most dangerous lead in soccer, so we kind of had that in the back of our minds too," Stuller said.
California outshot Colorado 15 to eight in the game, and forced Annie Brunner to make five saves. The Buffs came up with some great blocks, but Cal never fell back on the attack.
With 23 minutes remaining, Cal got one on goal. Brunner took some time to recover while the Buffs defense tried to protect the net, but at 22:11, freshman Ifeoma Onumonu hit one in to put the Bears on the board.
Cal grabbed the momentum, sending a few more on goal, but not scoring again in the first half. Colorado went into the break with a 2-1 lead.
Both teams shot the ball wide within the first five minutes of the second half, fighting to control the tempo.
CU had a few chances, but couldn't net anything in the second 45. Stuller dribbled from the left of the net and crossed to Hayley Hughes who sent the ball just to the right. With 32 minutes remaining, Barczuk found Stuller who headed the ball but couldn't take a shot. The Buffs got the ball back, and Olivia Pappalardo came immensely close, hitting the crossbar. Shaye Marshall tried one last time for CU, but Kruger stopped another scoring opportunity.
California began to dominate possession in the final half hour of regulation. In the 63rd minute, Onumonu scored again to tie the game at 2-2. She got the ball after a Cal corner kick, and headed the ball past Brunner and Emily Paxton at the net.
The Bears came close to scoring a few more times in the second half causing several close calls for the Buffs. With 19 minutes remaining, Cal's Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick shot one at the left post and Onumonu got a touch but neither got past Brunner.
Though CU gained some momentum late in the game, Cal got several more scoring opportunities. For the third time in conference play this season, the game went into overtime.
"In overtime you've got to play every minute like it's the last minute," Barczuk said.
The teams kept up physical play, battling for the ball and the win. One minute and 33 seconds into overtime, Lauren Battung took a quick shot, sending the ball past Brunner and winning the game for the Bears 3-2.
The Buffs are searching for more consistency, but are happy that they're starting to put themselves in better positions to win.
"I think we have a chance to do something really special on Sunday because we're a good team and it needs to show," Stuller said.
Your CU Soccer team takes on defending national champions and No. 2 ranked Stanford this Sunday as they celebrate Student Appreciation Day! The first 100 students in the Buff Brigade section will receive FREE gift cards to Frontier Airlines, McDonald's and more! Students will also have a chance to win CU gear and Winter Park lift tickets! Also, be sure to arrive early for a special appearance and pregame run by Ralphie!