DENVER – Colorado finally tasted victory against fourth-seeded Denver when it was most important – in the first round of the NCAA championship.
With less than seven minutes remaining in regulation, senior standout Anne Stuller netted the game winner to give the Buffs the 1-0 victory.
In Stuller and her fellow seniors’ time at CU, the Buffs had never gotten a win against their in-state rival Denver. That changed Saturday in front of a crowd of 1,394 at Denver’s CIBER Field. In just their third win in Denver, the Buffs reclaimed the slight series edge against the Pioneers at 9-8-1. The Buffs are now 2-0 against the Pioneers in NCAA play.
The Buffs got further revenge on the Pioneers after DU claimed a 3-0 win at CIBER Field earlier in the season to put an end to the Buffs’ recording-setting start of six wins to begin the 2013 campaign.
After remaining winless in their final four games of the season, the Buffs improve to 13-6-2 overall after finishing tied for sixth in the Pac-12 Conference with a league mark of 4-5-2. CU advances to the round of 32 for the first time since 2007, when the Buffs fell to No. 3 Portland in the second round of tournament play. The win was the Buffs’ first against a ranked opponent since 2010, when the squad took down No. 12 UCLA and No. 6 Texas A&M in back-to-back games.
Denver suffers just its second loss of the season, falling to 18-2-1 as its impressive season is put to an end.
The Buffs just edged the Pioneers in nearly every category. CU outshot DU 15 to 13, with six on goal to DU’s three. CU also took three more corner kicks (seven to four), helping set up more shooting opportunities at the net. The Buffs’ backline held DU’s two leading scorers and record-breaking seniors Kristen Hamilton and Nicholette DiaGiacomo, who helped Denver become one of 16 Division I teams with multiple double-digit scorers, to just three shots combined, with none on goal.
In the 84th minute, Brie Hooks was fouled just outside the left corner of the box, setting up the free kick that would give the Buffs the game. Stuller, who has become known for her striking ability, bent her shot over the wall of defenders, getting the ball to deflect and reach the far post.
Denver would send everyone forward in the final six minutes, taking three more shots and two corners, but the Buffs would hold strong in the closing minutes to claim the win.
CU joins UCLA and Stanford as the only Pac-12 teams to advance to the round of 32. With the win against Denver and a loss by Colorado College on Saturday, CU is also the only in-state team to advance. CU will travel to Tallahassee, Fla. to take on BYU (15-4-1), who defeated Weber State 4-0 in their first round, on Friday. Though the teams have never met on neutral ground, BYU holds a 3-0-1 lead against CU.