TALAHASSEE, Fla. -- In a match-up of wits and athleticism, Colorado came out the victor, defeating No. 19 BYU 2-1 in the NCAA championship round of 32 on Thursday.
Behind first-half goals by sophomore Emily Paxton and junior Carly Bolyard, the Buffaloes took down the Cougars to advance the Sweet 16. This is CU’s second trip to the third round of NCAAs – the Buffs advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2006 to post the program’s best NCAA finish.
“I think first and foremost to beat a team of BYU’s quality is a tremendous testament to how we have grown as a program throughout the year,” CU head coach Danny Sanchez said. “We have struggled at the end of the season and never lost focus; we have never lost any fight, I’m just real proud on how they just kept working. As far as the game today, we knew that BYU would bring a lot of pressure and Emily got that early goal which gave us a lot of confidence and then Carly got the second. You know what they say a 2-0 lead is the most dangerous lead, which I disagree because if it was 1-0 and would have been tied, but there is always a tendency to relax a little bit and I think that they caught us and made it 2-1 with about 30 minutes to go, but I feel after that we played very well.”
Colorado improves to 14-6-2 overall. The Buffs are now 9-0-1 when scoring at least two goals. CU is also 2-3-2 against ranked opponents, picking up back-to-back wins against ranked opponents for the first time since 2010 when the Buffs beat No. 12 UCLA and No. 6 Texas A&M in back-to-back games.
BYU’s eight game unbeaten streak and season both come to an end. The Cougars gave up two goals for just the fourth time this season (only one other time did that result in a loss). BYU ends its season with a 15-5-1 record.
Though the Cougars edged the Buffs in shots (17 to 11) and shots on goal (seven to five), CU netted the shots that mattered most, and keeper Annie Brunner grabbed six saves. Though the Cougars entered the game holding the nation’s 19th best goals-against average and 29th best shutout percentage, the CU attack was too much for West Coast Conference Goalkeeper of the Year Erica Owens.
The Buffs will face host team No. 1 seeded Florida State. Kick-off of the Round 16 game is at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday at Florida State Soccer Stadium.