BOULDER, Colo. (8/26/10) – It took three games but the Colorado Buffaloes women’s gold club soccer team finally beat Colorado State.
Junior forward Stephanie Durbin scored in the 68th minute on Sunday afternoon at Franklin Field to give CU the 1-0 win over the CSU gold team and the 9th Annual University of Colorado Women’s Club Soccer Invitation Championship. The Buffs were 0-1-1 against the Rams this season going into the match.
“The girls are getting better, they are working harder, they are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel of the work that they are putting in and it’s going to start paying dividends,” said CU head coach Dorian Barnes.
The Colorado women’s soccer program has now won the CU Invite seven times with the Buffs gold team winning six of them.
All games in the tournament played two 40 minute halves instead of the usual 45 minute periods.
Goalkeepers Jenna Greenwood and Betsy Builder played great between the pipes for Colorado with them not allowing a ball to get past them in the four day tournament.
“Our goalkeepers to be honest struggled at the beginning of the year, just like our whole team did, but they are getting better,” Barnes said. “They are starting to make the big time saves, they are starting to show some composer and they are starting to lead on the back end and show some confidence. It starts with our defense too and we’ve had good defending and good goalkeeping.”
The Buffs began pool play by shutting out Northern Colorado 6-0 on Thursday and then St. Louis 4-0 on Friday to get the top seed and one of the four byes into the quarterfinals. On Saturday Colorado won 4-0 over Western Nebraska Community College in the quarters and then won 1-0 over Arizona and Colorado State in the semifinals and finals on Sunday.
Greenwood earned the individual shutout in the morning against U of A while Builder shutout CSU in the afternoon.
Sophomore forward Becky Santiago led the Buffs stampede in the goals department with her finding the back of the next eight times in the tournament, five versus UNC and three versus WNCC. She also assisted on Durbin’s game winning goal versus the Rams.
“I’ve been kind of on this season with goals,” Santiago said. “Our team struggled at the beginning but we have started to pick it up and connect better. I got a lot of good through passes in our first game versus UNC and that is how I scored a lot of the goals. The team is starting to play with more heart and work together and we are improving every game.”
Santiago now has 15 goals this season and is on pace to shatter the club’s single season record of 24 held by Samantha Picraux in 2006.
“Becky is a special player for us right now,” Barnes said. “She is finding ways to score goals and she doesn’t do it in the most beautiful ways but she finds a way to be scrappy and get beautiful goals. She is right now on track to beat the club’s scoring record and that is a goal of hers.”
With time running out in the championship game, it looked like the match was destined to go into overtime and possibly penalty kicks, but the Buffs stayed aggressive and finally got a chance to strike after Durbin picked up a bouncing ball in the box and fired it into the net.
“I just saw Becky (Santiago) running down and everyone on the team was crashing in at the 18 and we needed to score,” Durbin said. “I just crashed in and got it from Becky.”
CSU’s best chance to tie it up came in the 79th minute off of a corner kick, but the CU defense held strong and kicked the ball away from the net.
The gold team wasn’t the only Buffs squad to have success in the tournament as CU’s black and white teams made it all the way to the quarterfinals before losing to Arizona and CSU’s gold team.
“This is the first real time that I have had the chance to watch our black and our white teams play a lot because they were right here at the same facility,” Barnes said. “Our white team played against CSU gold and they lost 2-0, but they were battling and had opportunity after opportunity. That was a turning point for their season.”
The Buffs next game is on Sunday Oct. 3 against Northern Colorado at 6:30 p.m. on Franklin Field before they head to California to take part in the Santa Barbara Invitational on Oct. 8-10.
Colorado is currently scheduled to play Colorado State’s gold team one more time this season on Oct. 30 in Boulder.