DENVER – As the cliché goes, in a rivalry game you can throw all the stats and history out the window, adrenaline will be pumping and it’s the players’ will to win that takes over and ultimately decides the match. DU came out and stuck to its game plan, getting an early goal and defending well throughout the match to steal a 1-0 win over Colorado on the road at Prentup Field on Sunday.
The Pioneers (5-1-0) followed their early season script of scoring the first goal of every match, as junior forward Kalie Vaughn (Fort Collins, Colo.) opened the scoring in the seventh minute. Sophomore forward Kristen Hamilton (Littleton, Colo.) and junior forward Kaitlin Bast (Centennial, Colo.) exchanged a few passes down the left side before finding a streaking Vaughn in the middle. Vaughn took a touch before placing it with her left foot into the corner past CU sophomore keeper Annie Brunner (2-4). Denver has scored the first goal in each of its first six matches this season.
“It’s always nice to come out and score the first goal," head coach Jeff Hooker said. " I was really impressed with the goal, four or five players all got one or two touches, great combinations, great movement which makes it very tough to defend when you have that many players moving diagonally off the ball."
Denver’s only quality shot to make it a two goal game came in the 70th minute when freshman midfielder Anna Willis (Centennial, Colo.) curled a chance into the upper right corner, but Brunner kept the Buffs (2-4-0) in the game with a beautiful save.
With a minute to go in the match, Hamilton cleared the ball into the Pioneers attacking side of the field and out of play, forcing the Buffs to go the length of the field in only final 45 seconds. As CU began to work the ball down the field, it was clear the match still wasn’t over. With 10 seconds remaining, the Buffs earned a corner, took it quickly and got a shot off as senior defender Maggi Steury got a boot on it, but her attempt was wide.
Junior Lara Campbell (Anchorage, Alaska) made just her second start of the season and made seven saves in the contest, one shy of her career high that she set in the Colorado match last season. This afternoon’s shutout was the first of the season for the Pioneers and the 19th of Campbell’s (1-1) career.
Similar to the match that the Pioneers played against Colorado College at Prentup Field in August, the backline was tested time and time again in the final third of the game. The Buffs held an 11-4 advantage in shots in the second half, giving them a 17-8 advantage in the match.
Denver will now prepare to host the Denver Invitational next weekend as they welcome CU, Cal State Bakersfield and Auburn to CIBER Field for a full weekend of matches. Denver will host Cal State Bakersfield on Friday at 5:15 p.m. MT, after CU opens play against Auburn at 3 p.m. MT. On Sunday, DU will open play against Auburn at 10 a.m. MT, before CU and CSU Bakersfield wrap up the invitational at 2:15 p.m. MT.