Soccer Loses to BYU 2-0 in First Round of Tourney

The single best season in the history of the University of Colorado soccer program came to an abrupt close Thursday afternoon, as the tenth-seeded Buffaloes were upset by BYU in their first ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament at Ute Soccer Field in Salt Lake City, UT.

The Lady Cougars, no strangers to the NCAA's in seasons past, pressured Colorado early as BYU's Terra Bigelow put her team on the scoreboard first in the 11th minute.

Though CU saw some looks of their own, BYU had more than ample opportunity to run away with the game from the halfway point on as, with under three minutes to play, a pass from BYU leading scorer Aleisha Rose to Annie Zwahlen down the right flank was crossed to Jennifer Fielding who one timed it into the right corner of the net in the 87th minute in what was officially the last play of the game.

"Their experience (of being to seven straight NCAA Tournaments and CU making its first) had something to do with it," CU head coach and Big 12 Coach of the Year Bill Hempen said after the match. "They knew what was at stake. And as much as we would have liked to play at home, I'm not sure that it would have made a difference.

"Physically, I don't know that we'd seen a team as physical as BYU from the get go. Once we matched that aspect of their game, it became their will against our will."

The loss was the single biggest upset in the Tournament's opening round and, ironically, marked the first time all season CU had lost to an unranked opponent.

BYU's control of the game was evident throughout; as the Cougars outshot Colorado 17-7 on the day and forced Jessica Keller to make a career high 9 saves off 11 shots on goal to BYU's one (eight coming in the second half).

"It was unfortunate," said Keller, who also received conference mention for her role in Colorado's improbable run this season. "Our defense played as hard as we can, but their defense played just as well. We're greedy. We're not satisfied to be 0-2 in the postseason where seedings and rankings really go away."

Statistically, the Buffs were outplayed in every conceivable fashion. In addition to outshooting Colorado on the night, the Cougars outperformed CU in corner kicks (4-3) and individual assists (4-0).

"We have to get better," Hempen concluded. "We were great during the regular season, not so great in the postseason. It will be great to have everyone back with the experienced that they've gained this year. The challenge now is for us to hopefully be sitting here first next year instead of second."

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