Chapa leads Buffs to win over Arizona State

The Colorado Buffaloes women’s soccer team hosted the Arizona State Sun Devils Saturday afternoon at Prentup Field in Boulder for the Buffs’ “Kick-Out-Cancer” match. The Buffs, led by junior defender Gabbi Chapa, snapped a two-game losing streak and recorded their second win in conference play, beating Arizona State 2-1.

For Colorado, a difficult road trip to California last week cumulated in two losses for the Buffs against No. 22 UCLA and No. 4 USC. Senior goalkeeper Jalen “J.J.” Tompkins was busy last Saturday versus the Trojans, making a season-high 11 saves in a losing effort.

For the Sun Devils, a matchup on the road against No.15 Washington State last Sunday ended in a 0-0 draw after two overtimes. Arizona State looked to grab its first win in Pac-12 play against the Buffs on Saturday afternoon.

After suffering two losses on the road to Top-25 ranked teams, Colorado head coach Danny Sanchez knew it was important get off to a fast start early against Arizona State.

“Every game in the Pac-12 is like this,” Sanchez said following the win. “It doesn’t matter where you are in the standings. Arizona State is a very good team. It was a great start for us. The way they play, their tough to defend and I thought we really did a good job of limiting their clear-cut opportunities.”

Assistant coach Jason Green made defense a priority for the Buffs against the Sun Devils, emphasizing to his players to make Arizona State “play negative.” Sanchez said that’s always the goal defensively.

“(If) they (Arizona State) turn and face and play make, you’re going to be in trouble,” Sanchez said. “So, I thought for the most part we did a really good job of that. Even at midfield make them play negative so we can have an opportunity to get people behind the ball.”

Colorado opened the scoring early in the second minute when Chapa scored her first goal as a Buff unassisted. The transfer from Illinois played primarily a defensive role for Colorado last season recording just one shot on goal during her first season in Boulder.

The Buffs generated a couple scoring chances late in the first half. Freshman forward Kyla Ferry received a pass from senior forward Taylor Kornieck and put a shot toward the right corner only to be saved by the Sun Devil keeper.

Early in the second half, Chapa fed freshman forward Tessa Barton, who nutmegged the Arizona State keeper to give the Buffs a 2-0 lead in the 49th  minute.

Following a tremendous performance, Chapa talked through the early goal and what she saw on the play.

“I just kind of saw that I had no pressure on and I just kept dribbling,” Chapa said. “Both center backs kind of tried to step up to me and I just slid on by and aimed for the net.”

Chapa added that getting off to a fast start after suffering two road losses was critical to Colorado’s success.

“It was crucial,” Chapa said. “It was crucial to get the W today. We kind of had a rocky last two weekends, so we really needed to come out and play as a team and get one, get a W.”

The Sun Devils responded in the 78th minute when freshman midfielder Dai Williams put a shot past Tompkins to cut the Buffs’ lead to one. Arizona State kept the pressure on until the whistle blew but couldn’t get the equalizer.

Colorado escaped with a 2-1 victory. Next up, the Buffs host No. 2 Stanford at Prentup field Thursday afternoon. The match is set to begin at 3 p.m. MST.

 

Crafted by JUCO, Colorado guard Maddox Daniels ready for significant role with Buffs

Colorado men’s basketball junior guard Maddox Daniels grew up with a burning desire to play division one college basketball. Daniels went to high school in Beverley Hills, California alongside his twin brother, Mason. After attending prep school at Montverde Academy in Florida in hopes of garnering attention, Daniels graduated high school without a single division one offer.

Daniels and his brother went to junior college in Fort Myers, Florida at SouthWestern State College. Their, the two led the Buccaneers to a record of 60-6 in two seasons, reaching the NJCAA National Tournament quarterfinal twice. Daniels averaged over just 11 points per game and shot 42% from beyond the arc during his junior college career.

“Going in as a freshman, I was just working on my body, starting to learn the game more,” Maddox said. “I had great coaches there. Coach Marty Richter and then coach Eric Murphy. I just worked on all aspects of my game. Definitely the biggest thing was just my physicality, working on my body.”

Mason said his brother’s decision to attend college in Florida helped him further develop his game and was happy they could share the experience together.

“I definitely think that (Florida) for Maddox was one of the best decisions he’s ever made,” Mason said. “I know he’ll probably say that too, just because of the people he met and how much better he got being there. I’m just glad I could come there with him.”

His sophomore year as FSW, Daniels’ developed leadership ability. The experience Daniels gained leading a team to back to back postseason tournament appearances allowed his maturity to evolve in just two years in JUCO with the Buccaneers.

“My sophomore year, I just really felt comfortable on the court and I was leading,” Daniels said. “It was really great to see hard work pay off because coming out of high school no offers, went to prep school, nothing and I just kept working, trust the process and that’s what I’m going to continue to do here.”

CU basketball head coach Tad Boyle and assistant coach Mike Rohn made an initial impact on Daniels after spending time in Fort Myers for the second half of Maddox’s sophomore season. Daniels said once he took a visit to Boulder, he knew it was the place for him.

“Coach Rohn and coach Boyle started talking to me toward the second half of the (junior college) season in the spring and they both came down … to see me in Fort Myers,” Daniels said. “I really liked the school. (Rohn and Boyle) were just there consistently all through the second half of the season, through the playoffs, through the wins, through the losses, through everything. Once I came and took my visit (to Colorado) and met all the players, all the coaches and everybody else beyond coach Boyle and coach Rohn, I knew this was the place to be. It was an easy decision.”

Health, wellness and fitness are integral parts of the lives of Daniels and his brother. The twins feed off and motivate each other in these areas and life in general. Mason said because of Boulder’s notoriety as a hub for health and wellness, Daniels felt right at home.

“I was happy for him,” Mason said. “I remember he called me on the phone and he was like, ‘man, it’s amazing here.’ We have a lot of other interests apart from basketball and we enjoy taking care our bodies and stuff like that. So, this was something that, being in Boulder, a health and fitness capital, was a big-time thing for him. He loved the coaches. They really wanted him, so I just told him ‘yeah bro, it seems like a no-brainer.’”

Since arriving on campus early this summer, Daniels has made the improving his defensive skillset a priority. He said there a few small details to learn that will come with practice, but defense and decision-making were the focus over the summer leading up to the Buffs’ exhibition with Pomona-Pitzer on October 26.

“I would definitely say defensively as far as just guarding the ball,” Daniels said. “I need to get better as far as positioning, the little things that are different from what I’m used to as far as playing help side defense. But, I would say defensively and making quicker decisions.”

Daniels added that from an offensive standpoint, it’ll start with perimeter shooting, providing a spark for the Buffs by moving without the ball and catching and shooting.

“Definitely it’s going to start with being able to bring in shooting on the perimeter, playing with confidence,” Daniels said. “That’s the biggest thing we talked about, being a perimeter presence that spaces the floor. When I get a look, just knocking it down be confident about it. And improve on my own game as we go, whatever the team needs. We’re focused on winning games, so whatever that entails that’s what I want to do.”

Daniels said it’ll be important for him to “fit in smoothly”. The 6-foot 6-inch forward from Suwanee, Georgia will likely spell junior forward D’Shawn Schwartz and sophomore guard Daylen Kountz, who Boyle mentioned as a guy that’ll play a larger role for the Buffs this season.

Because of his size, Daniels should be able to guard the one through the four defensively, something that will allow him to see more playing time for a deep and experienced Colorado team.

D’Shawn Schwartz looks to solidify his role as a third option for Buffs

Junior guard D’Shawn Schwartz took a big step from freshman to sophomore year. He started 35 games on the wing for the Buffs last season, averaging 9.2 points and 3.7 rebounds per game, compared to just 3.4 points per game his freshman year. Schwartz’s production increased in the Pac-12 and postseason play in 2018, scoring in double digits during the three NIT matchups.

According to Colorado head coach Tad Boyle, Schwartz had an effective offseason headed into 2019, one that should put him position to be the third option offensively, alongside junior forward Tyler Bey and junior point guard, McKinley Wright IV.

“He (D’Shawn Schwartz) has had as good of an offseason as anybody in our program,” Boyle said. “He’s playing with a high degree of confidence right now and I think he’s, he’s going to be a guy, I think McKinley and Tyler being first team all-league guys, we know what they’re capable of and we know what we expect of them. I think D’Shawn has got the ability to really step his game up and be that third option.”

Schwartz’s shooting has stood out over the summer and so far in preseason. He should provide a major boost for a Colorado team that finished tenth in the Pac-12 last season, shooting just 32 percent from downtown. Schwartz along with senior guard Shane Gatling will be the go to three-point shooters for the Buffs in 2019-20.

“When we looked at all the shots we took in the preseason in the workouts, he was by far our best in terms of overall shooting,” Boyle said. Defensively and offensively he’s playing with a lot of confidence.”

In addition to improving his accuracy from deep, Schwartz made a purposeful effort in transforming his body and getting in shape for the upcoming season. Tad Boyle talked about Schwartz’ physical evolution this offseason.

“He’s physically a lot stronger and bigger,” Boyle said. Just the natural maturation (and) the work he’s put in with coach Englehart in the weight room (has paid off).”

Schwartz echoed Boyle’s thoughts and was quick to mention strength and conditioning coach Steve Englehart, who played a key role in Schwartz’ offseason transformation.

“I would say the weight room (on areas of offseason improvement),” Schwartz said. “Shout out to Steve because he really put a lot of emphasis on working on my lower body (and) upper body, trying to get my vertical better. I think I got really in shape in the offseason, that was something I was really focusing on, just trying to be in the best shape of my college career.”

Headed into this season Schwartz said he wants to be a guy that his teammates can look to as a leader. Schwartz’ jump in productivity last season came in part because former guard, Namon Wright missed the second half of the 2018-19 season with a foot injury. This year, because of his drastic improvement in his sophomore campaign, Schwartz is expected to be an integral part for the Buffs’ both offensively and defensively.

“(I’m) just trying to change my mindset from being a guy in the backseat to just trying to be one of those guys that people can look to for help or if they want watch somebody who leads by example,” Schwartz said. “I kind of want to be that guy this year.”

When asked about the evolution of his game since arriving on campus in 2017, Schwartz said it’s a product of going up against stiff competition every day in practice. Playing in the Pac-12 year after year has helped to craft his game into what it is today.

“I think (it) comes from just confidence and just playing at this level every day,” Schwartz said. “Going up against guys like Tyler Bey and everybody on this team, playing against hard defense made me want to become a better defender and (improve) all those facets of my game.”

Schwartz’s length defensively allows him to guard pretty much all five positions, something that frequently is overlooked when evaluating repertoire both offensively and defensively. His physical improvements in the offseason put him in position to be a solid option defensively given his length a six foot seven inches. With all the focus on Bey and Wright, expect Schwartz to take on an even more expanded role for Boyle’s Buffaloes in 2019-20 and be a consistent contributor on both sides of the ball.

Driven by her older brother, Haileigh Adams eyes professional soccer

Growing up the younger sister of a Canadian Football League quarterback, Haileigh Adams admitted she always felt in her brother’s shadow. Her brother, Vernon, passed for over 5,000 yards and threw nearly 50 touchdowns in his final two seasons in high school. At that time Haileigh Adams said that almost no one knew her by her first name, just as Vernon’s sibling.

“All the time people would come up to me, (and say) ‘oh you’re Vernon Adams’ little sister,’” Adams said. To that she would always respond, “no, I’m Haileigh Adams.”

But Adams said she is proud of her brother, who is now in his fourth year in the CFL and looking to make a name for himself at the professional level. It’s a drive that has sparked motivation for Adams to pursue a similar path with her passion: soccer. Now a sophomore defender for the University of Colorado women’s soccer team, Adams is eyeing the big leagues post-college.

“(Vernon) motivates me so much,” Adams said. “Me and him are very competitive, so every time we’re both back home we’re both trying to beat each other in races, in anything. We’ll go out and we’ll play football sometimes, we’ll play soccer sometimes, we just try to beat each other.”

It’s a sibling rivalry that is alive and well today.

“(Haileigh) thinks she’s a better athlete than me,” Vernon laughed. “Low key she is.”

Haileigh Adams’ soccer journey began in high school, where she steadily improved, scoring two goals and being named the most inspirational player during her freshman year. A year later, she scored five goals and earned the Defensive Player of the Year award. Toward the end of her sophomore season, she tore her ACL and consequently had to sit out games while she went through rehab during her junior year. The injury occurred at a critical time and led to only a couple of schools keeping tabs on her as a potential recruiting target.

Adams said there was a time when she thought she’d never get back to where she was after tearing her ACL.

“It was a big step back,” Adams said. “It took me forever to get back. I wasn’t very confident. And then my coach, he just threw me up top. He (said) you have the speed. Although I didn’t have it at the time. I don’t know why he threw me up  there, but he did and it actually turned out pretty well for our team.”

Adams switched to forward her senior year and scored 14 goals with 10 assists, earning first team All-Conference and conference MVP.

Portland State was a school eyeing Adams, despite her ACL tear. Vernon, while at Eastern Washington, reached out to then Portland State recruiting coordinator Justin Wagar, to convince him to bring Haileigh to the university. However, with Wagar 14 years into his career, he was looking for a change. After Portland State’s head coach suddenly retired, Wagar landed a spot at Grambling State, bringing Adams with him.

Adams earned second team all-conference honors her freshman year at Grambling State and first team her sophomore year. She was the first player in the Southwestern Athletic Conference to earn an invite to the U19 United States Women’s National Team Training Camp in 2018. Following in her older brother’s footsteps, Adams will also finish her collegiate career at a Pac-12 school with professional aspirations.

“I want to play better soccer,” Adams said. “I want to get better and I want to play after college. I felt like CU was the perfect place to help me get there and prove my skills because when I came here I definitely learned a lot that I need to know.”

Colorado head coach Danny Sanchez was thrilled to add a player of Adams caliber prior to the 2019 season. Sanchez said Adams will likely be a large part of CU’s back end in the future.

“I think she’ll play a big role going forward for us,” Sanchez said. “(She’s) super positive, technical and very coachable. We feel she’s a player that’s definitely going to help us.”

Buffs sweep Campbell, finish Colorado Classic undefeated

The Colorado women’s volleyball team faced Campbell in the final match of the Colorado Classic. CU dominated UMBC on Saturday in their earlier match, sweeping the Retrievers 3-0. The Buffs defeated Campbell on Saturday night in four sets to finish the tournament undefeated.

Senior outside hitter Justine Spann was key for the Buffaloes throughout the tournament recording 21 and 18 kills against Oakland and UMBC respectively. Multiple players starred for the Buffs in the first two games of the tournament in addition to Spann. As a team, Colorado broke four school records in the 3-1 win over Oakland on Friday night, including freshman middle blocker Sterling Parker, who became just the third player in CU history to record seven kills on seven swings.

The Buffs’ final match against Campbell started fast. It was a tightly contested match throughout the early part of the first set. Two straight kills from Spann gave Colorado a 9-7 lead. A couple service errors and errant hits from the Fighting Camels allowed CU to jump out to a double-digit lead in the first set. Colorado took the first set easily 25-10.

Two straight kills from Parker gave the Buffs a 7-3 lead in the second set. The duo of Parker and Spann led the way for the Buffs in the second set. A kill from span gave CU a 23-13 lead late in the second set. Colorado took the second set 25-14 and took a commanding 2-0 lead.

Campbell responded in the third set, keeping the match tightly contested through the first ten points. Two straight kills from Spann in the first set gave the Buffaloes a 9-6 lead. Parker, Spann and freshman outside hitter Jill Schneggenberger kept the Buffs on top through a majority of the third set. The Fighting Camels came back and took a 19-18 lead late in the third set. Colorado responded courtesy of two straight kills from Spann. CU led 20-19. A kill from Parker gave the Buffs the third set and they completed the sweep.

Redshirt sophomore middle blocker Meegan Hart was named the MVP of the tournament. The sophomore recorded hitting percentage above .600 throughout the three games. Hart, a transfer from Iowa State, talked about what it meant to her to deliver a wonderful performance not only against Campbell, but UMBC and Oakland as well, only ten games into her Colorado career.

“I means a lot,” Hart said. “It’s really special to me. My teammates have been amazing, obviously couldn’t have done it without them. They’re passing was great.”

Sophomore setter Jenna Ewert talked about how the Buffs have struggled offensively so far this season. Saturday’s two matches was a significant improvement compared to the first several games.

“We haven’t passed that well all season.” Ewert said. “I don’t think I’ve ever played in a game where we’ve passed that well, so that was a new feeling for me. It was definitely a lot of fun to have that much freedom. “(There) was a different type of connection with the hitters. You all have the confidence and… you kind of get into a groove. That’s a special thing that you don’t always get to experience.”

Head coach Jesse Mahoney talked about how the Buffs maintained a high level of intensity despite playing earlier in the day on Saturday and Saturday night.

“I thought it was a good match, especially after playing three (matches) on the weekends,” Mahoney said. “I thought our team did a really nice job to come back mentally and physically and start that match out on a really high level. We sustained that throughout the match.”

Mahoney talked about how the Buffs can use their success in the Colorado Classic as a building block headed into conference play. The Buffs face Utah to begin conference play, who began the year with wins over seventh ranked Kentucky and No. 23 Cal Poly.

“They (Utah) have one of the best players in our conference in my opinion in Danny Barton,” Mahoney said. “They redshirted one of the best middle’s in our conference last year due to injury. She’s back. I think that makes them better. They have a top ten win under their belt this season, so they’re really good.”

The Buffs will Travel to Salt Lake City next week for a Wednesday night matchup against the Utes. The game starts at 7 p.m. MST.

Rams prevail over No. 19 Buffs in inaugural Golden Spike Trophy match

The Colorado Buffaloes women’s volleyball team hosted Colorado State Friday night at CU Events Center. Colorado State defeated the Buffs 3-2 in five sets.

The Buffs traveled for Fort Collins Thursday, losing to Rams in three sets. Mistakes plagued Colorado on Thursday night and the team suffered its first loss of the season after starting the season 5-0. The Buffs hoped to rebound against the Rams at home. Friday night’s game in Boulder was the inaugural match for Golden Spike Trophy, a match between the two top teams in the state.

Senior libero Rachel Whipple talked about the team’s poor play Thursday night against CSU and how they wanted to come out on Friday and play a complete, sound match.

“I think we just came together as a team and recognized that how we played last night want anywhere near our potential,” Whipple said. “We made sure we created a positive environment after that match and all throughout today. We really energized ourselves in the locker room and throughout our warm-up and just believed in ourselves that we are a good team.”

Colorado started fast courtesy of senior outside hitter Justine Spann. Spann recorded two straight blocks for the Buffs to give Colorado the edge early. Following a sloppy performance Thursday night in Fort Collins, the Buffs rebounded, winning the first set 25-11 in part due to multiple service errors by the Rams.

 

Colorado State responded in the second set, scoring the first seven points. Two kills from senior setter Katie Oleksak propelled the Rams to an early 9-2 start. For the Buffs, redshirt sophomore middle blocker Danielle Price provided a spark in the second set, recording two blocks and a kill. Colorado came back to tie the second set at 20. A kill from redshirt senior middle blocker Kirstie Hillier gave the Rams the second set 25-23.

Colorado State used the momentum following a victory in the second set to defeat the Buffs in the third set 25-19. The Buffs responded and took the fourth set 25-20.

Redshirt junior outside hitter Breana Runnels starred for the Rams, recording a game-high 16 kills. The Rams defeated the Buffs and took the match in five sets.

Despite the loss, head coach Jesse Mahoney liked the way Colorado responded following Thursday night’s loss to the Rams in Fort Collins. The Buffs put together solid sequences of plays on Friday to force the fifth set.

“Last night (Thursday night) was a really rough match for us,” Mahoney said. “We struggled to respond to the pressure that Colorado State put us in last night. I thought we responded really well today (Friday night). I thought we played really good volleyball for long stretches. Unfortunately, we had multiple point runs where we just couldn’t get out of certain rotations and that happened in every set that we lost.”

Next up the Buffs will host the Colorado Classic beginning Friday, Sept. 20th. Campbell, Oakland University and UMBC will participate in the tournament along with Colorado. The first match for the Buffs will take place Friday Sept. 20th at 7 p.m. MST against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies.

Colorado makes history with win over Baylor

The Colorado Buffaloes women’s soccer team (5-0) hosted Baylor (3-0-1) to close out their six game home stand to begin the season. The Buffs looked to extend their winning streak to six and remain undefeated, while the Bears hoped to continue their success away from home following a 2-0 shutout victory over Wyoming. Both teams sat just outside the top 25 according to the United Soccer Coaches poll coming into the matchup

Last time out, Colorado defeated Austin Peay 2-0 in what was the 100th career win for the Buffs at Prentup Field and the third shutout in the first five games for CU.

A fast-paced and physical match throughout, both teams generated solid chances early. Freshman midfielder Roo Yarnell-Williams scored her third goal of the season at the 15-minute mark off assists from senior midfielder Taylor Kornieck and junior defender Gabbi Chapa to give the Buffs a 1-0 lead.

Yarnell-Williams talked about the fast pace and the energy the Buffs came out with in the beginning to ultimately give Colorado the lead. The freshman generated multiple offensive chances for the Buffs throughout the matchup.

“I just wanted to win,” Yarnell-Williams said. “These players are a lot more aggressive than any of the teams we have played against so far. So, I just came out knowing that I had to get the ball off my foot early in order to a, stay safe and b, make something happen on the field. Honestly, our whole team, we totally sped up the game and I think that’s what put them on their heels and got us the win.”

Chapa made an excellent cross after receiving a pass from Kornieck, which ultimately set up Yarnell-Williams for the game’s only goal. Yarnell-Williams talked about the play following the victory.

“It definitely just started from the middle,” Yarnell-Williams said. “Taylor played out a great ball out wide to Gabi. She looked up and opened her hips up and Gabi and I just made eye contact and I knew it was going to go in from that moment. It was a beautiful ball in, beyond perfect actually, I don’t think it could’ve gotten any more on target.”

With the assist on the Yarnell-Williams’ goal, Kornieck took sole possession of third place on Colorado women’s soccer all-time points list with 79 points, passing former Buff Katie Griffin. Kornieck is also tied for second on CU’s all-time assists list.

Baylor had a great chance to score at the 69-minute mark when redshirt freshman midfielder Maddie Algya drilled a shot toward the top right corner, only to be saved by leaping senior goalkeeper Jalen “J.J” Tompkins.

Head coach Danny Sanchez came into the game expecting a physical match. The game included four yellow cards and a combined 21 fouls. Sanchez talked about Baylor’s physical play.

“Baylor plays a style that got them to two straight elite eight’s and they’re a handful,” Sanchez said. “But you can also see the quality of their players. So, we knew it’d be a bit of a fist fight, like I told the team, I was super proud of them for competing. We scored the one goal, but after that we really competed. And the 50-50 (balls) were 50-50’s. The 50-50’s couldn’t be 70-30’s them because then they would’ve won the game.”

A save by Tompkins in the last minute secured the Buffs first 6-0 home stand in program history. Next up Colorado will head to Tallahassee for a Thursday night game with the sixth ranked and defending national champions, Florida State Seminoles on Sept. 12.

Yarnell-Williams talked about the importance of winning the mental game against No. 6 Florida State.

“I don’t think we should get in our heads,” Yarnell-Williams said. “I don’t think we should go in thinking we’re going to win. I don’t think we should go in thinking we’re going to lose. I think we just need to go in saying we’re going to play with everything we have and get the most out of the game.”

The matchup with the Seminoles will be the Buffs toughest test to date and will take 90 minutes of focus and intensity. Catch the game from the Seminole Soccer complex in Tallahassee on Thursday evening at 5 P.M. MST.

 

Yarnell-Williams has prepared for collegiate success her entire life

Colorado women’s soccer freshman Roo Yarnell-Williams was surrounded by sports throughout her childhood. Yarnell-Williams is the youngest of five girls, her sister Makenna played soccer for Northern Arizona and her other sister Chelsea, was a diver at Pepperdine University. When asked to describe what growing up was like with four siblings, Yarnell-Williams used one word, “intense.”

“Everything was competitive,” Yarnell-Williams laughed. “I never wanted to lose. So, I feel like really being in that type of sports family, it pushed me to want to be the best and want to be the best me.”

Yarnell-Williams said growing up in an environment with four older sisters who were all driven by sports and competition helped craft her fiery mindset, an outlook she carries with her on the field today.

“I do not like losing,” Yarnell-Williams said. “I think that’s where I get my mentality from. I’d play up with my sister’s soccer team when I was younger, and I would not (want to) lose. I’d get so mad. I’d stay after practice and just shoot the ball because I wasn’t playing obviously because I was two years younger than her. But just the mentality of never giving up and just doing your best at all times I think really prepared me for this.”

Before to coming to Boulder, Yarnell-Williams played for the San Juan Soccer club. While a part of the club team Yarnell-Williams traveled to and played in tournaments in Sweden and Japan. The experience, she said, helped prepare her cognitively and presented her with a bit of adversity.

“My club experience was good, especially my last year there,” Yarnell-Williams said. “The coach from San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly came and ended up being my head coach and there was a game where I didn’t start and that really got to me. It was more mentally preparing me than physically preparing me. Definitely the mental aspect of it allowed me to be prepared for the many obstacles that I could face here (at CU).”

The Colorado women’s soccer team traveled to Steamboat before the 2019 season. Senior midfielder Taylor Kornieck talked previously about how the team’s trip allowed the nine new freshman to get to know the upperclassmen, and more specifically get comfortable being around CU’s senior leaders. Yarnell-Williams echoed Kornieck’s point and said it gave the Buffs a chance to start building chemistry and familiarity with each other off the field just being together pretty much all the time.

“That was definitely the point where we all ended up bonding together,” Yarnell-Williams said. “I mean there was no separation between anybody because you’re constantly in the same house. We got put in food groups… cooking together and making each other meals, really helped us bond in a way. We were taking care of each other. Just constantly being together in the same environment…. You could be a senior or a freshman and you’d still want to hang out with each other, which is very special because I know a lot of the girls from my old club team that went to college have not had the same experience.”

The trip, in Yarnell-Williams words allowed the team to “connect and get to know each other on a much deeper level, rather than just the love for the game.”

Flash forward to the fifth game of the Buffs’ season when Yarnell-Williams scored the second goal of her collegiate career in Colorado’s 2-0 victory over Austin Peay.

“I think Hannah (Sharts) was outside and it was a throw in,” Yarnell-Williams said. “I remember just her lofting the ball and it bouncing off somebody’s head and I chested it down and right when I chested it down I knew it was going to go right on my foot. So, I just flicked it in. I really just went through the process of saying (to myself) you can’t lean back, you can’t lean back, because I knew if that happened the ball would not be in the net and it would be flying over. So, I really just had to focus and take care of the ball.”

Yarnell-Williams said she’s grown and learned from her experience during those plays. The important thing being to stay calm and concentrated. Many athletes, including Yarnell-Williams, say that in those moments the game slows down for them.

“I think the game definitely has slowed down,” Yarnell-Williams said. “I mean you see the ball coming and you see the goal in front of you and before I would kind of panic a little bit, even in club, but here you don’t have time to panic. You really do have to just take everything in and take that big breath, which kind of helps clear your mind and slow the game down.”

Through the Buffs’ first five games of the season if Yarnell-Williams has learned one thing, “play fast.” Adjusting to the pace of the game has been one the biggest challenges playing soccer at Colorado.

“Coming in, I wasn’t expecting this high of tempo (in) the game,” Yarnell-Williams said. “And so, coming in and kind of adjusting to the speed of play, that’s something that everybody should be prepared for because it’s so much different than club soccer. You really have to just keep your head in the game and be checking your shoulder in order to get your passes off faster.”

Colorado’s schedule doesn’t get any easier, with matchups against Baylor, Denver and the defending national champions No. 6 Florida State on the road in three out of their next four games. But, Yarnell-Williams said the Buffs’ will be prepared for a fight.

“Baylor is obviously going to be a great team,” Yarnell-Williams said. “I think they finished in the top eight last year, so (it’s going to be) a really big challenge for us. I think if we all play together and bond together and come out strong in the beginning, I think we have a really good chance to win. But we really just have to (stay) mentally strong. We just have to play with confidence and I know our game is good. So, they should be scared.”

Kornieck talks individual and team play, previews Buffs’ matchup with No. 24 Texas

Senior midfielder Taylor Kornieck will undoubtedly go down as one of the best players in Colorado women’s soccer history. As Kornieck continues to climb the Colorado soccer all-time points list, she has one goal in mind: to finish at the top.

“All four of my years here I just wanted to play at my best, and literally I just look at the points (list) all the time,” Kornieck said. “I’m in third place right now (in all-time points at CU), and I just really want to be number one. I think it’s just really important to me, I’m really competitive like that.”

Kornieck is currently tied for third on CU’s career points list with former Colorado forward Katie Griffin, who played from 2003 until 2006. In addition, Kornieck  sits in fourth in career goals with 29, trailing  former Buffs’ midfielder Fran Munnelly (2002-2005) by one goal.

In her final season with the Buffaloes, Kornieck hopes to lead Colorado back to the NCAA Tournament after narrowly missing the cut in 2018. CU boasts an impressive combination of upperclassmen leadership and overall depth with nine freshman and two transfers available for the 2019 season. This depth should help the Buffs avoid losing multiple games in a row, despite facing a tough schedule both in and out of conference play.

“I think it’s important that we all include the freshman and the transfers,” Kornieck said.  We’ve done a really good job of integrating them with our team.”

After talking briefly about her individual success at Colorado, Kornieck was quick to mention that the most important thing in her senior season is to win games.

“I think team success is the number the number one. (It’s) important to me,” Kornieck said. “Whatever happens with me, I just hope the team gets far and we end up being the best Colorado’s ever seen.”

While talking about her development as a player, Kornieck said head coach Danny Sanchez had a tremendous impact on her individual growth.

“I’ve definitely grown a lot as a player,” Kornieck said. “I think Danny really challenged me and now I’m a leader, it’s my final year, I’m a senior now so being captain really (has) helped me grow.”

According to Kornieck, Sanchez has emphasized giving the maximum amount of effort possible throughout the game and getting off to fast starts. CU struggled with this aspect last Thursday against Kent State.

“I think we just all came out really slow in that game,” Kornieck said. “We flipped a switch in the second half for sure.”

Kent State came out aggressive on Thursday and were able to maintain possession in the attacking half for a good chunk of the first half. The Golden Flashes found the back of the net later in the half when redshirt sophomore Karly Hellstrom blasted a ball into the upper left corner of the net, past senior goalkeeper Jalen Tompkins. The Buffs responded in the 36th minute when sophomore defender Hannah Sharts served up a corner kick which Kornieck met with a centering header. The ball then ricocheted off freshman forward Tessa Barton and was headed in right at the goal line by sophomore midfielder Kayleigh Webb to even the game. The Buffs had 13 shots in the second half compared to only six in the first. The aggressive play earned Kornieck a penalty kick in the 68th minute, which she put past the Kent ‘State keeper to give Colorado the lead and ultimately the 2-1 victory.

Kornieck was happy with how the team responded in the second half to earn the comeback win.

“I’m really proud of them, we battled to the end,” Kornieck said. “We don’t usually end up coming back and winning when we’re losing in the beginning, but I’m really proud of them, we battled really hard.”

The Buffs will face number 24 Texas on Sunday, the highest ranked team Colorado has faced this season. Kornieck talked about last year’s loss to the Longhorns and how the depth on this team should give Colorado a great chance to avenge the defeat.

“Last season we lost 3-0 to them, but I think we’re coming out with a different mentality,” Kornieck said. “We have a lot of players that can really help us, especially with the freshman, I know Roo (Yarnell-Williams) has been doing really well up top. We’re just a different team this year.”

The Buffs’ focus is 100% on the Longhorns, despite facing multiple former NCAA Tournament teams following Sunday afternoon’s matchup. Kornieck said it’s important to focus on one task at a time.

“We have the same mindset going into every game, it’s basically just play as hard as you can, and we take one game at time pretty much and now all we’re focusing on is Texas.”

Colorado will host Texas at Prentup Field on Sunday. The game is set to start at 1 P.M. MST.

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