The unblemished season for the Michigan State women's soccer team took a hit at the hands of Colorado (6-0-1) on Sunday afternoon at DeMartin Stadium. Fresh off a 2-0 victory versus in-state rival Oakland Thursday, MSU (5-1-1) was stifled by an undefeated Colorado squad and fell to the Buffaloes, 3-0.
“They’re a very talented team, probably the best one we’ve played yet this year,” head coach Tom Saxton said.
The high octane Buffalo's attack, keeping pace with its average of three goals per contest in 2018, displayed its potency early. Colorado struck first, just under six minutes into the first half by way of junior forward Tatum Barton, with redshirt senior forward Jorian Baucom picking up the assist. Following a Baucom cross to the top of the box, the quick-striking Barton delivered a ball to the far upper corner of the goal, past redshirt junior goalkeeper Reilley Ott.
The Buffalo's duo would again show up in the box score just five minutes later. Once more, off a Baucom feed, Barton lined a shot to the far side, which again, proved to be out of reach for Ott.
From then on, the Spartans tried to push the ball up the left side and facilitate to standout freshman Camryn Evans. However, the Colorado defense payed close attention to the forward for much of the contest.
“They were all over her … so [we] have to do a little more combination play," Saxton said.
There should have been midfield pockets available during the game, he said.
“They’re playing two central midfielders. We have three. So there should be pockets available,” Saxton said.
But, those pockets were sparsely exploited by MSU on Sunday, however, as Evans was bottled up whenever she received the ball. Saxton also went on to explain his side’s failure to adjust to the pace of the match, contributing to the Spartans' inability to find gaps in Colorado’s back line.
Even as MSU rotated a plethora of midfielders in hopes of generating an offensive push, the team was forced into low-quality opportunities, resulting in only three shots on goal, to Colorado’s six.
All hope of a late-game push by MSU had disappeared when a corner kick from forward Stephanie Zuniga bested Ott with just over 10 minutes remaining. Colorado’s three goal performance equaled the number of goals Ott had allowed all season prior to Sunday.
After suffering their only defeat this season, MSU will look to rebound as they start Big Ten play at Purdue on Sept. 13. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.
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