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August 12 — Air Force (exhibition) at USAF Academy
August 19 — Colorado College at Denver
August 21 — Northern Colorado at Boulder
August 28 — Wyoming at Boulder
September 2 — Purdue at West Lafayette, Ind.
September 4 — Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Ill.
September 11 — Denver at Boulder
September 16 — Auburn at Denver
September 18 — CSU Bakersfield at Denver
September 23 — Oregon State at Corvallis, Ore.
September 30 — Arizona at Boulder
October 2 — Arizona State at Boulder
October 7 — Washington at Seattle, Wash.
October 9 — Washington State at Pullman, Wash.
October 16 — Oregon at Boulder
October 21 — California at Berkeley, Calif.
October 23 — Stanford at Palo Alto, Calif.
October 28 — UCLA at Boulder
October 30 — USC at Boulder
November 4 — Utah at Salt Lake City, Utah
As Colorado goalie Annie Brunner watched the Women’s World Cup final, memories of her own team’s last encounter with penalty kicks crept into her head.
The Buffs lost 5-4 in a shootout with Texas A&M last November after 110 scoreless minutes. The Aggies advanced to the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament, while the Buffs closed out the season with an 8-9-3 overall record.
Add to the similarities the fact that Colorado beat Texas A&M 2-1 earlier in the season — just like the U.S. beat Japan before the world cup finals.
“There were a lot of parallels,” Brunner said.
Brunner idolizes fellow goalie Hope Solo — “she’s a goddess, plain and simple,” she said — and added that as a goalie, she’s a huge fan of shootouts.
“You get to be the hero if you save one,” she said.
Brunner started 19 of 20 games last year as a freshman. The 19-year-old opted to graduate a semester early from Arvada West and enroll at CU in the spring of 2010 to practice with the team.
Instead of playing on her high school’s team, Brunner played club soccer for the Colorado Storm, helping the club win three straight state titles. Brunner also played for the Olympic Development Program’s state team for four years.
That experience is evident in the numbers she put up last year. As a rookie, Brunner made 61 saves and allowed 22 goals, which put her 10th on CU’s single season record list for goalies. Brunner said she wasn’t surprised to start as a freshman, and added that she’s always started throughout her soccer career.
“It was definitely a thrill,” she said. “I enjoyed it. I usually have a hard time waking up for practice every day but with that team, I loved every game, every second.”
With three senior and two junior defenders, Brunner had a knowledgeable back line in front of her. But 2010 was a growing season for Brunner, and this year she’ll be back with more maturity to face a host of new opponents in the Pac-12.
Keeping the Buffs’ goal average down will be key to succeeding against Pac-12 powerhouses Stanford and Oregon State, Brunner said.
And before each of those games, Brunner plans to pump up with country music by Ryan Bingham and the likes.
“A good, old, country western, authentic, makes-me-feel-like-Clint-Eastwood (song),” she said with a laugh.
The women’s soccer program at CU is young — it started in 1996 after the CU women’s club soccer program won the national title in 1995 and earned varsity status.
The program’s best known season was the 2003 campaign. The Buffs won Big 12 coach, player and rookie of the year, and broke 25 records. Colorado entered the Big 12 tournament as the No. 1 seed for the first time in program history, and entered the NCAA tournament as Big 12 champs and the No. 10 seed, falling to BYU 1-0.
Colorado’s last NCAA tournament appearance was in 2008, when it lost to South Dakota State 0-1 in the first round. In total, the Buffs have made six NCAA tournament appearances.
Head coach Bill Hempen will enter his 11th season at Colorado this year.
If you can only make one game…
For some pre-Halloween festivities, make sure to catch the Buffs in action against USC on Sunday, October 30 at Prentup Field. The Buffs don’t play the two top-ranked teams from last season — Stanford and Oregon State — at home, so USC is your best bet to watch some stellar soccer. The Trojans finished third in the Pac-12 last year with a 13-6 overall record, plus you can test out your costume early.