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Twice down a goal, No. 25 CU Buffs soccer secures draw at No. 9 BYU

Shyra James continues hot start with late equalizer

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Short of a victory, the Colorado women’s soccer team couldn’t have made a more impactful early statement at the outset of what the Buffaloes hope will be a special 2022 season.

CU twice rallied from one-goal, second-half deficits during a top 25 battle at Brigham Young on Monday, escaping Provo with a 2-2 draw against the defending NCAA runner-up. Shyra James continued a torrid start to her junior season with the 25th-ranked Buffs’ second equalizer of the second half, in the 81st minute.

“You can see why BYU rarely drops points at home,” CU head coach Danny Sanchez said in a release. “They threw everything at us. But I was really proud of how we responded twice after going down a goal. I think it says a lot about the character of the group and it’s a good result on the road and hopefully gives us more momentum as we get more into the season.”

Dani Hansen had started 34 of 36 games since arriving at CU prior to the 2020 season, but against the ninth-ranked Cougars on the road she gave way to Bella Grust, who made just the second start of her career. Grust kept the Buffs in a scoreless tie at halftime before CU was forced to keep answering BYU in the second half.

The Cougars’ Olivia Wade opened the scoring in the 64th minute, but midfielder Jenny Beyer answered for the Buffs less than six minutes later, curling in a corner kick from the left corner to pull CU even at 1-1. It was the second time this season the Buffs have scored directly on a corner kick — Rachel Rosen scored CU’s first goal of the year on a corner kick in the opener against Weber State — and marked CU’s 10th goal off a set piece through four games.

Beyer has scored a goal in each of the past two games after rejoining the Buffs following a call-up to the German U20 national team.

BYU recaptured the lead early in the 72nd minute on a goal from Jamie Shepherd. Once again the Buffs refused to buckle, with James scoring the equalizer in the 81st. James has scored in all four games this season and, dating back to last year, extended her team-record goal-scoring streak to eight games.

With five goals this year, James has increased her career total to 19, good for eighth in program history. Next on the list is Brie Hooks (21).

Grust finished with six saves.

“Bella has been fantastic,” Sanchez said. “We’ve always said that we have confidence in all of our goalkeepers and I thought she really stepped up today. There was never really a moment for her to rest and relax and she kept us in the game early. We’re super proud of her effort and what she did today.”

CU returns home for a pair of home matches, beginning Thursday against Texas A&M Commerce (4 p.m.) and continuing Sunday against Omaha (1 p.m.).

No. 25 Colorado 2, No. 9 BYU 2

CU          0 2 — 2

BYU        0 2 — 2

Goals: Colorado — Beyer (corner kick), 70th minute; James (unassisted), 81st minute. BYU — Wade (Shepherd), 64th minute; Shepherd (unassisted), 72nd minute.

Saves (Min.-goals allowed-saves): Colorado — Grust (90-2-6); BYU — Mason (90-2-1).

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