College soccer almost was an afterthought for Civana Kuhlmann this past summer.
She practically was an 11th-hour addition for Colorado. Yet she already has made a monumental impact in Boulder.
Kuhlmann’s penalty kick provided the game’s only goal on Sunday, as CU edged Oregon 1-0 before a crowd of 1,520 at Prentup Field. The 19th-largest home crowd in program history, which included CU president Todd Saliman and a pregame run from Ralphie, saw Kuhlmann help the Buffs reach a goal-scoring milestone while completing a much-needed sweep of the Oregon schools.
Kuhlmann, a Colorado native who played the bulk of her career at Stanford, was at home recovering from a series of injuries this past summer with an eye on beginning her professional career in 2023. Once her recovery progressed faster than expected, and with an extra year of eligibility still at her disposal, one call from Kuhlmann to CU head coach Danny Sanchez unexpectedly gave the Buffs one of the most dynamic attackers in the Pac-12 Conference.
“Last night, coming into this morning and today’s game, I just (thought) about how surreal it is that I even have an opportunity to play in Boulder, in front of a great crowd with a ton of my family here,” Kuhlmann said. “It’s been so much fun. I’ve put in a lot of work to get here and I’m happy some of it is paying off.”
Kuhlmann’s penalty-kick goal in the 74th minute was her 10th of the season and increased her Pac-12-leading point total to 26, which is tied for the sixth-best single-season mark in team history. Along with Shyra James’ 11 goals, the Buffs now have multiple double-digit goal scorers for just the third time in program history, with all of them occurring in the past seven seasons. Danica Evans and Taylor Kornieck scored 11 goals apiece in 2016, and in 2018 Jorian Baucom scored 12 while Tatum Barton posted 11.
Kuhlmann has recorded a point in nine consecutive games and has surpassed the career-highs in goals and points she set as a redshirt freshman at Stanford in 2017 (nine goals, 22 points).
“What you get with her is you’re going to get the goals and all that. But I think what she’s really brought in her short time here is an element of leadership and work ethic and professionalism that really our younger players can look to,” Sanchez said. “She’s been really efficient with her playing and she’s a fantastic person as well.”
CU (8-3-3, 2-2-1 Pac-12) dominated the possession for much of the match, but the Buffs couldn’t get any their plentiful chances past Oregon goalie Leah Freeman, who finished with six saves.
CU’s scoring sequence began when Kayleigh Webb, a fifth-year senior making her program record 92nd career start, drew a foul just outside the Ducks’ penalty area. Oregon was called for a hand ball off the ensuing free kick, and Kuhlmann converted the penalty.
The Buffs’ defense didn’t allow a shot on goal.
“I don’t know how many games we’ve had at CU where the opponent didn’t have any shots on goal,” Sanchez said. “I thought that our back four, and Lawson (Willis) when we moved her in there as well, those five players were dynamite today. I thought the back four played really well.”
CU is back in action on Friday at Arizona (8 p.m. MT, Pac-12 Arizona).
Colorado 1, Oregon 0
OU 0 0 — 0
CU 0 1 — 1
Goals — Colorado: Kuhlmann (PK), 74th minute.
Goalies (Min.-goals allowed-saves) — Oregon: Freeman (90-1-6). Colorado: Hansen (90-0-0).