BOULDER – The inaugural University of Colorado lacrosse spring schedule includes eight home matches and nine conference bouts, head coach Ann Elliott announced Tuesday. 

The Buffaloes begin the season with a trip to Florida to take on Stetson and Jacksonville.

“I am looking forward to kicking off our season down in Florida against two solid teams in Stetson and Jacksonville,” Elliott said. “To be able to go on the road early and play two teams in one weekend will be a great test for our program.”

CU opens play against Stetson on Thursday, Feb. 13. The Hatters completed their first season with a 2-14 record, with both of their wins coming late in the season over Atlantic Sun Conference opponents Kennesaw State and Howard. All of Stetson’s top five scorers are returning for their sophomore and junior seasons.  

Next up for the Buffs is a matchup with another A-Sun team, Jacksonville, on Saturday, Feb. 15. In their fourth season of play, the Dolphins finished the 2013 season with a 13-6 record, including a perfect 4-0 conference mark. The Dolphins made their first NCAA Tournament last season, falling in the first round to then No. 13 Denver. JU welcomes 11 newcomers to their 2014 squad.   

The Buffs continue the road trip with their first Mountain Pacific Sports Federation game, as they take on Denver on Wednesday, Feb. 19. The Pioneers closed last season with an 18-3 record and a trip to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. DU notched perfect 8-0 marks in conference play and on their home turf. In their fall matchup on October 2, the Buffs pulled within two goals on three separate occasions before falling to the Pioneers 13-6.

“Denver will be our first conference game,” Elliott said. “Competing in our conference is extremely important as it can mean an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. We know Denver is the defending regular season MPSF Champion and we are excited about this challenge early on in our season.”

After their road trip, the Buffs open home play on Saturday, Feb. 22 against Regis.

“After being on the road for three games it will be exciting to finally be able to play at home,” Elliott said. “This will mark the first ever women’s Division I lacrosse game at CU and we are very excited to be able to play at home with the support of the community and our fans.”

The Rangers averaged 16.4 goals per game last season on their way to a 10-5 record, finishing 4-3 on the road. The Rangers ranked in the Division II top 10 in draw controls per game (a DII-leading 17.67), scoring offense, goals per game and caused turnovers.   

CU concludes the two-game home stand against Temple on Tuesday, March 4. The Owls have lost three of their top five scorers, who combined for 101 of the squad’s 204 goals last season and led the team to a 9-8 record. 

“Temple will be another great challenge for us and opportunity for us to play at home,” Elliott said. “They are a strong team and we’re excited that they are able to come out and play us in Boulder.”

The Buffs hit the road for another three game road trip and their second MPSF game. To begin the trip, Colorado will take on Fresno State on Saturday, March 8. The young Bulldogs look to improve on their 2013 record of 2-13 overall, 0-8 MPSF.

“Fresno State will be our first trip of two to California,” Elliott said. “Being a conference matchup, this game is very important to us. I am excited to make my first ever trip to Fresno.”

The Buffs continue the trip with an eastern swing, taking on Massachusetts on Friday, March 14 and New Hampshire on Sunday, March 16.

“Having many players from the East Coast, and Massachusetts in general, this will be a special trip for us,” Elliott said. “Both UMass and UNH are extremely well coached and will be tough battles for our program. I am looking forward to playing against two of my former teammates at Northwestern who are currently the head coaches at UMass and UNH.”

UMass has taken home five consecutive Atlantic-10 Championship titles (including three under head coach Angela McMahon). Last season, the Minutewomen posted an 18-3 record, including perfect records at home and in conference play. Though they graduated two of their top four point scorers from last season, they return All-American and 2013 A-10 Lacrosse Player of the Year Katie Ferris. 

In her first year at the helm of the New Hampshire Wildcats, Sarah Albrecht led the team to a 6-11 record, with three wins coming in America East play. Four of their victories were by a single goal, with a 16-0 shutout of Iona working as an impressive exception.

CU returns to Boulder for matches against Brown (on Saturday, March 22) and MPSF foe St. Mary’s (on Friday, March 28).

“This year our team will spend spring break in Boulder,” Elliott said. “I am looking forward to really being able to focus in during this time. We will play both Brown and St. Mary’s during our break. Both games will be very important for us as we look to kick off the second half of our regular season.”

Eight newcomers (including five high school All-Americans) join Brown’s returning seniors and Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Northeast All-Region selections Brie Hudgins and Erin Roos. Hudgins led the 2013 squad with 37 goals and 12 assists, helping the Bears to a 9-6 record, including losses by three or fewer goals to three top 20 teams.

St. Mary’s returns eight seniors from last year’s squad who went 4-9 overall, 2-6 MPSF. The Gaels excelled at home, posting a 4-2 record in Moraga, but struggled on the road, posting a 0-7 away record.  

In their second trip to California, the Buffs will continue with conference play. The road trip begins on Friday, April 4 against UC Davis and concludes on Sunday, April 6 against Stanford.

“In April, we will head back to California for two more matchups,” Elliott said. “Stanford and UC Davis are both very athletic teams and these are important conference games for us. It will be very important for us to be able to compete both Friday and Sunday as our conference matchups are extremely important. I believe our trips to Florida and the East Coast will be good preparation for us for this second trip to California.”

Last season, first year head coach Kate Henwood helped the UC Davis Aggies to a 6-9 record. All three of their conference wins came at home, including an exciting 15-14 overtime upset over then No. 14 Stanford to end the season. Three of their five conference losses were by five goals or fewer.

Heading into her sixth season as the Stanford head coach, Amy Bokker, who as an assistant coach recently helped the United States National Team to the 2013 Federation of International Lacrosse Women’s Lacrosse World Cup title, continues to build a strong program. The team’s nine incoming freshmen make up Inside Lacrosse’s ninth highest ranked recruiting class. The defending MPSF Tournament Champions earned a 14-6 overall, 6-2 MPSF record last season, claiming wins over four top 20 teams before falling to then No. 2 Northwestern in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. 

The Buffs return for their final home stand of the season to host three MPSF challengers and one non-conference opponent, beginning with USC and San Diego State.

“I am very excited to welcome both USC and San Diego State to Boulder for the first time,” Elliott said. “Both programs are building from the ground up and it will be a fun and important weekend for us,” Elliott said. “To get to play against Lindsey Munday, my former teammate and someone who has helped me through my first year and a half here at CU, is very exciting.”

Last year, in their first season of varsity play, the USC Trojans posted an 8-10 overall, 5-3 MPSF record. Head coach Lindsey Munday has put together one of the nation’s strongest incoming classes, ranked 10th by Inside Lacrosse. The Buffs will take on the Trojans on Friday, April 11.

Next up for the Buffs is San Diego State on Sunday, April 13. In two seasons of lacrosse, SDSU head coach Kaylee White has helped the team to a 13-18 record. The Aztecs showed improvement last season, finishing with an 8-8 record, with wins over three conference opponents.   

CU concludes home play against Old Dominion and California. The Buffs take on the Old Dominion Monarchs on Friday, April 18 and the Cal Golden Bears on Sunday, April 20.

“Our last weekend at home will be a very important one for us,” Elliott said. “We are looking forward to welcoming two great programs out to Boulder and finishing our home regular season off.”

Old Dominion closed the 2013 campaign with a 4-13 record, including wins over Conference USA rivals William & Mary and George Mason. Junior Karen Hayde, who ranked 16th in nation with 141 saves and 31st nationally with 44 ground balls, and senior Emily Austerberry, who ranked second on the team with 27 goals, captain the 2014 Monarchs.

In two seasons as the Cal head coach, Ginger Miles, who was recently named the defensive coordinator of Team Scotland, has helped the Golden Bears to a 17-15 record, including a 9-7 mark last season. Cal impressed in conference play, only falling to then No. 11 Denver and No. 14 Stanford. The Golden Bears also won five road matches, but enter the season without All-American and two-time MPSF Player of the Year Megan Takacs, who graduated after the 2013 season.

The Buffs close the regular season in Eugene, Ore. on Sunday, April 27 to face Oregon. Oregon wrapped the 2013 season with an 8-9 record. The Ducks earned a 5-5 home record and three conference victories. The Ducks began the season with an 8-7 overtime loss to then No. 12 Dartmouth and won three of their last five games, falling only to top 15 teams Stanford and Denver. Oregon returns four of 2013’s top five scorers.  

“Our trip to Oregon will mark our last game of our first regular season,” Elliott said. “Every conference game is extremely important to us and this one will be no different. Oregon is a strong, athletic team and I am excited to finish off our conference schedule in Eugene.”

Six of the 10 MPSF teams will advance to the MPSF Championships, hosted by Denver on May 1-4.