QUICKLY: The University of Colorado women’s lacrosse team makes its Division I debut this weekend in Florida. First up, the Buffaloes face Stetson in DeLand, Fla. at 5 p.m. MT on Thursday, Feb. 13. Next up is a trip to Jacksonville. The Buffs take on the Dolphins on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 10 a.m. MT.
SCOUTING THE STETSON HATTERS: The Hatters went 2-14 in last year’s inaugural season, with both of their victories coming in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Stetson returns all 12 of last year’s starters, losing just two letterwinners, while welcoming 11 newcomers. The Hatters are 0-2 so far this season, falling to No. 3 Syracuse and Mountain Pacific Sports Federation opponent Oregon. The Hatters have been outscored 45-3, managing just eight shots to their opponents’ 82. Stetson’s two goaltenders have grabbed a combined 29 saves. Freshmen Jill Chiachetti and Julia Lozano and sophomore Melanie Fredericks have each scored one goal.
SCOUTING THE JACKSONVILLE DOLPHINS: In four seasons of DI lacrosse, head coach Mindy McCord has led the Dolphins to a 50-26 record, including a 13-6 mark in 2013. The Dolphins were a perfect 4-0 in A-Sun play last season and made their first trip to the NCAA Tournament, where they fell in the first round to then-No. 13 Denver. JU lost six of their starters, but have welcomed on 11 newcomers. Jacksonville has received votes in both the IWLCA Preseason and Week I Polls. The Dolphins fell 21-7 in their 2014 opener to Syracuse. Sophomore Kelsey Wiglesworth leads the squad with two goals off four shots. JU travels down the road to face Florida on Thursday before hosting the Buffs on Saturday.
CU LACROSSE: CU added women’s lacrosse as its 17th sport in February 2012. In February 2014, the team is ready to take the field for its inaugural season, highlighted by eight home games and nine conference match-ups. CU will have two games broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks, at Stanford and at home against USC.
THE COACHES: Three Northwestern alumni lead the Buffs. In their time as student-athletes, head coach Ann Elliott and assistant Colleen Magarity each won three NCAA Championships, while assistant Hannah Nielsen won four. Elliott and Nielsen each have prior experience as assistant coaches: Elliott spent three years as an assistant at her alma mater; Nielsen worked as an assistant at Penn State and Towson University. Nielsen, an Australia native, is a highly decorated player, holding several NCAA records and winning one of each medal in the Federation of International Lacrosse Women’s Lacrosse World Cup.
COLORADO DEBUTS: Lacrosse is the newest Division I sport at Colorado. CU’s current sports, in which a win, loss or tie is applicable, have gone 3-2-1 in their debuts. The oldest program at CU, football, fell 20-0 at the Denver Athletic Club on November 15, 1890. Men’s basketball made its debut on January 10, 1902, defeating State Prep School 34-10. The Buffs had a big year in 1975. On January 17, the women’s basketball team debuted with a 57-54 overtime win over Weber State. On September 26, women’s tennis premiered with a 9-0 win over Colorado State. The volleyball team made its debut on September 4, 1986, falling 3-0 to Iowa State. Colorado’s second youngest sport, soccer, debuted on August 31, 1996, when the Buffs tied Cal State Bakersfield 1-1 in overtime.
YOUTH IN REVOLT: CU welcomes 23 players to the inaugural roster, which boasts 21 freshmen. In their senior seasons of high school, four players earned All-American status, three were Academic All-American selections and six received all-state honors.
SOPHOMORE LEADERSHIP: In part, the Buffs will look to their two sophomores for leadership on the team. Katie Carroll spent her freshman season at Fairfield University, where she played for National Lacrosse Hall of Famer Mike Waldvogel. In seven games with the Stags, Carroll scored four goals, ranking third amongst Fairfield’s freshmen. She took nine shots, seven of which were on goal. Sarah Lautman was a two-year starter with the CU club team, scoring 32 goals. In her two seasons, she helped the Buffs to a 20-17 record and a second place finish in the Rocky Mountain Women’s Lacrosse League in 2012.
SEEING DOUBLE: Twins Amanda and Melissa Salvadore might have a few fans and opponents seeing double. No. 8 and No. 6, respectively, hail from Monroe Township, N.J. The 5-foot phenoms were both members of the Tri-State Lacrosse club program. Twins are common in the lacrosse team’s families. Claire McCain and Marie Moore both have twin sisters, and Johnna Fusco’s two younger sisters are twins. Twins are also a common feature in Colorado athletics. The men’s golf team features freshmen twins Jeremy and , while the women’s golf team has senior twins Jenny and . The women’s basketball team has boasted two pair of twins in recent years, 2013 grads Brenna and and current seniors Ashley and . Sophomores Jeromy and , triplets with a non-playing brother, also play football together at CU.
MPSF COACHES’ POLL: In their first season of play, the Buffs were picked to finish eighth in the 2014 Preseason Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Poll. Colorado received 23 points, seven more than its nearest opponent, St. Mary’s. For the fifth consecutive year, Stanford took the top spot, with Denver following closely behind.
6. San Diego State
7. UC Davis
9. St. Mary’s
10. Fresno State
STIFF COMPETITION: Three of the Buffs’ future opponents earned a spot in the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Week 1 Poll. Massachusetts leads the group at No. 12, with Stanford close behind at No. 14. Denver rounds out the group at No. 17. Jacksonville also received votes in the first week’s poll.
NEXT UP: CU makes its in-state debut with a trip to Denver on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 3 p.m. They open home play against Regis on Saturday, Feb. 22 at noon at Folsom Field.