QUICKLY: Coming off a program-best three straight wins, including their first ever in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, the University of Colorado lacrosse team faces strong opponents in an East Coast road trip. First, the Buffaloes take on No. 9 Massachusetts at 2 p.m. MT on Friday, March 14 and then conclude the trip against New Hampshire at 10 a.m. MT on Sunday, March 16.
SCOUTING THE UMASS MINUTEWOMEN: The ninth ranked Minutewomen hold a perfect 6-0 record this season. UMass averages 12.33 goals per game, while holding its opponents to just 6.17 (only one opponent, Boston University, has scored more than six goals in a game). The Minutewomen impress across the board, netting 20 free position goals to their opponents’ nine, scooping up 121 ground balls to their opponents’ 95, and controlling nearly twice as many draws (80 to 42). Seventeen Minutewomen have scored goals, with three scoring in the double digits. Senior Sam Rush leads the group with 19 goals, while classmate Tanner Guarino has netted 10. Fellow senior Katie Ferris is the top point-getter with 11 goals and 14 assists. Lead goalie Rachel Vallarelli has allowed just 33 goals in over 324 minutes for the nation’s eighth best goals-against average, 6.11.
SCOUTING THE UNH WILDCATS: UNH holds a 3-4 record, including a 2-2 home mark. The Wildcats bounced back from a three-game losing streak with an 11-7 win over Connecticut. Though they fell 12-6 to regional foe UMass, they dominated their next game, shutting down Iona 12-3. Before hosting CU, the Wildcats will face Fairfield on March 14. The Wildcats net 8.29 goals per game off an average of 18 shots per game. Sophomore attack Laura McHoul, the 2013 America East Co-Rookie of the Year, leads the squad with eight goals and 15 assists. Two Wildcats have scored in the double digits, with juniors Laura Puccia and Kayleigh Hinkle netting 18 and 12 goals, respectively. In the crease, junior goalie holds a 9.71 goals-against average, grabbing 66 saves and allowing 68 goals through 420 minutes.
LIVE STREAM: Don’t miss a minute of the action. Watch the Buffs take on five-time Atlantic 10 Champions UMass at http://buffs.me/1i6Sooa (for purchase). Catch CU vs. UNH for free at www.americaeast.tv.
LAST TIME OUT: The Buffs are continuing to find success in their inaugural season. Colorado has now won three straight, with victories over Regis and Temple coming at home, and the Buffs’ first MPSF win happening at Fresno State. The Buffs took down the Bulldogs 12-6 for their fourth victory of the young season. The Buffs grabbed a 4-0 lead less than 10 minutes into the game. Fresno State scored its first and only goal of the first half with 20:01 remaining before CU raced into the break on a 6-0 scoring run. CU took a 10-1 lead into halftime, but Fresno State opened the final period with four consecutive goals. CU finally got a chance to respond with Cali Castagnola scoring her fourth and Tori Link netting her second, which would be the Buffs’ final goal, with 13:21 remaining. Neither team would score for over 12 minutes, with the Bulldogs breaking the drought with 1:44 remaining, but CU had already solidified its victory.
RISE OF THE WILDCATS: The CU coaching staff will face some familiar faces this weekend. All three head coaches at UMass, UNH and CU hail from Northwestern. Additionally, CU assistant coaches Hannah Nielsen and Colleen Magarity are both NU alumni. CU first year head coach Ann Elliott won three NCAA titles as a player, and helped Northwestern to three more as a member of the staff. In three years at UMass, coach Angela McMahon, an ‘04 NU grad, has led the Minutewomen to an impressive 54-7 record and three consecutive A-10 titles. Last season, McMahon helped the team to perfect records at home and in conference play. At UNH, Sarah Albrecht (NU ‘06) is entering her second year at the helm. In her debut season, she led her new Wildcats to a 6-11 mark, with four of their victories coming by a single goal.
MARIE MOORE, ROOKIE OF THE WEEK: The co-captain from Brick, N.J. has been a great leader for the young Buffs, holding one of the team’s most impressive stat lines. Moore has a team-high 23 draw controls and five caused turnovers and ranks second on the team with 14 goals off 26 shots. Against Temple, Moore scored three goals (two off of free position shots) and contributed two assists. She was an important part of CU’s 4-0 run to start the second half, scoring 59 seconds into the half and contributing back-to-back assists to give CU a 9-2 lead and an eventual 15-6 win. In CU’s first ever MPSF win, a 12-6 victory over Fresno State on Saturday, Moore recorded her third career hat trick and had a team-high five ground balls and three draw controls.
GOING BACK TO CALI: Cali Castagnola led the Buffs on the week with nine goals, helping the team to wins over Temple and Fresno State. On Tuesday against Temple, she had a career-high six points. Her five goals topped her previous best of four in her Colorado debut against Stetson. Against Fresno State, Castagnola once again led the Buffs, helping CU to its first ever MPSF win. Castagnola scored four goals against the Bulldogs, getting her hat trick from the 8-meter with 18:55 remaining to set the Buffs’ 6-0 scoring run in motion. Following a 4-0 run by Fresno State to start the second half, CU finally got its chance to respond with 14:33 remaining, with Castagnola scoring her fourth.
SUNNY GETTING SAVES: Lead goalie Paige Soenksen has spent over 344 minutes in the crease this season, posting a 10.11 goals-against average. Not only is “Sunny” standing out on the team, she’s also standing out nationally. Her 64 saves are the fourth highest in the nation, and her 10.67 saves per game rank eighth. In two wins over the weekend, Soenksen allowed just three first half goals. In CU’s win over Temple, Soensksen had one of the best performances of her young career, grabbing 18 saves off of the 32 shots she faced. She had twice as many saves as both of Temple’s goalies combined. In CU’s win over Fresno State, she grabbed 12 saves.
LOOK OUT, IT’S LAUT: Sarah Lautman has been looking forward to this weekend since the beginning of the season. She returns to her home state of Massachusetts to face her father’s alma mater, UMass. Lautman, one of two upperclassmen on the team, has been an important part of the Buffs’ midfield, causing four turnovers and scooping up a team-high 16 ground balls. She scored her first goals against Regis, and has been on a scoring spree ever since, netting all seven of her goals in the last three games. Not only did she net her first goal in CU’s inaugural home game, she also recorded her first hat trick. She kept up the pace in the next game, scoring two goals against Temple. At Fresno State, she was the final notch in both of CU’s first half runs, helping the team to a 10-1 halftime lead.
DEWINTER ICING OPPONENTS’ OFFENSE: Colorado native Maddie DeWinter has been an important part of the Buffalo defense. She leads the team with an impressive nine caused turnovers. She has also scooped up seven ground balls and won three draw controls.
DON’T BLINK: The Buffs began their game against Fresno State on a 10-1 first half run. The 10 goals were the most the Buffs have scored in a single period, and several players netted some of the fastest goals in the team’s young history. Amelia Brown started the Buffs off 2:26 into the game, and less than a minute later, Cali Castagnola helped the Buffs to a 2-0 lead. The Buffs continued the pace and in the first 9:29 added two more goals, another by Castagnola and one by Sarah Lautman.
BREAKING RECORDS: Against Temple, CU broke six team records. The Buffs’ attack was their strongest to date, scoring 15 goals, taking 29 shots and adding seven assists. The nine goal differential was CU’s highest margin of victory, and Paige Soenksen’s 18 saves were a program best. Additionally, CU had a season-low 25 fouls. The Buffs held Temple to seven total points and a single assist, both season-lows for an opponent facing CU.
NEXT UP: CU returns to Kittredge for a two-game home stand. The Buffs take on Brown at 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 22. Stick around after the game for an autograph session with the team. The Buffs play their first home MPSF match-up on Friday, March 28, hosting St. Mary’s at 3 p.m. Can’t make it to the games? Catch a live stream at buffs.me/buffslive.