QUICKLY: Following a challenging weekend on the East Coast, the University of Colorado lacrosse team looks to remain perfect at home as it faces Brown on Saturday, March 22. First draw is at 5 p.m. at Kittredge Field. Stay after the game for an autograph session with the team.
SCOUTING THE BROWN BEARS: For the second time in three games, the Buffs will face a team with a perfect 6-0 record. The Bears are off to their best start in program history, with six wins under their belt, including two on the road and four in non-conference play. In the Ivy League, the Bears beat Columbia 9-6 and edged then-No. 16 Princeton 14-13 in overtime. Brown has 15 goal scorers, including four in the double digits. Senior Brie Hudgins paces the Bears with 20 goals, netting hat tricks in five of six games. Classmate Danielle Mastro is the team’s leading point-getter with 12 goals and 12 assists. Sophomore Lauren Toy and senior Grace Healy have added 13 and 12 goals, respectively. Their attack is strengthened by the nation’s eighth best team on the draw, averaging 15.83 draw controls per game, with Healy ranking ninth in the nation with 5.5 per game. The Bears have scooped up a total of 101 ground balls to their opponents’ 78, with Kerianne Hunt and Erin Ross each coming up with 13 apiece. Junior goalie Kellie Roddy holds the country’s seventh best goals-against average (6.81) and an Ivy-League leading .526 save percentage.
LIVE STREAM: Can’t make it to the game? Watch the live stream at buffs.me/buffslive.
WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM: The Buffs are 2-0 at home this season, defeating Regis 13-10 at Folsom Field in their inaugural home game and taking down Temple 15-6 in their first ever home game at Kittredge Field. Kitt Field, located on Kittredge Loop on the eastern edge of CU’s Main Campus, is the official home of Colorado lacrosse. Kitt Field showcases Boulder’s Flatiron Mountains and a pristine field courtesy of CU’s turf management team. While there are bleachers for approximately 350, fans of CU lacrosse are welcome to bring lawn chairs and blankets to sit on in the open areas. Amenities for Colorado lacrosse fans include concessions and bathrooms in the Coors Events Center concourse and free game programs. Free parking is available in Lots 416 and 402. For more information, including a parking map and directions, please visit http://buffs.me/1fCNVuE. Due to construction on Regent Drive, please use Broadway, and not Colorado, to reach Regent and Kitt Field.
UMASS PROVES ITS WORTH: The Buffs faced their biggest challenge of the season in their eastern road trip, travelling to No. 9 Massachusetts. UMass proved early why it’s one of the nation’s best, scoring 12 first half goals, and holding CU to a season-low total of 13 shots, while taking 31 of its own. CU took away some opportunities for the Minutewomen in the second half, holding UMass to five goals in the final 30 minutes. CU also outshot UMass nine to eight, scooped up two more ground balls (seven to five) and controlled more draws (five to two) in the second half. Despite its early disadvantages, Colorado played its cleanest game yet, recording just nine fouls (the previous low was 25 against Temple on March 4). CU had the upper-hand in saves, with Paige Soenksen grabbing 10.
EARLY LEAD HELPS UNH TO VICTORY: The Buffs grabbed their first and only lead over New Hampshire in the first five minutes, but UNH would use an 8-1 run to grab a game-high seven goal lead twice in the first half. By halftime, CU managed to trim its deficit to four, down 10-6, and would pull within one in the first nine minutes of the second half. The Buffs took an even 12 shots in each half, but the Wildcats’ 23 first half shots helped them grab an early stronghold. After turning the ball over 20 times against UMass, CU did a much better job of handling the ball against UNH, with just nine turnovers. Cali Castagnola, Johnna Fusco and Amanda Salvadore ended the first half on a 3-0 CU run, and began the second half the same way to pull within one at 10-9 with 21:25 remaining in the game. CU outscored UNH five to four in the second half, but the late comeback wouldn’t be enough. In the final 21 minutes, the Wildcats scored all four of their final goals, while holding CU to just two.
WILDCAT ATTACK: CU head coach Ann Elliott faced two former Northwestern teammates last weekend, showing how standout Wildcats can make premier coaches. 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. 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.
LOOK OUT, IT’S LAUT: Sarah Lautman, one of two upperclassmen on the team, is proving to be a growing force for the Buffs. Since scoring her first goal (and getting her first hat trick) in CU’s inaugural home game against Regis, she has been on a roll. Lautman is one of two Buffs to score in each game since, scoring all nine of her goals in the last five games. She has scored two of the Buffs’ three fastest goals in history, taking just 30 seconds to score against Regis and 2:15 to go up against UMass. Lautman leads the squad with 21 ground balls and has controlled six draws and caused six turnovers.
GOING BACK TO CALI: Cali Castagnola is continuously dominant on the attack, becoming the first ever Buff to reach 20 goals in a season. Castagnola has recorded points in every game this season, and has scored in all but one, CU’s 15-4 loss at then-No. 18 Denver. Through eight games, she leads the Buffs with 26 points and 21 goals and leads the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation with nine free position goals. In the past four games, Castagnola has been the team’s leading scorer. Against UMass, the rookie attack scored both of her goals in the second half, sending all three of her shots on goal and causing a team-high two turnovers. At UNH, Castagnola, along with Johnna Fusco, recorded a hat trick and added one assist.
FEW AS FAST AS FUSCO: Johnna Fusco’s fast attack has made her one of the Buffs’ best. Despite missing one game, Fusco leads the team with nine assists and 38 shots and ranks second with 23 points, 14 goals, 16 ground balls and 24 draw controls. Fusco has scored in all but one of her appearances, recording a hat trick in three of her seven games played. Fusco helped the Buffs pull within a goal of UNH on Sunday, scoring two of her three goals during a 6-0 CU run that went from the end the first half to the beginning of the second.
SUNNY GETTING SAVES: In her debut DI season, lead goalie Paige Soenksen has stood out in the crease. “Sunny” ranks in the nation’s top 20 in three categories, with her 86 saves ranking fourth, her 10.75 saves per game fifth and her .491 save percentage rounding out the top 19. Soenksen has played over 464 minutes this season, posting an 11.50 goals-against average, allowing 89 goals off of 225 shots faced. Soenksen has grabbed double digit saves in five of her eight games played.
SCORING MOORE GOALS: Co-captain Marie Moore was on a six-game scoring streak entering last weekend, but the icy East Coast teams cooled down her attack, holding her to zero goals in both games. Though UMass and UNH boasted difficult defenses against Moore and the Buffs, Moore remains one of CU’s top scorers. Moore leads the team with 27 draw controls and ties for second with 14 goals. She has scored two or more goals in five games, including hat tricks against Jacksonville, Temple and Fresno State.
NEXT WEEK: The Buffs play their first home MPSF match-up on Friday, March 28, hosting St. Mary’s at 3 p.m.