QUICKLY: The University of Colorado lacrosse team looks to bounce back from a three-game losing skid as it hosts its first ever Mountain Pacific Sports Federation home game. The Buffaloes (4-5 overall, 1-1 MPSF) take on the Saint Mary’s Gaels on Friday, March 28 at Kittredge Field. First draw is at 3 p.m.
SCOUTING THE SAINT MARY’S GAELS: The Gaels are still searching for their first win at 0-5 overall, 0-3 MPSF. Each of the Gaels’ defeats have been by six of more goals, with their closest match a 20-14 loss to conference opponent California to open the season. Last week, St. Mary’s fell 16-4 to No. 15 Stanford. St. Mary’s is last in the conference in shot percentage at .378, and ranks ninth in shots per game (22.20), goals per game (8.40), assists per game (3.20) and points per game (11.60). The Gaels do find success on the ground, ranking third in the MPSF in ground balls, averaging 17.20 per game. Though the Gaels turn the ball over a conference-high average of 23.20 times per game, they also cause a nation-leading 15.00 per game. The Gaels have scored just 42 goals this season, nine coming from free-position shots, with senior Allie DeBruhl leading the way with 12 goals. Eight other Gaels have scored, with four scoring four or more. Junior Jaclyn Biggers has taken a team-high 28 shots, netting eight goals and contributing three assists. Senior Rachel Minarovich soundly dominates the draw, winning 30 draw controls, which rank sixth-best in the nation. Freshman goalie Sydney Pinello (a Colorado Springs, Colo. native) has grabbed a nation-leading 11.00 saves per game, while allowing a conference-high 18.13 goals per game.
LIVE STREAM: Can’t make it to the game? Watch the live stream at buffs.me/buffslive.
LAST TIME OUT: Despite the Brown Bears outscoring the Buffs nine to zero in the first half (marking just the second time CU has had a scoreless half - the first was against then-No. 18 Denver), CU closed the game on an 8-1 run, but it wouldn’t be enough, falling 11-8 last Saturday. The Bears had a defense as cold as the below freezing weather conditions, holding CU to just two first half shots. The Bears took just 50 seconds to score their first and would overpower the Buffs for the first 30 minutes. Brown took 12 of its 17 shots in the first half, netting nine goals and holding Paige Soenksen to just two saves. Following the intermission, Brown looked primed to continue dominating the game, extending its lead to 10 with 25:30 remaining, but the Buffs refused to go down without a fight. Taking over goalkeeping duties at halftime, Sophia Gambitsky held Brown to just two second half goals. Marie Moore recorded a hat-trick and Johnna Fusco scored a career-high four goals to lead CU on an 8-1 run in the final 12:30, though Brown’s lead would be too much to overcome in the final minutes of regulation. CU dominated in ground balls, picking up an even 12 each half to Brown’s 13 total, but the Bears showed their strength on the draw. Averaging 15.83 draw controls per game, the eighth best in the nation, Brown won 13 draws to CU’s eight. Turnovers proved a problem for both teams, with Brown and CU turning it over 21 and 19 times, respectively.
WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM: The Buffs are 2-1 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. Last Saturday, CU suffered its first ever home loss, falling to Brown 11-8.
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, bathrooms and free game programs. Free parking is available in Lot 416 beginning an hour before first draw. 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.
FUSCO EARNS SECOND ROW HONOR: Johnna Fusco has been selected as the MPSF Rookie of the Week. Fusco was an important part of CU’s late comeback against Brown. Though the Bears (7-0) claimed the victory, Fusco scored a career-high four goals in CU’s 8-1 run in the final 12:30 of the game. Fusco scored her first (and the Buffs’ second) with 11:27 remaining. In less than a two minute span to close the game, Fusco scored three in a row to get CU within four. Fusco also tied a team-high two draw controls. This is Fusco’s second Rookie of the Week title, and the Buffs’ third. Fusco earned ROW honors in CU’s first weekend of play, recording nine points off five goals and four assists against Stetson and Jacksonville. Fusco leads the Buffs this season with 27 points, nine assists and 43 shots. She ranks second with 18 goals and 26 draw controls.
SECOND HALF SURGE: The Buffs are proving that they can get down, but are certainly not out in the second half of the game. In their last three outings, the Buffs have allowed nine or more goals in the first half, while allowing just five or fewer in the second.
OPPONENTS ICING THE BUFFS’ OFFENSE: In CU’s three-game losing skid, the Buffs’ opponents have found a way to silence some of the team’s top scorers. Sophomore Sarah Lautman and freshman Cali Castagnola were both on five-game scoring streaks, with each netting at least one goal in each game since CU’s inaugural home game versus Regis. Against Brown, both Lautman and Castagnola were held to no shots, much less any goals. In the Buffs’ challenging 17-4 loss to then-No. 9 UMass, the Minutewomen became the only opponent to hold Johnna Fusco scoreless. Fusco managed just one shot in that game, but has been back on the attack since, scoring seven total goals in the Buffs’ last two games. Marie Moore was also iced out while on the East Coast, leaving New Hampshire and Massachusetts scoreless, ending her six-game scoring streak. Moore also found her rhythm once more against Brown, netting a hat trick during CU’s late run.
SUNNY ONE SO TRUE: Though Paige Soenksen got just two saves in her last outing, “Sunny” remains one of the nation’s best at stopping the ball. With 88 saves this season, including a career-high 18 against Temple, she ranks fourth in the nation. She also sits in the top 10 in saves with an average of 9.78. Soenksen is 24th in save percentage, boasting a 0.473 mark. She has played over 494 minutes this season, allowing 98 goals off the 237 shots she has faced and holding an 11.90 goals-against average.
SCORING MOORE GOALS: Marie Moore has scored in six of her nine games played this season, scoring two or more goals in five. Moore is one of three Buffs to have four games with at least three goals. She was key to the Buffs’ late comeback against Brown, setting off the run by scoring CU’s first goal with 12:30 left in the second half. During a five minute 4-0 run, Moore netted a hat trick to pull the Buffs the closest they’d been since the first 12 minutes of the first half. Moore was also the only Buff to score against Brown’s lead goalie Kellie Roddy, who held the nation’s seventh best goals-against average.
NEXT WEEK: The Buffs travel to California to face two MPSF opponents. First up, CU takes on UC Davis at 2 p.m. MT on Friday, April 4. The Buffs conclude the trip at Stanford, taking on the reigning MPSF tournament champions on Sunday, April 6 at 2 p.m. MT. CU-Stanford will air on the Pac-12 Regional Networks.