QUICKLY: The University of Colorado lacrosse team has won back-to-back Mountain Pacific Sports Federation games against St. Mary’s and at UC Davis, but the Buffaloes (6-5, 3-1) face their biggest challenge of the season with a visit to No. 8 Stanford on the Cardinal’s Senior Day.
SCOUTING THE STANFORD CARDINAL: Stanford, the defending conference tournament champion, saw its six-game winning streak put to bed on Friday, falling 13-12 to Denver. The tight defeat was just Stanford’s second loss of the season, with its first dating all the way back to March 2 when Vanderbilt edged Stanford 16-15 in overtime. Stanford have eight wins, including three on the road against other ranked teams, including then-No. 11 Towson, No. 14 Georgetown and most recently, No. 6 Notre Dame (an 11-10 win in South Bend). Sophomore Lucy Dikeou led Stanford against Denver with three goals, five draw controls, two ground balls and a caused turnover. Dikeou, the reigning MPSF Offensive Player of the Week, leads the team this season with 15 caused turnovers, ties a team-high 17 goals and 24 points and ranks second on the Cardinal with seven assists. The Cardinal has a deep bench, with 17 other players netting goals, with two-sport star Hannah Farr leading the way with 17 goals, 22 ground balls and 21 draw controls. Prior to this week’s games, Farr ranked in the conference’s top five in game-winning goals, free-position goals and ground balls per game. The Cardinal also ranks in the MPSF top three and the nation’s top 25 in win percentage, ground balls per game, scoring offense, scoring margin and caused turnovers. Lead goalie Lyndsey Munoz holds a 9.44 goals-against average (entering the week ranked fourth in the conference and 31st in the nation). She has allowed 88 goals, while grabbing 52 saves in 560 minutes of play.
PAC-12 NETWORKS: Watch the Buffs take on the Cardinal on the Pac-12 Mountain and Bay Area Networks, with Jason Knapp doing play-by-play and Kara Lentz providing analysis. New to the Networks? Find out where to watch at http://pac-12.com/channel-finder.
LAST TIME OUT: With strong performances across the board, CU eased to its third MPSF win of the inaugural season, taking down UC Davis 14-5. Colorado outshot UC Davis 33 to 23, including 20 to 13 in the second half. The Aggies did grab the upper-hand in ground balls (13 to 11) and draw controls (11 to nine, and five to two in the first half), which helped UCD fight for contention. The Buffs once again had a stellar defensive performance, successfully clearing the ball in each of their 12 attempts, marking the second straight game the Buffs were perfect on clears. Johnna Fusco and Cali Castagnola led the Buffs offensively, combining for nine goals. Five other Buffs each added a goal of their own. Once again, Katie Macleay was an important part of the attack, contributing three assists. Though UC Davis took the first three shots of the game, CU scored goals off its first four. CU also took great advantage of UCD errors, with the Buffs scoring four of their first five goals off of three Aggie turnovers and one foul.
SECOND HALF STOPS: For five straight games, CU has held its opponent to five or fewer goals in the second half. In their two most recent wins, the Buffs have held each of their opponents to five total goals. CU relied on second half comebacks during their three-game skid, but late runs weren’t necessary against St. Mary’s and UC Davis.
RANKED TEAMS RACKING UP WINS: Three of CU’s five defeats have been to teams ranked or receiving votes in the IWLCA poll. Two ranked teams (then-No. 18 and No. 9 UMass) held CU to a season-low four goals.
BACK ON THE ATTACK: Seeing their five-game scoring streaks come to an end against Brown, Cali Castagnola and Sarah Lautman have each bounced back during conference play. The two have combined for 11 goals in the past two games. Marie Moore began the season on a six-game scoring streak, but was iced out on the Buffs’ East Coast swing. Since returning west, she recorded back-to-back hat tricks against Brown and Saint Mary’s, and netted her 21st of the season at UC Davis. Moore, Castagnola and Johnna Fusco are the only Buffs to have five games with at least three goals. Moore also ranks 35th in the nation and first on the team in draw controls. Behind its resurgent attack, CU entered the week ranking in the nation’s top 51 in ground balls per game, draw controls, points, scoring offense, scoring margin and win percentage.
THE FUSCO, THE PROUD: Two-time MPSF Rookie of the Week Johnna Fusco continues to build on her killer freshman campaign. Against UCD, Fusco set a CU single-game record with eight points. Her five goals were a career-high and matched Castagnola’s single-game record. With three assists, Fusco and Katie Macleay are the only Buffs to notch at least three in two games. An indelible threat, especially in late game situations, Fusco notched the Buffs’ last against the Aggies with 1:10 remaining to help CU to the 14-5 win. Fusco has scored five of CU’s 10 latest goals this season. Fusco paces the Buffs with 37 points (off 25 goals and 12 assists) and 60 shots. She ranks second on the team with eight free-position goals, 25 ground balls, and 29 draw controls. Fusco has scored in all but one of her 10 games played, scoring two or more goals in eight games.
GOING BACK TO CALI: With another stellar performance at UC Davis, Cali Castagnola has now had five games with at least four goals, and six with at least three. Against the Aggies, Castagnola scored four goals off five shots. She leads the team with 29 goals, ranks second with 35 points and is third with six assists and seven caused turnovers.
MACLEAY AN ASSISTING MACHINE: Katie Macleay leads the Buffs with 14 assists, including 10 in her last two games. Against St. Mary’s, Macleay contributed a program-best seven assists, tying for fourth most in MPSF history and the second most this season (behind Oregon’s Shannon Propst’s nine assist performance at Stetson on February 10). Macleay got all three of her assists at UC Davis during the Buffs’ 5-1 run to close the game. Macleay ranks third on the team with 23 points and 15 ground balls.
AMELIA BEDELIA HELPS OUT: Amelia Brown had three goals in her first nine games. In the two games since, she has been a force on the attack, netting five goals. Against St. Mary’s, Brown was a perfect 4 for 4 in shooting, having a career performance with four goals and a ground ball. At UC Davis, Brown netted another, scooped up a ground ball and won two draw controls.
SUNNY ONE SO TRUE: Lead goalie Paige Soenksen has been a leading factor in the Buffs’ defense. Head coach Ann Elliott said Soenksen helped keep the Buffs in the game early against UC Davis, picking up key saves to help the Buffs grab the lead instead of playing from behind. In the game, Soenksen grabbed nine saves and held UCD to just one first half goal. Soenksen is solidly one of the nation’s best shot blockers. Entering the week, she ranked in the top 20 in saves, saves per game and save percentage. Soenksen holds a 10.78 goals-against average, allowing 105 goals and grabbing 100 saves off the 269 shots she’s faced in over 584 minutes.
SMASHING RECORDS: The Buffs continue to break records in their inaugural season. CU broke multiple records against St. Mary’s last week. The 14 goal win was CU’s biggest margin of victory to date. CU was commanding on the attack, with its 19 goals, including 14 in the first half, 13 assists and 32 total points each marking team bests. The Buffs have scored 10 goals in a single half in two previous games, in the first half versus MSPF opponent Fresno State and in the second against Temple. SMC also had 21 turnovers - the most of any CU opponent this season. The Buffs kept breaking records against UC Davis. In the past two games, CU has matched program-highs of 33 shots per game. CU also had a season-low nine turnovers for the third time. UC Davis had zero assists and just five points, both lows for a CU opponent this season.
FIRST: CU’s season of firsts continues, with March 28 serving as both the Buffs’ first MPSF home game and win. Defender Maddie DeWinter and midfielder Claire McCain each netted their first collegiate goals in the 19-5 victory over St. Mary’s.
NEXT UP: CU nears the end of the regular season with a four-game home stand. Next weekend, they play host to conference opponents USC and San Diego State. The Buffs take on the Trojans at 4 p.m. on Friday, April 11 in a match-up televised on the Pac-12 Regional Networks. Be one of the first 300 fans in attendance and receive a free T-shirt. Colorado ends the weekend against the SDSU Aztecs at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 13. To celebrate Youth Lacrosse Day, players in the eighth grade and younger are invited to a post-game skills and drills clinic.