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The inaugural season of CU women’s lacrosse will come to an end this Sunday after a final game against the University of Oregon in Eugene. But instead of post-season blues setting in, head coach Ann Elliot and her team will immediately be looking to next season.
The Lady Buffaloes went 9-6 in the regular season and were 5-2 among Pac-12 competition, a solid performance for their first go-round in Division I athletics.
“It is so exciting to build a program from the ground up, and we have 23 kids here that were really excited about that opportunity and invested in not only our program but the university in general,” Elliot said.
She also emphasized the players’ roles in creating sustainable success within the program.
“From the first day of practice in August till now, my favorite part was seeing these kids really starting to believe in themselves and showing that fight everyday,” Elliot said. “They have that ‘never give up’ attitude, and we’ve played some tough games where things have gone against us, and they have really been able to fight and battle through it all. I think that is the most exciting part for me because it shows that we have built this foundation right and that we’ll have a successful future here.”
Twenty-one of the 23 athletes on the team are freshman, furthering the need to look beyond this season at things to come. The entire roster plans on returning next year.
“While being a young team is challenging, it is also the exciting part because [players] bring that excitement and passion everyday,” Elliot said.
The incoming freshman class consists of 13 recruits.
“We have 23 kids right now who are going to be incredible leaders for these new 13 freshman and are going to help them adjust to college and adjust to our program and help them understand what Colorado lacrosse is all about,” Elliot said.
From the players’ perspective, being a part of the program’s foundation has been rewarding. Sophomore starter Sarah Lautman was a leader this season, although she was hesitant to admit it.
“It was definitely really exciting to start something new and be the first people to begin something. I think it was really special,” Lautman said.
Freshman starter Cali Castagnola, who had a remarkable debut season with 34 goals, a team record, was also relatively humble when talking about her season, preferring to talk about the coaches.
“They taught us a lot,” she said. “I learned how to work together with my teammates and how important communication was.”
The team expressed their readiness to meet the incoming players and start gearing up for next season.
“I am also excited to get another look at teams we have already played, and maybe necessarily haven’t done too well against,” Castagnola said.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Elizabeth Vogel at firstname.lastname@example.org.