Contact CU Independent Sports Staff Writer Olivia Butrymovich at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A dusting of snow and some chilling temperatures didn’t stop the CU women’s lacrosse team from bringing home a big conference win. The Buffs defeated the California Golden Bears, 16-4, in their final home game of the season on Sunday.
Colorado celebrated their sole senior in her final game in Boulder. Midfielder Sarah Lautman will be the first ever senior to graduate from the program, which began only two years ago. Lautman joined the team during that initial season back in 2014, but she was a member of the club team before becoming a three year starter for the Buffs varsity team. Lautman has helped guide the Buffs to 32 wins in their first three seasons, and has scored 23 goals this season for Colorado, two of which came Sunday afternoon.
“It’s been an amazing ride,” said Lautman following her final home game. “It’s been one of the best experiences of my life, best three years, and you know, I’m sad it’s ending, but it’s been amazing.”
“This isn’t Sarah’s last game, you know the only thing we can do is obviously, keep working hard and winning to make sure her season is as long as it can be this year,” head coach Ann Elliott added.
Colorado’s win over the Bears gives them a record of 11-4. The Buffs are ranked third in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference with a record of 6-2. CU is also receiving votes in the NCAA rankings, and sit just outside of the top 20.
California scored the first goal of the game with just over 28 minutes to play in the first half. Colorado didn’t wait long to retaliate, as junior attacker Johnna Fusco scored in the next minute to tie the game early 1-1.
The Buffs scored once more following Fusco’s initial goal. Sophomore midfielder Marie Moore scored the second goal for the Buffs with around 22 minutes to play. Cal answered quickly with another goal to tie the match at two all.
Colorado scored four unanswered goals in the next 10 minutes of the game. Back-to-back goals from sophomore midfielder Darby Kiernan lifted the Buffs two points over the Bears. A goal from freshman midfielder Miranda Stinson and a goal from sophomore attacker Carly Cox, assisted by Kiernan, boosted the Buffs to a 6-2 lead over Cal.
After a near-16-minute scoring drought, the Golden Bears responded with their third goal of match.
But a flurry of action from Colorado prevented California from carrying any momentum into the second half. Fusco scored the Buffs’ seventh point of the game with 13 seconds on the clock, then Lautman scored the Buffs’ final goal of the first half with two seconds left on the clock. Her breakaway was assisted by junior midfielder Katie Macleay.
Colorado had 14 shots on goal during the first half. Cal managed four. Colorado also maintained a solid control over the ball, giving up only five turnovers to the Bears’ 11.
Junior goalie Paige Soenksen had only one save during the first 30 minutes, due to the strong defensive action taken by Colorado. Cal’s goalie managed six saves against the Buffs.
Colorado wasted no time at all getting to work in the second half. Stinson scored the first goal of the half within thirty seconds of it’s beginning.
The next four goals of the match all belonged to CU. Two consecutive goals by Kiernan gave her four goals during the match, and thirty goals for the season. A second goal from Moore with a Kiernan assist lifted the Buffs to a 12-3 game.
Fusco’s third goal of the match came with over 21 minutes left in the game and forced the clock to keep running.
Cal’s only score of the second half came 14 minutes into the half, but Colorado set out to distance themselves even further from the Bears through the game’s end.
A third Stinson goal, followed by a goal from junior attacker Cali Castagnola, assisted by sophomore midfielder Sarah Brown, gave the Buffs a 15-4 lead with eight and a half minutes left to play.
As destiny would have it, Lautman scored the final goal of the game and her final goal in Boulder with nine seconds left on the clock. Lautman helped the Buffs secure the 16-4 win over California.
CU’s defense held the Bears to only eight shots in the game. Soenksen had a fairly relaxing day, grabbing a second save during the last half. Twenty Cal turnovers also proved to be beneficial to the win. Colorado ended the day with nine turnovers.
Kiernan managed four goals during the match on nine shots. She also had two assists. Stinson had three goals on only four shots during the game. She also managed one assist. Fusco three goals also came with only seven shots on goal.
Seven Buffs had goals during the game, and many had more than one, including the senior and the star of the day.
Colorado’s final regular season game will take place next Sunday against the Oregon Ducks in Oregon at noon MST. The Buffs will began preparations for the MPSF Championship, which will begin the following Sunday at Stanford University on Palo Alto.