While many people were entranced by the flames lighting up the west side of Boulder on Sunday, sparks were also flying on the lacrosse field. The University of Colorado’s women’s lacrosse team defeated the Oregon Ducks 16-11 at home, cruising to their ninth straight win this season.
With smoke filling the air around campus, the Buffs were forced to move their game into the brand new practice facility to challenge the Ducks. Despite a change of scenery and some bright fluorescents, the Buffaloes failed to displease in front of a devoted home crowd.
Colorado continues to impress with its undefeated season. The Buffs are 9-0 overall and boast a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference record of 2-0. CU has four wins so far over ranked teams which has helped boost them to No. 4 in the nation in the Inside Lacrosse poll and No. 7 in the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association poll.
Senior goalie Paige Soenksen noted the team’s struggle to overcome the building pressure to maintain the undefeated season.
“We’ve [got] a bit of a target on our backs and I think that’s something we need to build off of and really kind of learn from, that teams are gonna come out here and they’re going to want to beat us really badly,” she said.
Oregon had Colorado on the ropes in the beginning. The Buffs were forced into an early defensive game, unable to knock off many shots against the Ducks. Soenksen recorded multiple saves within the first ten minutes of play.
Colorado’s first goal was scored by junior attacker Carly Cox. Cox fired off the first goal on a breakaway with 19:55 remaining in the first half.
Not even two minutes had passed when Cox notched her second goal of the match after an assist from senior attacker Katie Macleay. Cox was able to come away with a successful goal in heavy traffic in front of the net.
21 seconds later, with 17:32 remaining in the half, sophomore midfielder Miranda Stinson saw her first profit of the match, scoring on a free position attempt.
Cox then scored her third goal, helping the Buffs to a 4-0 lead with 16:14 left in the game.
A fairly one-sided match continued into the 19th minute of play, when senior attacker Cali Castagnola scored the Buffs fifth consecutive goal.
Oregon finally got on the board with 10:55 left in the first. Despite the initial boost, the Buffs succeeded in scoring two more goals in the first half. A goal from junior attacker Darby Kiernan and a fourth from Cox helped the Buffs to a commanding 7-3 lead at the half.
A lopsided score throughout the middle, the Ducks kept the Buffs in their sights. The Buffs had 16 shots in the first half to Oregon’s nine. Soenksen did not see much action in the first half, saving just four shots to Oregon’s seven.
The second half began in Colorado’s favor. The Buffs had goals from Stinson, Macleay, Castagnola and Kiernan within the first eight minutes of the second half. Colorado jumped to a commanding 12-4 lead and seemed to embrace their dominance over the Ducks.
Slowly, however, Oregon made its move back into the competition. The Buffs’ No. 4 ranked scoring offense struggled to convert their efforts to defense. The Ducks forced multiple turnovers to which they were able to capitalize into goals. With 7:03 remaining, Oregon was back in the game, trailing, 14-9. The shaken Buffs finally called a timeout after enduring a barrage of goals.
Despite the late attack from Oregon, Colorado was able to hang on for an ugly win. Cox scored her fifth, and the Buffs’ final goal of the match with 1:25 remaining to secure the 16-11 win.
The Buffs ended the match with 16 turnovers. Soenksen ended her day with eight total saves on 24 Oregon shots. Colorado still commanded on offense amounting a total of 33 shots.
Other than Cox’s five goals, both Stinson and Kiernan finished their day with three goals a piece. Stinson also had two assists.
Head coach Ann Elliott expressed some concerns regarding the tight end match and what the team needs to work on moving into the latter half of the season.
“We have to look back and figure out how to get better today and that will be our focus as we move forward next week and start thinking about Fresno,” she said. “We have to better ourselves first and figuring out what areas we can improve on so we can finish games stronger.”
Colorado’s next game will be on Saturday, March 25 at 12 p.m. (MST) against Fresno State in Boulder.
Contact CU Independent Assistant Sports Editor Olivia Butrymovich at Olivia.Butrymovich@colorado.edu