As openers go, the University of Colorado lacrosse team couldn't have asked for a much better outcome than the one it achieved Thursday in Deland, Fla. The Buffs came away with a 12-4 win over Stetson, proving victorious in the program's first-ever game.
"Going into the game we were really excited," CU coach Ann Elliott said. "We had a really good walkthrough this morning. I knew the girls were going to come out with a lot of energy and excitement with it being our first game. We were really happy with the way they came out, not just the excitement and energy, but really the focus they had and the determination to really play together and stick to our game plan."
Colorado appeared more than prepared for its first competition, storming out of the gate to take an early lead and sustaining a commanding edge throughout the length of the contest. Cali Castagnola led the charge, racking up a hat trick by the midpoint of the first period to give CU a 3-0 lead. The freshman finished the day with four goals on five shots.
"Cali stepped up for sure early in the game," Elliott said. "I think they were all a result of our offense playing together, working hard together to give each other opportunities, and Cali was able to take advantage early on. I think it really set the tone for the team. It was exciting for us."
The relentless Buffs continued to light up the scoreboard, pushing their lead to 6-0 by halftime thanks to a goal by Katie Macleay and two more by Johnna Fusco. Fusco finished the day as CU's top pointer-getter, ultimately netting three goals and adding three assists for the game.
Though the Hatters were able to finally find some rhythm on offense in the second half it was not enough to compete with the Buffs' dominant attack. Macleay added two more goals after intermission to make it a trio of hat tricks for CU, and Maria Moore and Amanda Salvadore also tallied goals.
Next up for the young Buffs is another Florida squad, as CU takes on Jacksonville on Saturday.
"Jacksonville — they're a great team," Elliott said. "They play hard all over the field: offensively, defensively and in transition. It's going to be a great challenge for us, and we're really excited for the opportunity to play them and see what we can do."