The run behind Ralphie went smoothly.
It was an indication of things to come for the Colorado lacrosse team in its inaugural home game Saturday at Folsom Field against Regis.
The Buffs captured the lead just 30 seconds into a game in which they never trailed. Sarah Lautman, one of two sophomore's on the CU roster, scored her first goal of the season on an assist by Cali Castagnola and the Buffs were on their way to a 13-10 victory over Regis.
Lautman's goal as well as the other five first-half CU goals were celebrated loudly by a crowd of 812 fans including CU football coach Mike MacIntyre and most of his team seated in the east stands.
“It's exciting,” CU coach Ann Elliott said. “In all honesty we're not too focused on winning or losing. We're focused on how we play and are we getting better? But it's a special day for these girls to be able to play on the field, run behind Ralphie and to win a game.”
Lautman and her CU teammate Johnna Fusco finished the game with a hat trick. In addition to her three goals, Fusco was credited with two assists to lead the Buffs with five total points.
Both players scored unassisted goals during a decisive 3-minute stretch of the second half in which CU extended its lead from two goals to six.
With ESPN's GameDay program attracting a large crowd to the Coors Events Center where the lacrosse team is housed, Fusco said there were plenty of distractions Saturday leading up to the home opener.
“There was so much going on it was pretty hard to focus, but all in all I think we came together and got the win,” Fusco said. “So that's all that matters.”
The Buffs and Rangers battled back and forth throughout the first half. CU led by three goals on two occasions but couldn't completely take control of things. Elliott wanted to see her offense execute better than it did in a loss earlier in the week at No. 18 Denver where the Buffs were tentative at times, especially in the early going.
“We did better in spots, I think, all across the field,” Elliott said. “We attacked hard. They definitely came out of the gates, they dodged hard, they pushed it in transition. Those are all positives for us. We've just got to continue to clean up the little mistakes and the turnovers that we cause ourselves.”
Regis junior Hillary Duda led all scorers with four goals, including a nifty behind-the-back tally midway through the second half.
Tori Link, the first player to commit to play for CU when the program was formed two years ago, scored the first goal of her college career with 13 minutes, 17 seconds remaining. The score gave the Buffs a 13-6 advantage, but CU didn't close out the game in particularly strong fashion.
Regis scored the final four goals, by four different players, in the final 12 minutes to close the gap. Colorado out-shot Regis 28-21.
The Buffs have experienced most of the significant firsts in building a program. They are beyond the first practice, the first road trip, the first game, the first goal, the first win, the first loss and the first home game. They're settling into a long season that will span the next two months and take them from coast to coast for games.
“I think firsts are good though because it gives you some motivation,” Lautman said. “You want to be able to go out there and prove something. You know, like it's our first game in Oregon or our first game everywhere. That's exciting. It's one of the most exciting parts about being here and being on this team.”
Contact staff writer Kyle Ringo at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/kyleringo.