The University of Colorado lacrosse team is making its inaugural season one to remember, claiming its first ever Mountain Pacific Sports Federation win on Saturday with a 12-6 victory over Fresno State.
Four Buffaloes scored two or more goals and CU took a 10-1 lead into halftime and held off a 4-0 Fresno State run in the second half to claim its third straight victory, and its first in conference play. The Buffs improve to 4-2 on the season and 1-1 MPSF. Fresno State remains winless in its last five outings, falling to 1-5 overall, 0-2 MPSF.
"Today was a great opportunity for us to play a great conference opponent," CU head coach Ann Elliott said. "For us, conference games are so important. We wanted to come out strong from that first draw to set the tone and really just be aggressive offensively and defensively. I think our kids did a great job of that if the first half. Obviously Fresno State came out strong in the second half. We just had to keep fighting for 60 minutes to pull out the win."
For the second consecutive game, Cali Castagnola led the way for the Buffs, scoring four goals. Marie Moore recorded her third hat trick of the young season and had a team-high five ground balls and three draw controls.
Sophomore Sarah Lautman and freshman Tori Link are hitting their offensive strides. Both scored their first goals in CU's home opener against Regis, and have been finding the back of the net ever since. They each scored two goals against Fresno State, with Link's second serving as the Buff's final goal.
"I really think our offense is about seven people working together," Elliott said. "Fresno State plays an aggressive defense at times where really for our offense to be successful we have to move the ball and find the opening. I think Cali was open a lot of times. We were able to get her the ball, and she was able to finish. She had another great day. I think it's really about seven people out there every day working together."
The Buffs played a solid game, outshooting the Bulldogs 27 to 25 and holding Fresno State to 18 looks on goal. The Buffs shined from the 8-meter, netting eight of their 12 goals off of free position shots. CU turned the ball over just nine times, and caused eight of Fresno State's 16 turnovers. In the crease, Paige Soenksen grabbed 12 saves and contributed an assist right before halftime.
The Buffs conclude their three-game road trip with a swing out east. First, CU takes on Massachusetts at 2 p.m. on Friday. Next up is New Hampshire. The Buffs face the UNH Wildcats on Sunday, March 16. First draw is at 10 a.m.
"We've got to get back to campus, rest up tomorrow and then really get back at it," Elliott said. "UMass, who we play on Friday, they're a great team. They're in the top 10 right now. They're playing well. They have a lot of weapons and a lot of threats. They play aggressive all over the field. UNH is the same way. Both teams are extremely well-coached. They play hard, and we've got to just start focusing in on ourselves and our playing together on the offense and the defense and supporting each other and getting ready to play a full 60 minutes."