Colorado Wins Program Debut vs. Stetson
from Press Release
DELAND, Fla. – In its first game of its inaugural season, the University of Colorado lacrosse team started setting records early, grabbing a 12-4 win over Stetson here Thursday.
"Going into the game we were really excited," CU head 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."
That determination was evident from the beginning of the game to the closing minutes. Colorado edged Stetson in nearly every category. The Buffaloes outshot the Hatters 25 to 15, scooped up three more ground balls (15 to 12) and grabbed two more draw controls (10 to eight). The Buffs defense also stepped up, preventing the Hatters from scoring on any of their three free position shot attempts. (CU was four of seven from the 8 meter.)
In the program debut, Cali Castagnola led the Buffs with four goals off five shots. Johnna Fusco was the top point-getter, with six points off three goals and three assists. Maddie Hunt was strong on the defensive end of the field, causing three turnovers and grabbing two groundballs. In just under 53 minutes, goalie Paige Soenksen grabbed four saves and allowed just three goals.
With one game under their belt, the Buffs are 1-0, while Stetson falls to 0-3 on the season with previous losses to No. 3 Syracuse and Mountain Pacific Sports Federation competitor Oregon.
The Buffs attacked early and often, with Castagnola earning CU's first ever hat trick by the first period's midpoint to give the squad a solid 3-0 lead.
"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."
Grabbing an assist on the Buffs' third goal, Katie Macleay was at it again, scoring exactly five minutes later to push CU's lead to 4-0. Johnna Fusco continued to push the lead in the final eight minutes before the break, first scoring off a free position shot. Just 15 seconds before halftime, Fusco scored again to give the Buffs a 6-0 lead by halftime.
Macleay's pace wasn't slowed by the intermission, getting her third point of the game less than two minutes into the second half.
Colorado had built a dominating 7-0 lead, but Stetson aimed to climb back. During a nearly 20 minute span, CU and Stetson traded off on four goals. The Hatter duo of Mary Kate Sullivan and Samantha Akl proved to be a strong force. Akl first assisted O'Sullivan six minutes into the half. Castagnola, assisted by Fusco, responded, but Stetson was ready for another. Akl assisted Lindsay Summers this time, cutting the Buffs' lead to six once more.
Amanda Salvadore and Marie Moore both scored their first goals as Buffs with under 10 minutes remaining. O'Sullivan and Akl combined once more, and Stetson's Julia Lozano scored the Hatter's final goal, but it wouldn't be enough to diminish the Buffs' lead and slow their tempo. Elliott said she was impressed with the way her team handled the Hatter attack and how they took back control on the offensive end.
In the final four minutes, Macleay and Fusco became the second and third Buffs to join the young hat trick club, putting the game away at 12-4.
The Buffs' first road trip continues against another Florida team, Jacksonville. CU faces the Dolphins, who have received votes in both the IWLCA preseason and first week polls, on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 10 a.m. MT.
"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."
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