Colorado Must Finish Strong for WDIA Bid
by David Ely | Special to Lacrosse Magazine
This is uncharted territory for most of the players on the Colorado women’s lacrosse team. This is a group that made it to the WDIA national championship game last year, falling to Virginia Tech Club 17-9. It’s a program that’s accustomed to success, not to prolonged losing streaks.
So you can imagine the shock and frustration the Buffaloes felt when they lost five of seven games from Feb. 14 to March 27 to fall to 5-5 on the season.
“To be honest, the girls, even the returners, haven’t had to deal with a losing streak,” CU coach Dan Finck said. “I think everybody was a little bit frustrated because we knew we were playing good lacrosse.”
The fact that Colorado wasn’t getting blown out just made the repeated setbacks harder to swallow. The Buffaloes lost by two goals to UC Santa Barbara in their final game of the Santa Barbara Shootout on Feb. 14.
More than month later, they lost 11-10 to Virginia Tech and then 9-8 to Florida Club.
Since that loss to the Gators, Colorado has rolled off back-to-back wins over Dartmouth Club and Michigan State to improve to 7-5, but the Buffaloes still face an uphill battle toward securing an at-large bid to Nationals.
Colorado is unaffiliated with any conference, so the only way it can make Nationals is via an at-large bid.
To make sure his club doesn’t have to sweat it out during the selection process, Finck knows that the Buffaloes have to play some of their best lacrosse of the season during their final three games.
Three games that aren’t gimmies by any means.
Colorado faces No. 7 UCLA on Sunday, No. 11 Colorado State on April 10 and No. 8 BYU on April 26.
“We’re looking at it as we have to go 3-0,” Finck said. “I think if we drop one or even two of these games, we’re going to need help.”
If the Buffaloes go 3-0, that would put them at 10-5 on the season, a record that definitely seems worthy of a Nationals invitation.
But a 9-6 or 8-7 record doesn’t guarantee anything. One thing that Finck hopes will work in Colorado’s favor is its schedule.
By the end of the season, the Buffaloes will have played against nine teams ranked in the top 13 of the current WDIA poll.
Though the Buffaloes currently are just 1-5 against such teams, Finck thinks that the Buffaloes have shown that they can compete against the best in the nation.
“We’ve been in every game,” he said. “We’ve won some big ones, we’ve lost some tight ones… Winning these last three games gives us a very nice chance of getting one of those at-large bids.”
One of the keys for a successful end to the season will be the Buffaloes' ability to control possession. Finck said the team needs to win more draw controls and commit fewer turnovers.
Fix those problems, and Colorado could find itself back in Nationals as one of the hotter teams in the nation.
And though the Buffaloes are going to have to play their best lacrosse to finish the year strong, Finck likes his team’s chances.
“I think we’re prepared with the schedule that we’ve had and the losses that we had,” he said. “I think we’re going to have a solid run.”
Virginia Tech Club traveled to Athens, Ga., last weekend for the A-Town Throwdown and faced its toughest competition so far this season. The Hokies beat both No. 6 Colorado and No. 9 Georgia by scores of 11-10, and lost to No. 10 Florida Club and No. 11 Colorado State. Va. Tech is now 9-2… No. 1 Santa Clara is back in action this weekend after a three-week hiatus. The Broncos take on No. 5 UC Davis on Saturday … After a 4-0 weekend, Lindenwood now has won 12 games in a row. The Lions are 13-1 this year and have scored at least 10 goals in nine straight games.
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