Buffs Head To Oregon For Regular Season Finale
QUICKLY: The University of Colorado concluded its inaugural home season last weekend, seeing its three-game winning streak come to an end on Sunday. The Buffaloes (9-7, 5-3 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) split the weekend with a win over Old Dominion and a one-goal loss to California. They look to better their fate at May's MPSF Tournament during their trip to Eugene, Ore. for their final regular season game. The Buffs take on the Oregon Ducks on Sunday, April 27 at noon PT. A live stream is available at http://goducks.com/live2.
SCOUTING THE OREGON DUCKS: Oregon enters the weekend with a 10-5 overall, 6-1 MPSF record. The Ducks' lone conference loss was to then-No. 12 Stanford, but they face another big challenge on Friday, taking on conference leader Denver before playing host to Colorado on Sunday. Oregon has one of the conference's strongest resumes, leading the MPSF in goals, assists, points, shots on goal and ground balls per game. The Ducks also rank in the nation's top 10 in points, scoring defense and caused turnovers, the top 13 in scoring offense and scoring margin and the top 23 in ground balls per game and win percentage. Oregon averages 13.73 goals per game, while holding its opponents to just 7.47. Nine Ducks have scored 10 or more goals, with 34 coming from Nikki Puszcz. Puszcz also ranks in the MPSF top five with 22 caused turnovers. Shannon Propst and Carly O'Connell boast some of the nation's most impressive lines. Each rank in the MPSF top three and the nation's top nine in points and assists. Propst has the second-most assists in DI, with 41, she's also netted 26 goals to make 67 points. O'Connell has 58 points off 32 assists and 26 goals, while causing 18 turnovers. Bella Pyne, the reigning MPSF Rookie of the Week, is having a killer debut, with 18 goals, 10 GBs and three game-winners. Between the pipes, Caroline Federighi holds the MPSF's second best goals-against average at 7.72 in over 816 minutes played. This season, she's grabbed 85 saves and 28 ground balls
DOMINATION OF OLD DOMINION: Behind a second half surge, CU edged its final non-conference opponent of the regular season, taking down Old Dominion 12-10. For the third time in as many games, the Buffs battled back from a first half deficit to claim the win. The Lady Monarchs went on a 4-0 run in less than three minutes time to grab a three-goal lead with 11:09 remaining in the first half. Down 7-5 at the break, CU outscored ODU seven to three in the final 30 minutes of regulation. ODU outshot CU 24 to 20 and scooped up five more ground balls, but Colorado dominated the draw 17 to seven. Though CU had eight more turnovers, ODU had 12 more fouls, grabbing 32, including 18 in the second half, to CU's 20. Colorado did a great job of spreading the offense, with six Buffs netting goals. Amelia Brown was the top point-getter, recording a hat trick and contributing an assist.
CAL CREEPS PAST CU: Looking to end its inaugural home season on a high note, CU battled but came up short against California, falling 7-6. The Buffs trailed 3-2 heading into halftime, marking the lowest combined first half score for a CU game this season. CU had a bigger presence in the second half, scoring four of its six goals. With 1:17 remaining in regulation, Johnna Fusco got the Buffs back within a single goal, but Cal would dominate possession until the final horn to hand CU just its second home loss. California had the edge in nearly every way. Cal outshot CU 21 to 17, including 10 to six in the first half. Cal scooped up four more ground balls (13 to nine) and won twice as many draws (10 to five). Colorado played a cleaner game, turning the ball over one fewer time (11 to 12) and grabbing 10 fewer fouls (20 to 30).
WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM: The Buffs had a great home field advantage in their inaugural season, falling just twice at Kittredge Field for a home record of 6-2. CU picked up wins over Temple, St. Mary's, USC, SDSU and ODU at Kitt and got its inaugural home win over Regis at Folsom Field. Fan support was key to CU's home success, as the Buffs ranked third in the conference in home attendance with an average of 323 fans at each game. In their home finale against Cal, 402 fans cheered on the Buffs. Teamwork was also a big part of CU's home victories. CU recorded zero assists in its loss to Cal, marking just the second time the Buffs had no assists. The last time the Buffs had no assists, they suffered their one and only other home loss, an 11-8 defeat to Brown.
MPSF: Colorado is having one of the best inaugural seasons of any team in MPSF history. The Buffs have already clinched a spot in the MPSF Tournament, where they will play as a 5-seed or better. With eight wins under their belt, the Buffs match USC's inaugural win total from last season. Cal won 10 games in its inaugural season of 1999 and 10 in 2004 when the team joined the MPSF. Stanford does not have stats from its first two seasons, but went 12-11 in its third year, 1997. UC Davis posted a 19-1 record in its inaugural year of GÇÿ97, though 15 of the teams the Aggies faced were club programs. In 2004, they went 12-5.
SECOND HALF SHOWDOWN: Late game play has been essential for the Buffs this season. In three of their last four games, the Buffs have outscored their competition in the second half, helping them to two eventual overtime victories. CU is 8-2 when outscoring its opponent in the second half. The team had late game comebacks against New Hampshire and Brown, outscoring both in the final 30 minutes, but eventually falling by three goals in each game. Second half defense has also been important, for 12 straight games (and 13 of 16 total games), the Buffs have held their opponent to five or fewer second half goals. The Buffs have claimed eight of their nine victories when doing so.
THE FUSCO, THE PROUD: Johnna Fusco is truly a standout for CU. She leads the team with 48 points, 78 shots and ranks second with 35 goals, 11 free-position goals, 13 assists, 31 ground balls and 42 draw controls. Fusco also holds several single-game records at CU, recording eight points off 13 shots in CU's 14-5 win over UC Davis. She has scored in all but two of her 15 games played, picking up four hat tricks and scoring four or more in three more. Fusco had two goals against Old Dominion. Coming off the bench against Cal, she led the Buffs with a hat trick, while causing three turnovers and grabbing two ground balls.
AMELIA BEDELIA HELPS OUT: Amelia Brown is a growing force in CU's offense. Scoring just three goals in her first nine games (one in three straight games against Temple, Fresno State and UMass), Brown had her breakout game against St. Mary's, going a perfect 4-for-4 from the field. Brown followed up that performance in her next two games, scoring a goal against UC Davis and grabbing two points against Stanford. She started another scoring run in the Buffs' final two home games. She led the Buffs against ODU, scoring her first career hat trick and contributing an assist. She scored back-to-back goals in the first half to help CU pull back within one, and scored CU's final goal of the game with 6:53 remaining to help CU to the 12-10 win. Brown netted one from the 8-meter arc against Cal, narrowing the Bears' lead to one with 13:04 remaining.
GOING BACK TO CALI: Cali Castagnola has one of the Buffs' most impressive resumes, leading the team with 36 goals, 12 from free-position shots, and ranking second with 43 points. Castagnola averages just under one free-position goal per game, ranking second in the conference. She also ranks in the MPSF top 10 in goals and points per game and game-winning goals. She has scored in all but three of the Buffs' games, having six games with three or more goals. CU has a 5-0 record when Castagnola scores at least four goals. Castagnola had a pair in each of CU's games last weekend, going 2-for-2 from the 8-meter, while picking up a ground ball and causing a turnover.
GIVE ME MOORE: Co-captain Marie Moore has been an extremely important player in CU's inaugural season. She leads the team (and ranks 30th in the nation) with 62 draw controls, outpacing the nearest Buff by 20. She also has a team-high 36 ground balls and is one of three Buffs to have caused 12 turnovers. Moore, who has scored in 12 of her 16 games this season, has tallied 30 points off 27 goals and three assists. Moore was a key part of CU's back-to-back overtime wins over USC and SDSU. Against USC, Moore assisted CU's first ever overtime goal, helping the Buffs grab an 11-10 lead with 3:18 remaining in the first overtime. Facing SDSU, Moore joined Sarah Lautman as the only Buffs to score. Moore had another strong performance against Old Dominion, setting a program record with 11 draw controls, toppling her previous best of eight. She also scored two goals, went 1-for-1 from the 8-meter and scooped up a ground ball.
LOOK OUT ITS LAUT: Sophomore Sarah Lautman stretched her scoring streak to six against ODU, netting two goals off five shots, while adding a ground ball and a draw control. She scored both goals in just over two minutes to give CU its first lead of the second half and spark a 6-0 CU run. Though she saw her scoring streak come to an end against Cal, Lautman took five shots against the Bears, sending four on goal. Last week, she scored two overtime game-winners against USC and San Diego State to claim her first MPSF Offensive Player of the Week honor. Lautman ranks second on the team with 64 shots and 52 shots on goal and is third with 27 ground balls.
SUNNY ONE SO TRUE: In her freshman season, Paige Soenksen has proven herself as one of the nation's best shot-blockers. She is second in Division I lacrosse with 170 saves, 10.63 saves per game and a .528 save percentage. Despite Old Dominion outshooting CU 24 to 20, Soenksen did her part on the defensive end, picking up 12 saves. Though the Buffs fell by a single goal to California, Soenksen allowed just seven goals and grabbed 11 saves. In the past five games, she has had 11 or more saves, marking her career-high 19 at Stanford. Soenksen has also had at least one ground ball in each of the last four games, scooping up four against SDSU.
DEFENDERS DOING WORK: Perri Baker, Maddie DeWinter and Molly Rovzar are all major parts of CU's defense. Baker proves strong on the draw, ranking third on the team with 24 draw controls. Baker and DeWinter tie for a team-high 12 caused turnovers and have both scooped up 22 ground balls. DeWinter is the only defensive field player to record points this season, netting her first collegiate goal and contributing an assist in CU's 19-5 thrashing of St. Mary's. Co-captain Rovzar also holds an impressive stat line with 14 ground balls, six draw controls and six caused turnovers.
NEXT UP: The Buffs will continue their inaugural season at the MPSF Tournament. With their seed still up in the air, the Buffs will have to wait until Sunday to find out their next opponent. The conference tourney begins on Thursday, May 1 at Denver's Barton Lacrosse Stadium. The No. 3 seed and No. 6 seed with face-off at 4 p.m., while the match-up between the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds will follow at 7 p.m.