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Strong Defensive Effort Leads CU To 15-11 Win Over No. 20 ASU

Apr 4, 2021
Liz Phillips opened the scoring in each half Sunday and finished with a hat trick.

            BOULDER — A sound defensive effort and hat tricks from three different players led the University of Colorado women's lacrosse team to a 15-11 win over No. 20 Arizona State here in an Easter Sunday match at CU's on-campus Kittredge Field. 
            The win avenged a 16-11 loss to the Sun Devils in Tempe last Sunday, ASU's first-ever win over the Buffaloes.  Colorado evened its records overall (5-5) and in Pac-12 play (3-3) with the win, and in the process snapped Arizona State's five-game winning streak, as ASU fell to 7-3 (4-2 in conference games).
            The Sun Devils, the nation's second-leading offensive team (17.6 per), were held to their third-lowest goal total of the season, also getting eight fewer shots on goal – 20 – than their season average.
            Senior Sadie Grozier led the Buffs with four goals, while senior Zoe Lawless and junior Liz Phillips each scored three times.   Junior Chloe Willard had two goals and three assists, matching Grozier's point total of five.  They helped Colorado match its most goals this season, previously done in a 15-5 win over California last month.
            Arizona State, ranked 108th out of 109th in the nation in fouls committed coming into Sunday (33.9 per game) and had 44 fouls in the first game with the Buffs, committed 23 in the first half (and 38 for the game).  Near the end of the first half, ASU was called for its final foul of the half, which proved costly.  It drew a second yellow card for its third-leading scorer, Kerri Clayton.
            CU capitalized on the call with a goal from freshman Morgan Pence, who scored her fifth goal of her collegiate career with 13 seconds left in the half that gave Colorado a 7-6 lead at halftime.  The Sun Devils would never regain the lead, though after CU built a 9-6 advantage, ASU did get within one goal one more time at 11-10. 
            Draw controls played a role in the outcome; Arizona State, one of the better teams in the nation at winning a majority of those, while Colorado is down the line; ASU had a 20-9 edge the first time they met.  But this time around, the Buffs won those battles by 16-12.
Fast Start
            Phillips got Colorado on the board first just 1:17 into the game with her fifth goal of the season from just out in front of a crowded net, with Willard earning the assist.  But only 19 seconds later, ASU tied the game on a free shot goal by Maddy Hunter, her 11th.   After over three minutes of scoreless play, the Buffaloes scored back-to-back-to-back goals 85 seconds apart.  Willard, a junior, put Colorado back in front and then junior Charlie Rudy, the Pac-12's leading scorer, scored on a free shot, the 36th time she's found the net in 2021.  At the 23:43 mark, Grozier scored number 22 for her, also on a free shot. 
            The fast start was not lost on CU head coach Ann Elliott-Whidden.
            "I think last weekend and the last couple of weeks had been tough for us, so to be able to come out here and just compete and for them to step on the field with more confidence is a huge win for us.  We have to keep building -- we're not playing perfect -- but the expectation isn't to be perfect.  But there are things we need to continue to get better at, but we're playing hard now we're playing to win.  And that's really what's key."
Sun Devil Comeback
             ASU's Kate Brodsy ended the run, circling around the net and putting one in high on CU goalie Julia Lisella.  Hunter then cut the CU lead to 4-3 with a short-handed goal, coming at 20:10 with four seconds left on CU's advantage.  The first 10 minutes of the game was laden with fouls, the Sun Devils committing nine and the Buffs five.  Carley Adams, chasing Rudy for the Pac-12 scoring lead, netted her 35th goal at the 17:36 mark to tie the score at 4-4.  Rudy appeared to give CU the lead twice, but both goals were wiped out, despite the second goal being ruled good by one official but overruled by another who issued her a yellow card for a dangerous follow-through and a 2-minute penalty.
Droughts End
             Brynn Holohan gave Arizona State its first lead at 5-4 with 13:06 left in the first half.  Grozier then ended the 4-0 ASU run and a scoring drought of 16:41 by the Buffaloes as she tied the game with her second goal of the game with 7:02 to play.   Brodsky, with ASU owning the player advantage, put the Sun Devils back up 6-5 just 30 seconds later, ending their own drought of over six-and-a-half minutes.  Toward the end of the penalty, Phillips fed a nice pass inside to Lawless who tied the game at 6-all with her 19th goal of the year at the 4:59 mark.  Pence, who had the game winner against USC on Friday, then put the Buffs back in the lead right before intermission.  Ten different players scored goals in the first half, including six Buffaloes.
Reversal of Fortune
             A week ago, Colorado led briefly for just over 12 minutes in the first half, including by two twice and the last time at 5-3 with 12:34 left.  ASU scored seven of the next eight goals, including four in a row to open the second half, to take a 10-6 edge, and the Buffaloes never got closer than three the remainder of the game.  This time, Phillips, as she did in the first half, opened the scoring in second half at 28:43, and Lawless followed with her second of the day 76 seconds later to give the Buffs their second three-goal lead of the game at 9-6.  The teams traded goals over the next three-plus minutes, and after ASU cut the lead to 9-7 and ended a 4-0 CU run, Grozier earned a hat trick with her third goal of day and the Buffs hit double figures first. 
            Last Sunday, ASU outshot CU 40-29 overall and 33-22 in shots on goal in its win; those numbers were practically reversed in the rematch, as the Buffs had the edge in shots overall, 43-26, as well as in those on goal, 32-20.
Second Half Slowdown
             After Kaylon Buckner pulled the Sun Devils within two at 10-8 with 20:27 remaining, Ashley Stokes responded a little over two minutes later with her 10th goal of her freshman year and the Buffs were back up by three scores.  Over seven minutes passed until the next score, Hunter getting a hat trick at the 10:44 mark to slice the lead down to two again.    ASU goalie Berkeley Bonneau kept her team in the game, making 17 saves on the day, several coming during a stretch where CU was held scoreless since Stokes' goal at the 18:06 mark.  T Keiser in the meantime pulled the Sun Devils to within 11-10 with 6:30 to go, but Phillips netted her third goal of the day with 5:50 to play to put CU back up, 12-10.
Down The Stretch
             With 4:26 remaining and two seconds left on the shot clock, another ASU foul led to another free position shot, and Grozier scored her fourth goal of the day to provide CU with some breathing room at 13-10.  Lawless then was the third Buff to score a hat trick in the game, clinching the win with 1:37 to play.  Buckner added a cosmetic goal 19 seconds later; Kate Burnside won the draw and the Buffs closed the scoring with 8 seconds left with a goal from Willard.
            Next up for the Buffaloes is the annual San Francisco Bay Area swing, with games at Stanford (Friday, 6 p.m. MDT) and at California (Sunday, 1 p.m. MDT).  The Stanford contest will be carried live on the Pac-12 Networks.
NOTES: There are eight seniors and one graduate on the CU roster … Colorado leads the series with Arizona State by a 5-1 count (outscoring the Sun Devils 74-31) and is now 3-2 on Easter Sunday (three straight wins) …  The game time temperature was 75 degrees … Colorado had 20 fouls called on it, or 18 less than ASU, with had seven yellow cards to CU's five (the latter all in the first half) … Alan Roach was the game's special public address announcer; related to senior Madi Wifall (her father is his cousin), he's the PA voice of the Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Rapids and every Super Bowl since 2007 that didn't involve the Denver Broncos (13 in all) … CU's five wins have been by a combined 32 goals, while its five losses have been by a total of 16 goals, including a pair of one-loss overtime setbacks … Ann Elliott-Whidden, CU's only head coach in its eight-year history, is now 84-45 overall, which includes a 46-16 mark in conference play (21-6 in the Pac-12) and 70-5 when leading at halftime (4-1 in 2021) …  After the Bay Area road trip, CU's remaining games are April 23 at Oregon to wrap up Pac-12 play, and a non-league affair at Denver on April 29.

Arizona State............         6        5      —      11

COLORADO...............       7        8      —      15
Colorado (goals, assists—points): Grozier 4,1—5; Willard 2,3—5; Phillips 3,1—4; Lawless 3,0—3;  Rudy 1,1—2; Pence 1,0—1; Stokes 1,0—1.
Arizona State: Hunter 3,1—4; Brodsky 2,2—4; Buckner 2,2—4; Adams 1,0—1; Holohan 1,0—1; Keiser 1,0—1; Munro 1,0—1; Clayton 0,1—1; Glagolev 0,1—1.
Shots On Goal: Colorado 32, Arizona State 20.  Ground Balls: Arizona State 17, Colorado 14.  Draw Controls: Colorado 16, Arizona State 12.
Free Position Shots-Goals: Arizona State 5-2, Colorado 10-6.  Goalies/Saves: Julia Lisella (CU) 9, Berkeley Bonneau (ASU) 17. 
Turnovers: Arizona State 17, Colorado 14.  Total Fouls: Arizona State 38, Colorado 20.
Ties—4 (1, 4, 5, 6).  Lead Changes—2. 
Attendance: 70.
Records: Colorado 5-5 (3-3 Pac-12); Arizona State 7-3 (4-2 Pac-12).
                                                         Conference                                                  Overall                                                                    

Rk  Team  W  L  Pct.  GB  GF  GA  Diff  W  L  Pct.  GF  GA  Diff
  1  Stanford   4   0  1.000   ---  63  35  +28   6   0  1.000  102    52  +50
  2  Arizona State   4   2    .667    1  95  67  +28   7   3    .700  169  119  +50
  3  Southern California   4   2    .667    1  86  72  +14   7   4    .636  157  124  +33
  4  COLORADO   3   3    .500   2  75  71  +  4   5   5    .500  122  106  +16
  5  Oregon   1   4    .200   3½  50  74   -24   1   8    .111    83  133   -51
  6  California   0   5    .000   4½  39  89   -50   2   9    .182  103  159   -56

Sunday's Results                                                   Next Up (all times MDT)
COLORADO 15, Arizona State 11                          Apr.      9      Colorado at Stanford, 6 p.m.
SAN DIEGO STATE 11, California 10                     Apr.      9      San Diego State at Southern California, 1 p.m.
Southern California 14, OREGON 8                       Apr.      9      Oregon at California, 6 p.m.
Stanford at UC Davis, canceled                              Apr.    11      Colorado at California, 1 p.m.
                                                                                Apr.    11      Oregon at Stanford, 1 p.m.
Ann Elliott-Whidden, Colorado Head Coach
"I think this is a tough season for every team competing. There are so many things out of your control. And we had a slow start, I think our focus is on what we can control and trying to make sure we're doing everything and take advantage of the opportunities we may get.  And I think our team is responding when we're able to be together and when we're able to practice. We're getting some momentum and I think that's a good thing for this group."
On keeping the momentum going
"We just got to keep building off of this and our confidence every game, we do a little bit better, we got to believe in ourselves a little bit more. All of our players got to know what they're capable of doing. We have a lot of people playing right now. And that's huge for us when we're playing Friday and Sunday so I think for us to keep the momentum going, it's focusing on ourselves, focusing on what we can control, and making sure we get better between now and Friday so when we step on the field, it's a better team than we were today."
Sadie Grozier, CU Senior Attacker
On having a fast start
"I think we just came out with a lot of confidence and we had to start strong. We didn't want to fall in a hole like we did last time, so we just really focused on pushing the first couple minutes of the game and it worked out well for us."
On this season being put into perspective
"With COVID and everything it's been a really hard year. We've had ups and downs this season but we've always just been coming back and being resilient and I think this weekend was a big nod to that."
On ASU's fast pace game
"We always expect this from them. They're a really good team, they're very athletic and aggressive and so we knew that they would come out strong but we were ready for them this time."