Buffs Fall To #15 Pioneers
DENVER – After more than two weeks without a game, the Colorado lacrosse team took on in-state rival No. 15 Denver on Thursday night for the second time this season at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium in Denver.
CU won 14-7 the first time the two teams met on February 28, at Kittredge Field in Boulder but this time, the Pioneers were victorious on their home field, defeating the Buffaloes 10-7.
Colorado, which had not played since April 11, is now 7-6 heading into post-season competition, while Denver is 13-1.
"I thought we still came out and competed today," Colorado coach Ann Elliott Whidden said. "Denver is a good team. It was a challenge for us; they are good on defense. We had a little trouble in those situations and we know we have players that can help, we just need to capitalize on that. I thought defensively we did a good job. Julia did a great job in goal. So there are a lot of things for us to be proud of. Obviously, we wanted a different result, we believed in ourselves, that's disappointing but we have a lot to build off of as we head into the Pac-12 tournament."
WHAT HAPPENED: The Buffs won the opening draw control but a turnover gave DU a chance to get on the board first. Julia Lisella, CU's starting goalkeeper since 2018, was ready and recorded her 500th career save on Denver's first shot of the game by Caroline Wiseman at 27:45. It was the first of 11 saves she would make in the game for the Buffs.
"Julia is amazing back there and consistent," Whidden said. "It is not shocking to see the career she has had. She had a big game for us today and that is what we need from her every game, especially as we go down this stretch. Her leadership, her calmness down there and her energy will be huge for us."
The Buffs opened the scoring as Charlie Rudy converted on the first free-position opportunity of the contest nine minutes into the game. CU's advantage was short-lived as Denver came back to even the game with its own free-position goal less than a minute later (20:20).
The game would be tied for another five minutes before the Pioneers would take their first lead of the game (15:02). They would add on another two goals for a 4-1 lead heading into the final 11 minutes of the first half.
Ashley Stokes got the Buffs back in scoring mode with a free-position goal at 7:34, which also put an end to the Pioneers' 4-0 run.
The Buffs got back within one (4-3) with 2:23 left in the first half as Chloe Willard found the back of the net with about one second left on the shot clock. Stokes had the assist as she saw Willard open and made the quick pass that ended up with a goal.
The back-and-forth continued as DU scored with 1:35 left but the Buffs would have the final say in the half. Zoe Lawless found the back of the net with 32 seconds remaining and this time Willard was the one with the assist to get CU back within a goal before intermission (5-4).
A few minutes into the second half (26:51), Stokes scored her second of the game which also tied it up 5-5. The Pioneers scored the next two goals, but another goal from Willard at 19:07 brought CU back within one (7-6). DU answered with another pair of goals to go up 9-6 with just under 12 minutes left in the game.
By that point, the Buffs had gone 15 minutes without a goal in the second half. With about two minutes left to play, Morgan Pence recorded a free-position goal to cut away at DU's lead. But Denver seemed to have an answer for every time the Buffs scored and responded with its final goal with 42 seconds to play (10-7).
NOTABLE STATS: Denver did not record a single save in the game as all seven of the Buffs' shots of goal found the back of the net.
- Charlie Rudy has scored in 18 straight games dating back to the season opener of the 2020 season.
- Zoe McElhaney recorded her first career start in the contest.
- Julia Lisella recorded her 500th career save and now has 510 career saves.
- Lisella recorded 11 saves in the game, marking the 28th time in her career she has made 10 or more saves in a single game.
- Denver now leads the series 5-3
|Points: 10||Points: 14|
|Goals: 7||Goals: 10|
|Assists: 3||Assists: 4|
|Draw Controls: 11||Draw Controls: 8|
|Ground Balls: 10||Ground Balls: 22|
|Saves: 11||Saves: 0|
UP NEXT: The Buffs head to the Pac-12 Tournament in Stanford, Calif. CU earned the No. 3 seed and will face No. 2 USC on May 6, at 8:30 p.m. MT in the second semifinal.