Colorado Falls to No. 17 USC
BOULDER – Colorado's Sadie Grozier scored four goals in the Buffaloes' return to Kittredge Field, but it wasn't enough to push past No. 17 Southern California on Friday. The women of Troy got out in front early and kept control in the 15-8 verdict.
Colorado is now 9-4 (4-4 Pac-12). USC improves to 10-3 (6-2 Pac-12).
Southern Cal led the game wire-to-wire, getting four goals from Ella Heaney and a hattrick from Isabelle Vitale. USC outshot CU 36-26, with a 26-17 advantage in shots on goal.
"They're a good, strong team," senior attacker Charlie Rudy said. "They play really good team defense, and they communicate well."
Coming off a two-week layoff, CU struggled to generate early offense as they found itself down 6-1 at the 11:53 mark in the second quarter.
"We've got to start better," head coach Ann Elliott Whidden stated. "We can't play three quarters of the game on defense and expect to win the game when we don't execute on offense. We didn't do a good job today of wanting to win. USC did a great job. They were playing a little shorthanded (and) they played very well. They stepped up and I don't think we did on our side. I think we had four kids out there competing and stepping up and the rest of them were okay to just wait and see what happens. When you're playing against 12 people that are making things happen on the other team, it's hard to play that way."
Whidden did not believe that the two-week layoff (CU's last game was Apr. 1 at Cal) was the reason the team did not start the game fast.
"It had to do with a mentality and understanding that nothing's going to come easy," Whidden continued. "Thinking just because we're at home, just because this team lost to Stanford, doesn't mean that we're going to win just by stepping on the field. That's how we played."
CU had some bright spots offensively, highlighted by Grozier's four goals. Rudy added two scores for the Buffaloes. However, Colorado had a stretch of 15:11 in the second half where it did not register a goal.
"(The Trojans) are a good defensive team," Whidden said. "They're disciplined in what they do. They don't give you a lot of space and opportunities to execute. They put pressure on you in a small space. We've had trouble in the past scoring goals against them. We had trouble today and that played out in the end."
WHAT HAPPENED: USC stymied the Buff's offense in the first quarter as they took a 3-0 lead at the 2:46 mark of the quarter.
Grozier gave the Buffs their first goal of the game, and her 35th of the season, with 29 seconds remaining as CU cut the deficit to 3-1 at the end of the quarter.
USC scored the four unanswered goals to open the second quarter, growing its advantage to 7-1, before Colorado got two straight goals from Rudy and Ashley Stokes to cut the USC advantage to 7-3.
The Trojans got two more goals before the end of the half and Rudy added her second of the game to get the Buffs within five, 9-4, at the break.
CU got two goals from Grozier to open the third quarter, cutting CU's deficit to three, 9-6, with 7:43 still to play.
The Trojans responded with two goals to carry a five-goal lead, 11-6, into the final quarter.
USC outscored Colorado 4-2 in the final period, with Sam McGee and Grozier picking up the two tallies.
UP NEXT: The Buffaloes return to Kittredge Field on Sunday against No. 23 Arizona State (noon MT, Pac-12 Networks).
Arizona State handed Colorado its second loss of the season, 20-6, back on Mar. 13 in Tempe.
"We've got to do a better job of executing offensively (than we did here against USC)," Whidden remarked. "We've got to do a better job of having more players be aggressive when they have opportunities to create opportunities for other people. We've got to compete on the draws. Defensively, we've got to do a lot better than we did down there (in Tempe on Mar. 13). We're capable of doing better than we did down there defensively. We didn't play well at all (in the 20-6 loss). (Arizona State) make you pay for everything. Defensively, we'll be more composed."
- Colorado is now 45-12 all-time at Kittredge Field.
- The Buffaloes are now 5-10 all-time against USC.
- Grozier registered her 22nd career game with three or more goals and is now at 145 for her career.
- With 12 saves, Grace Donnelly tallied her fifth-career game with ten or more saves.
- USC had a 16-11 advantage in draw controls (8-2 in the second quarter – they outscored CU 6-3 in the period).
|Points: 9||Points: 21|
|Goals: 8||Goals: 15|
|Assists: 1||Assists: 6|
|Draw Controls: 11||Draw Controls: 16|
|Ground Balls: 14||Ground Balls: 16|
|Saves: 12||Saves: 8|