In-State Rivals Clash on Wednesday Night
BOULDER – Colorado has one tall task left in the regular season, before jetting off to Tempe., Ariz., for the Pac-12 Tournament. The Buffaloes will travel down I-25 to battle No. 10 Denver in the team's regular-season finale (7 p.m. MT).
Colorado (10-5, 5-5 Pac-12) is in need of another marquee win as the team looks to position itself for a fourth NCAA Tournament appearance.
"They [Denver] are such a good team," head coach Ann Elliott Whidden stated. "They've been having a great season. They challenge you in a lot of different ways with aggressive play on both ends of the field and through the midfield. This is a big game for us in terms of our season and a big game for us in terms of preparation and confidence going into the Pac-12 Tournament, knowing we play one of the top teams in the country."
The Buffs are coming off their highest-scoring game of the season, totaling 23 goals against Oregon on Senior Day last Friday. CU had 11 different goal scorers and 12 different players record a point in the win. Sadie Grozier recorded her 150th career goal to headline the afternoon. Fifth-year seniors Macaul Mellor and Sabrina Robbins recorded their first career goals and Madeline Pisani closed the game with back-to-back tallies for her first career scores.
"I think that idea of playing for each other really came to fruition against Oregon," Elliott Whidden continued. "Whether it's making an extra pass or grinding out on a ground ball. That mentality is really what we need to get it done [at Denver]. We're not going to individually beat anybody with just one or two players out there. It has to be the team and they have to play for each other with that passion and excitement. They do good things when they're having fun and playing for each other."
Denver (14-1, 4-0 Big East) is on a season-long eight-game winning streak and has won 14 games in three consecutive seasons (not counting the shortened 2020 season, 7-1). The Pioneers lead the nation in caused turnovers per game (13.47) and are 12th in the NCAA with a .911 clearing percentage. DU's lone loss of the season came to then-No. 1 Boston College, in a shortened three-quarters contest.
The Buffs and Pioneers have met every season since 2014 (sans 2020), including a pair of matches in 2021. The teams split the series last season, giving DU a 5-3 advantage. Scoring has been almost even in the eight prior contests with DU holding a narrow 74-71 advantage.
"We're familiar with them, the style that they play," Elliott Whidden explained. "They're very good at what they do. We've seen that a lot and we've struggled in the past in some ways—we've found success in some ways. It's going to be a battle. It's going to be a fight. Denver is in a position to host [NCAA's] right now, so they are playing for a lot. We're playing to extend our season and get that chance at the NCAA's and get that confidence going into Pac-12's."
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