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Colorado Gets Road Upset at No. 10 Denver

Apr 27, 2022

DENVER – Game No. 150 in program history proved to be a memorable one for Colorado lacrosse. The Buffaloes registered their second top-10 win in program history with a 12-10 victory over No.10 Denver at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium on Wednesday.
The win marked CU's third over a top-10 program and the first since No. 6 Penn State on March 12, 2017.
"We were motivated and had a lot of energy coming into this game because we knew that this was a big game for us," senior attacker Charlie Rudy explained. "We were excited to get out there and put in the work."
The Buffaloes (11-5, 5-5 Pac-12) led 11-6 in the third quarter, but Denver scored the next four goals to make it a one-goal game with 8:38 remaining. CU got a timely goal from Rudy at 6:59 to gain a 12-10 advantage. The defense buckled down, holding Denver scoreless the rest of the game.
"We knew this was the next big game we had to (win)," head coach Ann Elliott Whidden said. "Denver is a really good team. It's hard for us to play down here. They competed to the end. They made that strong comeback. In the end, I'm really proud of the way we started, but really proud of the way we ended and stuck with it when it got down to a one-goal game—to not give in, to step up on defense, and make those few plays and then finish on offense (with Rudy's goal).
Rudy led the Buffaloes with five goals and two assists, which brought her goal total to 35 for the season. It was her first game at Denver since tearing her right ACL against the Pioneers last year on April 29.  
"(With) Charlie coming back here where her season ended last year, I'm proud of mentally how she stepped on the field," Elliott Whidden remarked.
Sadie Grozier added goals No. 44 and 45 on the season to go with two assists. Grace Donnelly was strong in net, registering 13 saves and a .565 save percentage in the winning effort.
"Grace has been playing great all season," Rudy continued. "She stepped up big tonight and had a lot of big saves. In the last few minutes, (the Pioneers) took a lot of shots. She does great in there for us, and it gives our defense confidence." 
Whidden credited the players' energy throughout the game and their preparation, along with fans making the trip down I-25 to support the team, as reasons the Buffaloes got the victory.
"We could hear the support from the fans," Elliott Whidden explained. "I thought we were energized and into it all game on the bench. They stuck with it. For our players that were out there grinding it out, they got tired, but this bench was keeping them up and keeping it positive. They're great winners. We told them in the film, that if we win today, it's going to be about the preparation they give us. Our team did a great job in preparing us for this on both ends of the field and a lot of the credit goes to them."
Denver (14-2, 4-0 Big East) was led by Lauren Black's three goals.
WHAT HAPPENED: The first quarter saw the teams trade seven goals altogether. Rudy broke the late-quarter deadlock with her 14th career man-up goal on a free-position shot to take a 4-3 lead with 21 seconds remaining in the period. The goal moved Rudy into a tie with Miranda Stinson for the most man-up goals in CU history.
Denver evened the score at four to start the second quarter, but Sam McGee broke the tie with her 30th goal of the season. The Buffaloes' defense buckled down in the remainder of the half, not allowing the goal in the final 14:11. CU got two additional goals from Rudy in the quarter, helping the Buffs to a 7-4 lead at the half.
Colorado outscored Denver, 4-3, in the third quarter and twice led by four goals in the period. Grozier contributed two goals in the quarter. Liz Phillips' goal with 2:21 left in the quarter gave Colorado an 11-6 lead, but the Pioneers would cut the CU advantage to 11-7 before the start of the final frame.
Denver narrowed the Colorado lead to 11-10 by scoring the first three goals of the fourth quarter, forcing Colorado to take a timeout with 8:38 to play.
Chloe Willard cycled the ball from behind the DU net, setting up Rudy's fifth goal of the night at 6:59 to give CU a 12-10 advantage.
"Chloe got a great feed and I was just like, 'We need this,'" Rudy recalled. "Luckily, we finished there and I think that really gave us a lot of momentum to finish out the last few minutes of the game."
Donnelly came up with a big save with 3:11 to play and the Buffs fought off three DU scoring chances in the final minute to seal the upset.
UP NEXT: The Buffaloes travel to Tempe next week for the Pac-12 Tournament as they will take on Oregon in the first round next Wednesday (5:30 p.m. MT, Pac-12 Networks).

  • Colorado improves to 4-5 all-time against Denver.
  • The Buffaloes are now 4-3 on the road this season.
  • Ann Elliott Whidden tallied her 98th win as Colorado head coach.
  • Rudy registered her 25th career game scoring three or more goals.
  • Grozier now has 11 career man-up goals in her career.
  • Colorado held Denver scoreless for a 16:59 stretch between the second and third quarters. It was the fifth time CU had a stretch of 15 or more minutes holding its opponent scoreless this season.
  • Donnelly registered her fifth career game with ten-plus saves.
  • Rudy tallied her fourth multi-assist game of her career.
  • Grozier recorded her seventh multi-assist game of her career.
  • CU secured its third ranked win of the season (3/4 vs. No. 16 Vanderbilt (18-11) and 3/25 vs. No. 24 Stanford (17-16)).


Colorado Denver
Points: 20 Points: 13
Goals: 12 Goals: 10
Assists: 8 Assists: 3
Draw Controls: 16   Draw Controls: 10
Ground Balls: 8 Ground Balls: 17
Saves: 13 Saves: 7