Contact CU Independent Sports Staff Writer Olivia Butrymovich at email@example.com.
The University of Colorado women’s lacrosse team managed to pull out the sudden-death win over James Madison University on Thursday. The Buffs won their home opener in overtime, 15-14, after a vicious hour of back-and-forth scoring with the Dukes.
“It was a tough game, we knew we were gonna have to battle for 60 minutes, and JMU is a very good team, so we’re excited,” said head coach Ann Elliott. “It could have been prettier, we could have done things better but we’re excited to get the win today.”
The Buffs played a game of catchup during the first 30 minutes. The Dukes scored three minutes into the match, but Colorado answered right back. CU’s sole senior, attacker Sarah Lautman, got the game going for the Buffs, scoring five minutes into play after an assist from junior attacker Cali Castagnola.
Two more goals from Castagnola, after another brutal score from the Dukes, allowed the Buffs to tie the game at three. With 17 minutes to play, JMU went on a 3-0 scoring spree, leaving Colorado in the dust, trailing 6-3.
Junior attacker Johnna Fusco got her first goal of the match 16 minutes into the half, helping the Buffs inch closer to tying the match yet again.
Colorado’s defense continued to struggle throughout the first half, allowing the Dukes to score two more goals and take a 8-5 lead with just over ten minutes to play. After a scoring drought that lasted nearly nine minutes, Fusco scored the sixth goal for the Buffs and her second of the game.
Lautman and Castagnola added two more goals to CU’s total, which tied the game for the fourth time of the afternoon.
Colorado’s fight was not over, though. JMU answered Colorado’s three straight goals with three more of their own. With 90 seconds left in the first half, the Dukes led the home team, 11-8. Sophomore attacker Carly Cox scored the final goal of the half with six seconds left to lessen the Dukes lead to 11-9.
“I think in the first half we went hard, got a little tired but worked hard and got the ball around and did well,” said Castagnola on the team’s first half performance.
Both teams had 17 shots on goal during the first half. Lautman and Fusco each had two goals a piece. Castagnola had three goals and one assist after 30 minutes of play.
Colorado’s goalie, junior Paige Soensken, had only two saves during the first half, as opposed to James Madison, who had seven saves
The Buffs were in need of a strong defensive showing entering the second half, as well as a continued effort from the offense.
Colorado scored three straight goals to start the second half, including third goals from both Lautman and Fusco. CU gained its first lead of the match 12-11 with just under 27 minutes left.
The Buffs’ lead didn’t last long, as JMU scored two more goals to regain the advantage, 13-12. Fusco scored her fourth goal of the match to tie the game at 13 with twelve and a half minutes left to play.
As time continued to diminish, the Buffs suffered a great offensive loss after Fusco suffered an injury. JMU took advantage of CU’s downfall, and it looked as if a crucial turnover at the end of the match would give the win to the Dukes.
With 1.9 seconds left on the clock, a goal on a free attempt would hand JMU the win. However, the attempt missed, sending the game into sudden death with three minutes of overtime and the score tied at 14-14.
Nearly a minute and a half into overtime, Castagnola scored the game-winning shot, as well as her fourth goal of the match, to seal the deal for the Buffs 15-14.
Colorado closed out their first match with 32 shots on goal to James Madison’s 25. The Buffs also committed 12 turnovers, while JMU had 14. The Dukes outperformed the Buffs in goal with 10 saves, while junior goalie paige Soenksen managed only four.
“We let in 11 goals in one half, that’s a problem, we let in three or four in the second half, that’s the type of defense we can play,” said Elliott.
Four players had hat tricks for the Buffaloes. Cox and Lautman each had three goals, Castagnola and Fusco both had four goals apiece, including two assists and the game winning score for Castagnola.
Colorado improved to 4-1 and continue to lead the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) conference. The Buffs are also receiving votes in the NCAA top-25 rankings.
Colorado’s next game is against Central Connecticut State in Boulder this Saturday at noon on Kittredge Field.