In the team’s final regular season game in Boulder, the Colorado Buffaloes women’s lacrosse team edged out the Stanford Cardinal, 13-8, on Friday afternoon.
The No. 5 Buffaloes, fresh off a tough loss to Stony Brook on the road last Friday, entered their matchup against Stanford with hopes of eliminating scoring droughts, and limiting turnovers. The Buffs suffered 26 turnovers, a season-record, to the Seawolves of Stony Brook and displayed symptoms of offensive inefficiency, especially during the final 14:56 of the match in which CU failed to score.
Against the Cardinal, the Buffaloes got their turnovers under control; they surrendered 16 to Stanford’s 23. However, during the game, a massive scoring drought threatened to hand Colorado its second straight loss.
With a comfortable 5-1 lead, junior attacker Darby Kiernan netted a goal at the 19 minute mark, putting the Buffs up 6-1.
But from that point, the Buffaloes allowed four unanswered goals to Stanford and failed to net a goal of their own until Kiernan struck again with 17:28 left of play in the game, ending a 31:32 drought .
“We had a little tough stretch there [but] I thought we did a good job of keeping ourselves in the game defensively,” said head coach Ann Elliott. “Offensively, we just have to do a better job of putting away our shots.”
There was no shortage of shots in the game for the Buffs, as they managed 19 in the first half and 14 in the second half, edging out Stanford 33-22.
Stanford drew first blood when Daniella McMahon snuck one by Buffs’ senior goalie Paige Soenksen less than a minute into things. But in the next 10 minutes, Colorado busted the game wide open.
Senior attacker Johnna Fusco scored first for CU, with an unassisted goal after less than three minutes had expired from the clock. Junior attacker Carly Cox scored her 20th goal of the year about two and a half minutes later, on an assist by Kiernan.
Exactly 10 seconds later, the Buffaloes increased their lead 3-1 thanks to junior defender Sarah Brown’s third goal of the year. Sophomore midfielder Miranda Stinson converted a free position shot with 19:18 left in the first half, and second goals by Fusco and Kiernan gave Colorado a 6-1 advantage with 19 minutes left to play.
But the Cardinal mounted a furious comeback that carried over into the final period of play. At the time of the Cardinal’s goal by Anna Salemo at the 23:39 mark, the Buffaloes lead had dwindled and Stanford trailed just 6-5.
But Colorado had a few more tricks up its sleeve, as two goals scored by Kiernan in the span of 49 seconds, followed by another by Fusco at the 14:41 mark, put the Buffs up 9-5. Kiernan would add another, her fourth and final goal of the game, shortly thereafter, with just over 13 minutes left in the game.
Stanford broke its scoreless streak, getting one back with 11:35 remaining, but Fusco’s fourth goal of the game exactly a minute later negated its effect.
“Once Darby got us out of that lag, the momentum changed,” Fusco said. “It was really her goal[s] that really changed the whole rest of the offense for us.”
Senior attacker Katie Macleay scored two more goals for the Buffs late in the game, the first coming off an impressive feed in front of the net from Kiernan. Stinson picked up the assist on the second.
Soenksen was firm in the net again for the Buffs, as she made seven saves on the day.
Up next for Colorado is a road trip to Southern California, where the Buffs will take on USC on Friday, April 14. The game will begin at 6 p.m. MST.
Contact CU Independent Head Sports Editor Justin Guerriero at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @TheHungry_Hippo.