The Colorado Buffaloes fell short in their two-game road trip to open their 10th season as a program, losing to the Vanderbilt Commodores and the Louisville Cardinals.
This past Friday, Feb. 10, the Buffs traveled to Nashville to face the Vanderbilt Commodores in their season opener. The game ended 11-10 in overtime, with Vanderbilt taking the victory after a consistent back-and-forth throughout the entire game. Every quarter ended in a tie game scores until the Commodores took it in the last 2.6 seconds of the first overtime.
“We played timid at times, and I am not sure why, but that falls on me as much as anyone else,” said Colorado head coach Ann Elliot Whidden. “This team is capable of a lot more than that. Our goalies made 17 saves. We dominated the draws in the second half, but we couldn’t execute as well as we needed to on either end. It was a disappointing start for us. In the end, we had our chances but couldn’t capitalize.”
Fifth-year senior Charlie Rudy and junior Morgan Pence took the lead on the offensive side for the Buffaloes as they took on the Commodores’ defense. Rudy grabbed four goals and an assist, while Pence scored three and two assists. Sophomore Sophie Halus was also strong on offense and demonstrated a solid performance with three turnovers and three ground balls. By the end of the game, Colorado had forced 16 turnovers to Vanderbilt’s 11.
Hoping to redeem themselves on the road, the Buffs made the short trip north to face the Louisville Cardinals on Sunday, Feb. 12, hoping for an improvement. At the end of the day, the story was much of the same, with the scoreboard reading 12-5 in favor of the Louisville Cardinals.
The Cardinals gained momentum in the second quarter after the Buffaloes kept the game close in the first, only letting one goal through. Colorado missed many opportunities, scoring only five goals out of their 19 shots on target. The Buffaloes took more draw controls than the Cardinals but failed to make their possessions count.
“Offensively we have to shoot better,” said Whidden. “We must commit to running our offense with purpose and aggressiveness but be patient enough to wait for extraordinary opportunities.”
Charlie Rudy was again the Buffs’ top scorer, scoring another hat trick after getting four goals just two days prior. The only other Buffs to achieve during this game were Morgan Pence and sixth-year senior Sam McGee, both with one goal.
Senior Grace Donnelly and junior Danielle Heintz split time as goalie during the game. Donnelly, who was in the net for the first half, was able to stop four out of nine shots on goal, with Heintz taking on the second with five saves of twelve shots on goal.
“Our schedule is built for us to compete for every play to win,” said Whidden. “We have some great opportunities ahead of us, and we must decide today who we want to be and if we want to claw our way out of this or continue to settle.”
The Colorado Buffaloes will face the Denver Pioneers in their first home game as they try to turn the tide for the rest of the season on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 1:00 p.m. MST.