For their spring break conference road trip, the Colorado women’s lacrosse team finished the weekend set with a split record of 1-1, losing to the USC Trojans on March 24 and defeating the Arizona State Sun Devils on March 26. Both duels concluded with final scores of 17-13, with the second one ending in Colorado’s favor. The Buffs’ overall record now stands at 4-5, with a strong 3-1 record against Pac-12 opponents.
Fifth-year attacker Charlie Rudy dominated both contests, picking up four goals in each. She currently has 32 goals and 40 total points so far this season and is leading the Buffs in both categories by a wide margin.
During their match against USC, Colorado struggled against the No. 18 ranked team. The game was tight early on, as the Buffs and the Trojans went back and forth during the first stretch of the game. However, as the game carried on, Colorado’s defense began to struggle.
With the score tied at six, USC launched into a 10-2 scoring run during the second and third quarters, ultimately pulling ahead of the Buffs and heading into the final quarter 16-8. Though CU added five goals during this period, they could not catch up to USC’s lead. The Trojans finally closed the deal, winning the match 17-13.
Though the Buffs couldn’t make a comeback after the Trojan’s scoring stretch, the team outshot their opponent’s 31-29 and also controlled 22 draws compared to USC’s 10 during the game. Along with Rudy’s four goals, junior midfielder Ashley Stokes put away a hat trick of her own with three goals. However, two of these goals came late in the fourth quarter, when a win was already pretty much out of reach.
“The things that made the difference today were in our control, and we didn’t execute in those moments,” said head coach Ann Elliot Whidden. “We have to be confident enough in ourselves to accept and learn from that and be more prepared for the next moment.”
Heading into their next game against Arizona State, Colorado had a 1-3 record on the road. However, the Buffs rolled into Tempe with a vengeance, starting out strong and outscoring the Sun Devils 4-0 in the first quarter. Rudy added three of her four goals in this quarter alone.
Sixth-year attacker Sam McGee, who had a double hat trick and a season-high six goals, played a key role in this win. The graduate student from Abington, Pennsylvania, put away the most goals in any one game by a Buff this season, leading the team to a victory against Arizona State.
The scoring came in bunches for the Buffaloes, with six goals for McGee and four for Rudy in close succession. Stokes added three more goals, along with two assists, and junior attacker Zoe McElhaney earned her first career hat trick.
Colorado’s defense stepped up their game, with senior goaltender Grace Donnelly snatching 14 saves to keep the team ahead. The Sun Devils outpaced the Buffs 21-7 on draw controls though, a definite contradiction between Sunday’s win and Friday’s loss.
Colorado led 8-2 at halftime, but Arizona State would not go down without a fight. The Sun Devils scored 11 in the second half, though the Buffs did not have to do much in order to stay ahead and secure their win. Despite the disparity in draw controls, the Buffs controlled the game throughout and never let the Sun Devils get too close, finishing the game 17-13.
“I am proud of this team for finding a way to win,” Whidden said. “It was not pretty or easy, but we found a way and made plays when we needed to.”
“Moving forward, we have to find a way to play better in these tough stretches of back-to-back weekend [games],” Whidden said. “We made some simple things hard, and it put us in a tough spot down the stretch… I know this team can do better in these other moments, and we will. All these conference games are created equal, and this was a huge one for our team.”
This past weekend, Colorado traveled to Eugene to take on the Oregon Ducks on Saturday, April 1, winning by a close margin of 15-14. Later this week, they will face San Diego State for a home game on Kittredge Field at 1 p.m. on Friday, April 7.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Harrison Simeon at firstname.lastname@example.org.