All season long, the University of Colorado lacrosse team has seen tremendous success on offense.
After making a big jump from her freshman to sophomore season, attacker Carly Cox has been a big contributor to that offensive effort. She finished last year with 28 total points, 21 of which came from assists, and she finished seventh in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in assists per game.
But a lot can change in one year.
"I'm just being a little more of a threat than last year," Cox said. "Last year, I think I was a lot more assist-minded, and this year I'm focusing on being more well-rounded, I guess, and kind of dodging hard and being more of a threat and creating offense that way."
This year, though still very much a team player, Cox is focusing on helping in every way she can on offense, which has primarily been concentrated on getting the ball in the net.
Over the course of 11 games, Cox has recorded 18 goals and six assists for the Buffaloes (8-3, 3-1 MPSF) heading into their home matchup at 2 p.m. Friday against No. 7 USC (11-0, 5-0). The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.
"I think I just have my head up, so I try to read the situation as best as I can," Cox said. "If someone's open downfield I'm obviously going to get them the ball. If I see an opportunity for a fast break or something, I'm definitely going to try to go to the cage."
Head coach Ann Elliott said she believes a lot of that change blossomed from a newly seeded confidence in Cox.
"Carly's definitely one of those players that has developed in the last year, I think confidence-wise as well as just understanding what we're looking for from her on offense," Elliott said. "I think she's been able to step up her game and I think because we have so many threats on offense, it's creating a lot of opportunities for everyone, and especially for her and Katie (Macleay) down low to feed."
Cox is not the only weapon of choice on Colorado's roster, as the Buffaloes have seen significant scoring from the likes of Cali Castagnola, Johnna Fusco, Darby Kiernan and Sarah Lautman, to name a few. Cox is the fourth-leading scorer for a CU offense that averages 12.1 goals a game.
"I think that's the main reason why we've been so successful is because everybody this year is really being a threat and playing really to their potential and kind of working at and playing a real team offense," Cox said.
As the Buffs head into their game against undefeated USC at Kittredge Field that offensive corps will be more vital than it has been all season.
"Our conference play is huge and important, and right now this game on Friday against USC is incredibly important for us, and I think we need everyone to step up," Elliott said. "We need everyone to be a threat or we're not going to be successful. For Carly, that's got to be the mentality, is to be a piece of the puzzle, and that's moving the ball and being ready to take advantage of those open opportunities."
Alissa Noe: firstname.lastname@example.org