The best goalie in the brief history of the Colorado women's lacrosse program graduated this past spring, yet Paige Soenksen will remain a familiar face to the Buffaloes.
However, beginning next season, Soenksen will be doing her job on the opposing sideline.
This week Soenksen, a key figure in the quick rise of a CU program that began in 2014, joined the coaching staff at Cal, a program that will remain a league rival of the Buffs as both teams move from the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation to the new six-team Pac-12 Conference women's lacrosse league.
"A lot of my former teammates have texted, and it's going to be a little weird being on that other sideline," Soenksen said. "I'm going to have to get used to saying 'Go Bears' instead of 'Go Buffs.'
"I haven't put a lot of thought into it long-term, but I talked to Ann (CU coach Ann Elliott) and she said that everyone who gets into coaching isn't 100 percent sure in the beginning. But I'm excited about the opportunity and ready to get going."
Soenksen led the MPSF with a .491 save percentage, a mark that also ranked 12th nationally. Soenksen earned first team all-conference and all-region honors, and also was a third team All-American selection by the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association. Soenksen went 15-4 and earned two MPSF Defensive Player of the Week honors as CU reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time.
A native of Encinitas, Calif., just north of San Diego, Soenksen joins the Cal staff under head coach Brooke Eubanks. The Golden Bears went 5-13 last season, including an 18-6 home loss against Soenksen and the Buffs.
"I've always enjoyed coaching ever since I was younger, but this was definitely more of an opportunity that came my way," Soenksen said. "Brooke Eubanks reached out to me, and I had a good friend who went to Cal and they had a good relationship. This is something I'm really excited to do."