The secret is out about the upstart University of Colorado women's lacrosse team. As the Buffaloes learned on Wednesday, after making a swift ascension into one of the premier programs in the nation they will have to get accustomed to facing inspired efforts from the opposition.
The No. 4-ranked Buffs survived a spirited upset bid by Delaware, escaping Wednesday's road date with a 9-7 victory to improve to 11-0.
The Blue Hens led 7-6 with under 10 minutes remaining but CU finished strong by scoring the game's final three goals. Cali Castagnola scored two of those goals, sandwiched around the go-ahead goal from fellow senior Johnna Fusco with 7 minutes, 23 seconds remaining.
Castagnola and Fusco finished with three goals apiece.
"We got outplayed and in all honesty probably deserved to lose that game," CU head coach Ann Elliott said. "If there's a bright side, we pulled it out. We made the plays we needed to make on defense and we made the plays we needed to make on offense. But if we play like that we're not going to win many more games this year.
"We have to get better and we have to do a better job of controlling the game under pressure. We didn't do that today."
Delaware gave the Buffs the sort of battle they haven't seen since the early weeks of the season. The Blue Hens outshot CU 26-22, becoming the first Buffs opponent to earn that sort of advantage since the season opener against Northwestern.
Additionally, Delaware owned a 12-6 in draw controls, achieving something no CU opponent has managed since the opening two games against Northwestern and Massachusetts.
"(Delaware) is fast, they're athletic, they're scrappy. They play hard and gave it everything they had," Elliott. "Quite frankly, we didn't do the same and got just outplayed. We have to come more prepared and ready to go, ready to fight. Hopefully it was a lesson for us, but our girls will decide that moving forward."
In addition to the hat tricks from Castagnola and Fusco, freshman Jen Mistretta scored her first career goal for the Buffs while Katie Macleay added a goal and two assists.
CU will have little time to rectify the issues the cropped up against Delaware. The Buffs have a short turnaround before visiting nationally-ranked Stony Brook on Friday, with CU seeking its fifth victory this season against a ranked foe.
"When you play a team like Stony Brook you wish you had all the time in the world to prepare, but that's not the way it goes," Elliott said. "That's not the way it goes in playoffs, either. If we're fortunate enough to make it there you've got to win games, you've got to win on the road and you've got to win them back-to-back. It will be a good test for us and we'll see what we're really made of."
No. 4 Colorado 9, Delaware 7
At Delaware StadiumColorado (11-0) 4 5—9
Delaware (5-4) 3 4—7
Goals — Colorado: Fusco 3, Castagnola 3, Macleay, Mistretta, Stinson; Delaware: Gohsler 3, Long 2, Hale, Schwartz.
Assists — Colorado: Macleay 2, Cox, Stinson, Castagnola; Delaware: Schwartz 2, Rausa, Santoleri.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Colorado: Soenksen (60-7-13); Delaware: Carpentier (60-9-4).