The sudden transformation of the Colorado women's lacrosse program into one of the most dominant teams in the nation has added another chapter to what has been a largely successful 2016-17 athletics year at CU.
Still, expecting the surging Buffaloes tear through what still is just the team's fourth year of existence with an undefeated record might have a little much to ask. Particularly since coach Ann Elliott did not skimp on the number of elite programs on the Buffs' 2017 schedule.
CU's dominant 11-0 start came to an abrupt halt Friday at No. 5 Stony Brook, where the fourth-ranked Buffs suffered their first loss of the season in a 10-6 defeat.
The result capped an unsatisfying spring break road trip for the Buffs along the East Coast, as CU barely escaped an upset bid by unranked Delaware on Wednesday. CU had not been outshot in any game since its season-opener against Northwestern but was outshot in both games of the 1-1 road trip.
The Buffs had been 4-0 against ranked opponents before Friday's result.
"In the first half, offensively, we had a little trouble, CU coach Ann Elliott said. "We didn't really stick to the game plan and do what we had to do in that regard. We had a tough first 10 minutes but I thought we settled in and did a lot better. But at the end of the day, when you play a good team you've got to play 60 minutes."
After posting a season-low four first-half goals during the escape at Delaware on Wednesday, the Buffs managed just two first-half goals at Stony Brook — the team's lowest total in any half this season.
Despite a 6-2 deficit at the break, the Buffs had a comeback on their mind by scoring four of the first five goals of the second half. The final two of those tallies were scored by Darby Kiernan and cut Stony Brook's lead to 7-6 midway through the period.
But CU went scoreless the rest of the way while the Seawolves added three goals over the final 12 minutes, 46 seconds to pull away.
"We had a game plan going in, and I think in the second half we finally got after it a little bit," Elliott said. "We committed to doing the little things offensively, and we created some opportunities for ourselves that we were able to finish. We're proud of our effort, but we know we lost and we have to get better."
While the Buffs shouldn't expect a dramatic drop when the national polls are released Monday, they nonetheless return home with an eye on regrouping for the stretch run of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation schedule. CU hosts Stanford in a pivotal home finale next Friday before playing its final four regular-season games on the road.
"Stanford is such a great team and we're 0-6 against Stanford in my time here," Elliott said. "So we have a lot to prove, and we have a lot to work on and get better at this week."
No. 5 Stony Brook 10, No. 4 Colorado 6
At LaValle StadiumColorado (11-1) 2 4—6
Goals — Colorado: Kiernan 3, Castagnola 2, Stinson; Stony Brook: K. Ohlmiller 3, T. Ohlmiller 2, McCarthy 2, Kennedy 2, Van Dyke.
Assists — Colorado: Macleay 2, Cox, Stinson; Stony Brook: T. Ohlmiller 4, K. Ohlmiller 2, .
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Colorado: Soenksen (60-7-10); Stony Brook: Tesoriero (60-3-6).