The Colorado women's lacrosse team maintained its perfect home record on Friday, beating the Stanford Cardinal 13-8. A key to this game, and the strong 12-1 season overall, has been the depth of experience infiltrating the defense.
The trio of seniors Paige Soenksen, Amelia Brown and Molly Rovzar have been the foundation of the Buffs' defense, as the three have played alongside each other for the past four years.
As goalkeeper, Soenksen has played every game except one in her time at CU. The senior goalie came into Friday's game third in the NCAA in goals against with an average of 7.40, and fourth in save percentage with .562.
"I've never played with a goalie like Paige," said Brown. "She's so vocal, she's always making those key saves that really are momentum changes in the game. She's an amazing goalkeeper, and I can't imagine the defense without her."
Though Soenksen anchors the defense, Brown and Rovzar are equally responsible for the success the Buffs have had, as reflected in CU's defense entering Friday's game ranked second in scoring defense with an average of 7.08.
"I think Molly, Paige and Amelia are strong points down there and they play great team defense," said head coach Ann Elliot. "I think they're great leaders out there, and their experience has really helped our team continue to grow."
Against Stanford, the defensive trio was challenged when the Cardinals went on a 4-0 run in the end of the first half and the beginning of the second; however, they responded by preventing the Cardinals from scoring for 12 consecutive minutes.
"You really just have to focus one play at a time on defense, you can't worry about one goal that got scored or look too far ahead, so you kind of have to just remain focused and positive," Rovzar said. "I think today we really were positive down there, and we were encouraging one another and playing as a team, so when there was a breakdown, we had each other's backs."
Playing as a unit defensively proved to be an effective strategy for the Buffs, and made a difference in beating the Cardinal. This senior-day win was extra special for Soenksen, Brown, Rovzar and the rest of the CU seniors; yet, the Buffs know they still have four regular-season games ahead of them, so it was important to maintain composure.
"A lot of emotions today, but I think it was a focus for us not to be thinking of today as our last game, or our last home game, because in order for us to continue playing, we have to keep working hard," said Brown.
CU still has some significant challenges ahead of them, including its matchup against USC next Friday. However, if their past defensive success is any indication of how they will perform in the future, the Buffs are in a good spot to make their mark in postseason play.