In the first game of her fourth season at Colorado, lacrosse head coach Ann Elliott — a former Northwestern player and coach — and the Buffaloes stunned the No. 9-ranked Northwestern Wildcats 11-10, as the student surpassed the teacher in a sudden-death, overtime thriller Sunday at Kittredge Field.
“I think coming into this game we knew it was going to take everyone, and it was going to take every play we could make,” Elliott said. “They’re such a good team. They have so many weapons defensively. We knew we just had to play our game and contain them.”
Buffaloes senior attacker Katie Macleay became the hero of the game, as she drove down to into the Wildcats’ zone and netted the winning goal, just 55 seconds into overtime.
Johnna Fusco assisted the dagger.
“It’s kind of all a blur, but I know Johnna’s really good at looking in the middle, so as soon as I saw my defender turn her head, I knew that I had to cut right there, and I knew Johnna would give it to me,” Macleay said.
Seven Buffs contributed on offense, led by sophomore midfielder Miranda Stinson, who recorded her second career hat trick while adding an assist.
“I’m just so glad that I stepped up at such a crucial point,” Stinson said.
Senior goalie Paige Soenksen dominated on defense, as she tied a career high 19 saves.
“Paige was amazing. She’s so steady back there,” Elliott said. “Paige is the reason we were in the game. She’s always been consistent from Day 1, so we’re very happy that she had a great game.
Throughout the matchup, the Buffs showed their true grit, as they kept in line with Northwestern’s aggressiveness. By the end of the game, the two teams exchanged eight leads and nine ties.
During much of the first half, the Wildcats dominated possession and defended against the Buffaloes with an iron fist. When the Buffs had the ball, however, they responded with an equal level of ferocity and led by as many as two goals, 3-1. By the end of the half, the Wildcats held a 6-5 edge.
In the second half, the Buffs took over, but no team gained more than a one-goal lead. With 1:10 left on the clock, NU’s Christina Esposito scored to tie it up at 10, and the Buffs couldn’t respond in time.
The Buffs return to action Friday, as they head to Ponte Verde, Fla., to face Massachusetts at 11 a.m. MT
“I think this will set a really high standard of where we will be this season,” Macleay said. “I think we can go really far.”
CU 11, Northwestern 10
Halftime score: NU 6, CU 5
CU scoring (goals-assists): Stinson 3-1, Fusco 1-2, Kiernan 2-0, Macleay 2-0, Garrison 1-1, Cox 1-0, Brown 1-0.
NU scoring (goals-assists): Esposito 4-0, Ingrilli 2-0, Yenor 2-0, Stroup 1-0, Lasota 1-0, Wessels 0-2, Fredericks 0-1.
Goalies (saves-goals against): Soenksen 19-10, Weisse 5-11.