The Colorado lacrosse team has, in relatively short order, evolved past the point of letting issues like a late shift of venues or the surrounding air quality become causes for concern.
Just point the way to the correct field, and the Buffaloes will take care of business.
While the Sunshine Fire caused far more significant scares on Sunday to the hundreds who were evacuated from their homes, it also forced the Buffs and CU athletics personnel into scramble mode Sunday morning after deciding the air quality in Boulder was not clean enough for CU’s home date against Oregon at Kittredge Field.
Instead, the start time was delayed one hour with the scene shifting to the Indoor Practice Facility. The Buffs did their part to make is a smooth transition, continuing their torrid start with a solid 16-11 victory against the Ducks in a critical Mountain Pacific Sports Federation showdown.
“The biggest challenge is the size of the field is a little bit smaller width-wise,” CU coach Ann Elliott said. “We’ve played indoors a couple times. At the end of the day everyone is facing the same thing. We just have to focus on ourselves and go out there and play as hard as we can and continue to execute our game plan that we set forth when we were outside.”
Though the Buffs already have posted the first four victories against ranked opponents in the program’s four-year history during their 9-0 start, Oregon brought the only 3-0 mark in league play into Sunday’s battle. CU’s victory moves the Buffs to 2-0 in the MPSF alongside Stanford, setting the stage for what could prove to be the regular-season title match in the Buffs’ final home game April 7.
The Cardinal does not play another MPSF game until it visits CU. The Buffs will look to remain undefeated in the league when they host Fresno State on Saturday.
“I think this is a big win. Oregon definitely is a lot better this year than they were last year,” CU sophomore Miranda Stinson said. “They’re a lot different team. It’s always good to get a conference win, and this is one of the tougher teams in the conference.”
The Buffs, ranked within the top seven in all three national polls, pushed Oregon into an abrupt hole by scoring the game’s first four goals in a span of 3 minutes, 41 seconds during the middle portion of the first half. Three of those goals were scored by junior Carly Cox.
Oregon remained within 6-3 late in the first half, but CU finished the opening frame with two goals in the final 1:26, followed by another two goals over the first 2:40 of the second half. The Buffs built an eight-point lead but allowed the Ducks to crawl within four goals with 2:16 remaining before icing the win.
Cox finished with a career-best five goals, topping the four goals she scored last month at UC-Davis. Stinson and Darby Kiernan tallied three goals apiece, with Stinson also adding two assists. Katie Macleay recorded two goals and two assists.
Senior Johnna Fusco, who began Sunday ranked second on the team with 26 points, missed her second consecutive game due to an undisclosed injury.
“Something about our team that is so special is that every game you’ve got a different kid scoring a career-high or at least more than they usually do,” Cox said. “I think that speaks a lot for our team. It’s exciting just to see different kids getting looks and the unselfish play we have right now.”
Colorado 16, Oregon 11
At Indoor Practice Facility
Oregon (6-3, 3-1)
Colorado (9-0, 2-0)
Goals — Oregon: Zubillaga 4, Williams 3, Gatti 3, Pyne; Colorado: Cox 5, Kiernan 3, Stinson 3, Macleay 2, Castagnola 2, Nemirov.
Assists — Oregon: Cukar 4, Wiliams 2, Bolte 1; Colorado: Stinson 2, Macleay 2, Cox, Moore.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) —
Oregon: Katzen (60-16-12); Colorado: Soenksen (60-11-8).