CU Buffs will play in Pac-12 women’s lacrosse league next year

Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
After helping to launch the Colorado women’s lacrosse program four years ago, coach Ann Elliott will oversee the Buffaloes’ move into a new Pac-12 lacrosse conference next year.

If the Colorado women’s lacrosse team manages to knock off USC in a top-10 showdown Friday, the Buffaloes will have the inside track at their first Mountain Pacific Sports Federation regular season title.

Such an achievement would be another incredible feat for a program in just its fourth year of existence. The 2017 MPSF regular season crown would be a monumental first. Barring an unforeseen turn of events many years down the road, it also would be CU’s last MPSF title.

With Arizona State set to begin play with a new women’s lacrosse program next spring, the Pac-12 Conference will boast the requisite six programs needed to sponsor a sport. USC, Stanford, Oregon, and Cal will be leaving the MPSF alongside CU to begin play in the Pac-12 next year.

Given there will only be six teams, the Buffs will play home-and-home series with all five of their league foes next year. That means the Buffs will become a more regular presence in California which, like Colorado, is becoming a much richer recruiting turf for women’s lacrosse.

While the Buffs will play the same number of league games in California over two seasons as they currently do (six), that total will occur in a consistent three per year instead of the current rotating schedule in the MPSF, which sent CU to California for four games in this year’s league schedule but only twice in 2016.

That total doesn’t include possible future nonconference dates against soon-to-be MPSF refugees UC Davis and San Diego State.

“It’s not just the collegiate teams and what we’re doing at the Division I level, it’s at the youth level, it’s at the high school level,” CU coach Ann Elliott said. “We recruit a lot from these areas and USC does as well. I think it’s fun to look at our rosters in particular. USC, two of their best attackers are from California. Our goalie is from California. Some of our best defenders are from California. So it’s really an exciting thing to see players from across the country, and especially out west, playing at the highest level and being top players on their teams at that level.

“For us going into the Pac-12, it’s an exciting time. Definitely we’ll see recruiting change a bit. We’ll continue to recruit from across the country but hopefully the visibility of these programs like Colorado and USC and these Pac-12 schools will increase across the country.”

Pat Rooney: or