With the season on the line, the Colorado women’s lacrosse team received a big-time performance from a big-time player at crunch time.
In a tightly-contested match against Dartmouth Friday afternoon, senior Miranda Stinson scored the first three goals in a game-closing four-goal flurry by the Buffaloes, lifting CU to a 16-13 win in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Boston.
It was the second consecutive opening-round win for the Buffs, who will play the host Boston College Eagles in a second-round match at 11 a.m. MT Sunday. The Eagles (19-1) are ranked first in the nation and are the No. 2 overall seed in the tournament.
“I thought offensively was doing a great job of everyone being a threat once we settled in, and we had some different people stepping up down the stretch,” CU head coach Ann Elliott Whidden said. “I thought Miranda did a great job of taking advantage of opportunities that were created and just finishing. That was obviously huge for us. Our offense played with composure, especially when we needed to come back and get a few goals. We were able to come up with those plays when we needed to.”
Friday’s match largely was an even one in which neither team led by more than two goals prior to the Buffs’ final charge, and the game featured eight ties overall. The next to last of those ties was at 12-12 and was broken by the third goal of the day from Dartmouth’s Kellen D’Alleva with 14 minutes, 16 seconds remaining.
It proved to be the Big Green’s final tally of the game.
Stinson once again drew the Buffs even at the 8:38 mark and scored two more goals in the next 3:43 to give CU a 15-13 advantage with just under five minutes remaining. Sophomore Sadie Grozier added another goal at the 2:06 mark to provide a crucial cushion.
Stinson finished with four goals and an assist, pushing her season total to 63 goals. That mark trails only former teammate Darby Kiernan, who scored 70 goals last year, for the best single-season mark in the program’s six-year history.
Another senior, Samantha Nemirov, helped keep things close for CU by scoring all of her team-leading five goals over the game’s first 41 minutes, while Grozier finished with three goals and an assist. CU also received a big game from junior goalie Julia Lisella, who recorded a season-high 15 saves.
The Buffs will go through a light workout Saturday before the program’s second all-time match against Boston College, which suffered its first loss of the season two weeks ago in the ACC tournament championship game.
“We’re excited about this matchup. We’re excited to get another game and to play,” Whidden said. “We’re playing a great opponent that has been to the Final Four and the championship game in the last couple years with some great players. It’s going to be a team effort and we’re going to have to do a better job in the draw control.
“I think if we can focus in on ourselves and do a good job studying up, then go out there and play as well as we can and try to give ourselves the same opportunities we did today, I think we’ll be in a good spot.”
No. 21 Colorado 16, No. 18 Dartmouth 13
At Boston College
Colorado (11-7) 7 9 — 16
Dartmouth (11-6) 7 6 –13
Goals: Colorado — Nemirov 5, Stinson 4, Grozier 3, Castillo 2, Willard, Rudy; Dartmouth — Carson 4, D’Alleva 3, Turchetta 2, Brewer 2, Mastrio, Sweeney.
Assists: Colorado — Castillo, Grozier, Mistretta, Stinson; Dartmouth — D’Alleva 3, Sweeney 2, Bourque 2, Mastrio, Turchetta.
Goalies (min-goals allowed-saves): Colorado — Lisella (60-13-15); Dartmouth — Vrindten (60-16-7).