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CU Buffs lacrosse uses strong defensive effort to knock off No. 20 ASU

BOULDER — A sound defensive effort and hat tricks from three different players led the University of Colorado women’s lacrosse team to a 15-11 win over No. 20 Arizona State here in an Easter Sunday match at CU’s on-campus Kittredge Field.

The win avenged a 16-11 loss to the Sun Devils in Tempe last Sunday, ASU’s first-ever win over the Buffaloes.  Colorado evened its records overall (5-5) and in Pac-12 play (3-3) with the win, and in the process snapped Arizona State’s five-game winning streak, as ASU fell to 7-3 (4-2 in conference games).

The Sun Devils, the nation’s second-leading offensive team (17.6 per), were held to their third-lowest goal total of the season, also getting eight fewer shots on goal – 20 – than their season average.

Senior Sadie Grozier led the Buffs with four goals, while senior Zoe Lawless and junior Liz Phillips each scored three times.   Junior Chloe Willard had two goals and three assists, matching Grozier’s point total of five.  They helped Colorado match its most goals this season, previously done in a 15-5 win over California last month.

Arizona State, ranked 108th out of 109th in the nation in fouls committed coming into Sunday (33.9 per game) and had 44 fouls in the first game with the Buffs, committed 23 in the first half (and 38 for the game).  Near the end of the first half, ASU was called for its final foul of the half, which proved costly.  It drew a second yellow card for its third-leading scorer, Kerri Clayton, giving the Buffs a man advantage down the stretch of the first 30 minutes.

CU capitalized on the call with a goal from freshman Morgan Pence, who scored her fifth goal of her collegiate career with 13 seconds left in the half that gave Colorado a 7-6 lead at halftime.  The Sun Devils would never regain the lead, though after CU built a 9-6 advantage, ASU did get within one goal one more time at 11-10.

Draw controls played a role in the outcome; Arizona State, one of the better teams in the nation at winning a majority of those, while Colorado is down the line; ASU had a 20-9 edge the first time they met.  But this time around, the Buffs won those battles by 16-12.