An early three-goal deficit put the Colorado women’s lacrosse team in a hole.
The Buffaloes nearly climbed out of it, but their rally came up just short on Saturday afternoon in a 9-8 loss to No. 10 Denver at Kittredge Field.
In losing their home opener, the Buffs fell to 0-3 for the first time ever. Dating back to last season, CU has lost four games in a row, the longest losing streak in the program’s 10-year history.
Charlie Rudy had four goals and two assists and Sam McGee added three goals and an assist for the Buffs, but they were dealt their second one-goal loss of the season.
“I think we’re lacking the intensity that we need to win in spots,” CU head coach Ann Elliott Whidden said. “Defensively, we’re having mental lapses and offensively, we’re not playing with a lot of purpose. We’re expecting things to just be easy down there and it’s cost us now three games.”
Three different players scored for DU as it opened with a 3-0 lead after the first quarter. The Buffs out-shot the Pioneers 8-4 in the first, but couldn’t find the back of the net.
Goals by Rudy and McGee early in second quarter cut the Buffs’ deficit to 3-2, but Denver went into halftime with a 6-3 lead. Julia Gilbert’s third goal of the game gave the Pioneers a 9-5 lead going into the fourth quarter.
CU dominated the fourth, scoring three consecutive goals to pull within 9-8 on Rudy’s fourth tally with 1 minute, 25 seconds to play. The Buffs, who outshot the Pioneers 7-4 in the final period, could not find the equalizer, however, as their tough start to the season continues.
Rudy has 11 goals on the season and 127 for her career.
Ashley Stokes added a goal for the Buffs, while Lily Assini had two assists and goalie Grace Donnelly stopped 10 of the 19 shots she faced.
The Buffs will have some time off before their next game, March 3 against 17th-ranked Michigan at Kittredge Field.
“We got two weeks to prepare for a very good Michigan team at home,” Whidden said. “We’re just going to have to challenge ourselves a little bit more in practice so that we’re a little tougher when we come out in these moments. I think the message is obviously my staff has to rethink the way we’re playing. We have to figure out what else we can do to help us win. I think on them (the players) is to realize they have all the potential, everything’s there. I think we have enough leaders on this team to do that.”