BLOCK – Colorado Lacrosse held off Louisville for a 14-13 overtime win Friday in the 2022 season opener at Kittredge Field and the Indoor Practice Facility (IPF) in Boulder.
Both teams played a quarter of the game away as snow blanketed the pitch and gusts steadily increased. After the conclusion of the first quarter, the decision was made to move the game indoors due to inclement weather, and the remaining three quarters were played on the IPF campus.
“It was a bit of an unpredictable day,” explained the CU head coach Ann Elliot Whidden. “Trying to play outside and not having that job and then having to come inside, that was a big adjustment. It’s tough when you start a game and then you take 50 minutes off and then you have to start over. I think our group has done well throughout this .
“We were fired up and ready to go. It was a battle. I told the players at the start of the day, there’s a 1 per cent chance it’ll go perfectly, and there’s a 99 per cent chance it will. happens completely different. I think we came across the other percent where there was a 1% chance of it being (crazy). At the end of the day, they stuck with it. We got the win. Based on how we’ve started the last two seasons, coming out on the right side and having a group that responds. We’ve continued to believe and having different players stepping in is a really good first start for us. But it’s was crazy.”
A closely fought battle all the way, the Buffs held a 12-9 cushion heading into the fourth quarter. The Cardinals fought back and tied the game at 13-13 to force overtime, where Sadie Grozier scored the game-winner for the Buffs as part of his six goals on the day to lead the Buffs. charlie rudy also played well, scoring three goals of her own.
“Sadie did a great job. Charlie did a great job,” Whidden said. “I thought our offense was good overall. (The Cardinals) were trying to shut them down a bit. I think they both did a good job of staying in the game when they had the opportunity to finishing them and being aggressive. I’m really proud of them and I’m really proud of our offense for having different players stepping in and playing their part.”
It’s the second straight year the Buffs have opened their season against the Cardinals, as CU redeemed themselves from a 12-9 loss last year at Louisville.
“We’re a different team,” Whidden said. “Offensively we’re a bit more balanced. We have players who see space a bit better (and who) can compete with the area better. At the end of the day, we were just not afraid. We came here and Last year we were scared and we weren’t sure, this year we are a bit more confident and experienced in what we were doing.
UC Goalkeeper Grace Donnelly recorded seven saves on 31 Louisville shots – 20 of which were on goal in his first career start. The Buffs were impressive in free position attempts and took advantage of their opportunities, scoring 8 of 10. Louisville was led by Nicole Perroni who scored five goals while her goaltender Sara Addeche made seven saves on 26 CU shots including 21 on goal.
How did it happen
Both teams struggled to acclimate to the winter elements and the start of the game was sloppy. The Cardinals struck first after Hannah Morris forced a Colorado turnover and buried one in the back of the net. The two teams then traded goals, with the Buffs getting two free position goals from Rudy and Sam McGee. After a Louisville goal with less than a minute to go, the Cardinals held a 3-2 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
The game moved indoors after that, and after more than an hour between the end of the first quarter and the start of the second, play resumed.
In the second quarter, both teams began to find rhythm and score goals starting with another free position goal from CU’s Rudy to tie the game 3-3 with 8:35 left in the first half. The teams went back and forth in a high second quarter, but Grozier scored with just six seconds left to give the Buffs a slim 7-6 lead going into the halftime intermission.
CU extended their lead to less than 90 seconds in the third quarter when Sydney Zimmerman scored a mans goal assisted by Morgan Pence, and the Buffs extended their lead to 8-6. The Cardinals wouldn’t leave though and scored two goals in one minute to even things up at 8-8 with just over 12 minutes left in the third period. CU and UL each scored another to make it 9-9 and then the Buffs took over, scoring three unanswered runs to take a 12-9 lead in the final period. Of the three goals, Grozier scored two to take his tally to five that day.
Colorado couldn’t do anything offensively in the fourth, as UL slowly took the lead from CU and scored three straight goals to tie the game at 12-12 with over two minutes to go. Following a Colorado timeout, Katie Giordano scored an assist from McGee to give CU a 13-12 advantage with 1:10 left in the fourth. Less than thirty seconds later, Louisville’s Perroni connected a shot with 45 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 13-13 and send the game into overtime.
In the overtime period, the Buffs got a free position shot with five seconds left before the two switched ends, and Grozier got up and buried it to give the Buffs the win.
The Buffs travel to Cambridge, Massachusetts on Sunday, February 20, where they will face Harvard at 10:00 a.m. MT.